By Idoko Ainoko
There is this outspoken House of Representatives member who delights in ‘confronting’ the federal government. However, some people prefer to call him a “scapegoatist” in “appreciation” of his flair for scouting for leaders to blame, while overlooking his own share of the blame. Hon. Adamu Kamale represents Michika and Madagali federal constituency of Adamawa state in the Green Chamber of the National Assembly (NASS). His home state of Adamawa had been hard hit by Boko Haram terrorism in 2009, when the extremist sect went berserk in Nigeria. It peaked in subsequent years until 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari assumed the leadership of the country.
Apart from Borno and Yobe states, Adamawa is one of the three states in the Northeast, declared as the epicenter of Boko Haram insurgency now in its 10th year. The insurgency raged like a bush fire; Kamale and many others like a wild bush fire; Kamale and many others deserted their homes and sought refuge in cozy Abuja and other big cities in Nigeria. Today, he visits home, but does not know what has changed.
Unfortunately, Kamale was one of the most silent voices in his community at the height of the insurgency. And after exploiting the vulnerability of his distressed kith and kin, Kamale somewhat warmed his way into political power. He won the House of Reps seat for Michika and Madagali federal constituency on the platform of the PDP in 2015. It is baffling that a legislator whose state was consumed by the fire of terrorism is comfortable with his pay as a lawmaker while his house (state) is on fire. He does not even whisper on the floor any useful suggestion for ameliorating the sufferings of victims of terror in his constituency.
He only finds a reactivated voice when terrorists occasionally strike soft targets in his state. On his legislative agenda nothing precisely links him with his ravaged home state. He waits until a bomb explodes and it becomes enough motivation to play to the gallery, fouling the air with obscenities.
Kamale is, no doubt, an interesting character. Each time he speaks in the news media on Boko Haram terroris, he is either reeling out scary imaginary scenarios of terror attacks or unconsciously admitting his ignorance about the tempo of the counter-insurgency war. Yet this is a man who represents a constituency and has lawful powers, through a motion or Bill, to compel the federal government to do what he thinks it has neglected in combating terrorism or rebuilding ravaged communities. Instead, during plenary, Hon. Kamale is as cold as impotent ash and eerily forgets that his people are gravely afflicted by terrorism, until he sees a reporter to sell cheap opposition propaganda to.
The era of political deception has ended. It is an act infinitely resented and abhorred. So, Kamaleis not finding it easy to think and act progressively. Thus, he has morphed into a grand patron of liars, who nurture and propagates assorted lies. Few days back, he was in the news again. He was not home to brief his people on how he had discharged the mandate entrusted to him, or what constituency project with regard to security he had executed. No, he claimed to have escaped a violent attack on Kamale community in Michika LGA on Christmas Day.
In two separate media interviews, Kamale incoherently recounted the single incident differently. What confounded most was the helplessness of a representative of the people to reasonably understand the nature of the attack and identity of the attackers. At a point, he claimed emphatically that the attack was orchestrated by suspected Boko Haram insurgents, “We cannot say they are robbers because they were not interested in just looting as they went to the extent of killing as is consistent with Boko Haram activities.” And yet, he says again, “It was horror and we saw hell when the gunmen, though I cannot ascertain whether they were Boko Haram or not, came to the area at about 11 pm on Monday being the Christmas day and launched an attack on residents.”
This is a simplistic conclusion. Kamale cannot be bothered that armed robbers could also possibly kill during raids. It’s more comfortable to brand them suspected Boko Haram terrorists. But what Kamale’s fresh hysteria and confessions about terrorism and allied sects or criminals has floodlit is the willingness of some people within these communities to harbor criminals, court them and provide information to enable them operate fun unrestrained.
Kamale’s personal account of the latest incident betrays him and some other politicians in the state, as conniving with natives to sustain unrest and armed banditry for political reasons. The Rep member was credited with the statement that the assailants sneaked into the town, while people were celebrating Christmas at 11pm on Monday December 25, 2017. How did the assailants sneak into the town without anybody’s notice until an attack was launched? The issue is not the failure of security agents to respond to distress calls, but that of an entire community which incredibly went into slumber, to the extent that no one sighted the attackers timely to alert security agents.
It means the problem rests squarely on the shoulders of the locals, since it is impossible to have every homestead guarded by a sentinel. Overtime the government and the Nigerian military have preached collaboration with security agents in tackling the menace of insecurity. But it appears, some natives are more interested in conniving with the armed gangs. And Rep Kamale, like them, feels defeating terrorism is by the sound of the gun alone. But it is beyond this simplicity. The support, co-operation and information sharing with the military and security forces are critical. Obviously, Kamale’s constituents have failed to embrace this understanding. And Kamale has failed in his sacred duty of sensitizing and educating his people against the present support they extend to terrorists. Channeling a percentage of constituency votes for this project should not be too much for Kamale, but he has not bothered.
He prefers to shed crocodile tears when armed criminals strike. The grand plot is to perpetually colour the communities with violence to create the impression that terrorism has not been defeated, in order to frustrate a clean, free and robust participation of the citizenry in the electoral process.
And the eves of general elections are fertile times when such evil is plotted. With 2019 general elections fast approaching, one can understand the excitement of Kamale over the resurgence of violence.
Kamale has to learn from experiences in other parts of the northeast plagued by terrorism. Yobe was one of the states in the fiery furnace of terrorism, as insurgents made attempts to even capture Government House, Damaturu. Dfferent layers of leadership in the state did not abdicate their responsibility, but combined efforts to sensitize the people about the dangers of incubating terrorists. The message sank in and Yobe is at peace with itself now. It is what Rep Kamale needs to do. He has to become the arrowhead of this campaign on counter-terrorism and refrain from heaping blame on others.
Therefore, Kamale is unmistakably a part of the problem and it is more dignifying to remain silent than pander to public sympathy and confusedly blame the government over his own shortcomings, while feigning to be a victim . If, indeed, Rep. Kamale were a victim of the attack, it only serves as fate rendering a harsh verdict of nemesis on him and co-travellers promoting this violence in insidious ways.
If Kamale fails to act or do the needful as a representative of the people, mountain Kilimanjaro will be a small height for him to climb, when armed assailants unleash their fury again. When you harbor a serpent, expect its venom against you anytime. Leaders should learn to accept responsibility for their actions or inactions and discard the blame game.
Ainoko, a public affairs analyst, contributed this piece from Kaduna.