By Abdullahi Musa
The insurgency plaguing Nigeria at the moment is real – too ferocious to be denied and too dangerous to be ignored. It may have pre-dated President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidency; he may be doing his best, but the intensity of this war is such that he must take a more radical and pragmatic approach in dealing with it lest we shall be consumed all.
The urgency of this agitation is predicated on the devastating stealth with which the enemies of this country, by whatever name they call themselves, operate. In the last 10 days, they seemed to have gleefully exposed the nation’s vulnerability by carrying out orgies of bloodletting in quick succession, killing scores in Taraba, Plateau, Yobe and the climax of which was the bombing of the Nyanya Motor Park in Abuja, and the abduction of more than 100 school girls in Chibok local council of Borno State.
If the abductions do not reflect poorly on the tactical capability of Nigeria’s security organizations, they at least reflect on the impotence of the nation, and in particular the impotence of the Jonathan presidency. No pacifying rhetoric can negate the barrage of hostilities currently hitting the country. The massacres, either from Boko Haram or other insurgents, are becoming so routine, abductions are carried out with scandalous audacity; and bandits masquerading as herdsmen sack villages and mow down helpless persons as if they are clearing weeds. Amidst this ongoing carnage, a mesmerizing state of perplexity seems to envelope the seat of power. Nigeria is in a state of war, and the President, Commander-in-chief must not only lead but be seen to be leading the charge.
The president must excuse us if we blame him wholly for these abductions. He was elected to ensure the country’s safety and well-being. If in the process of executing the mandate given him to rule over the affairs of the country he encounters a vicious insurgency, it is entirely his responsibility to devise means of battling it, including knowing how to energise the country’s security network, inspire confidence in his methods and ability to rally the people to the last man to counter the worst bestiality Nigeria has ever seen.
Curiously, among President Jonathan’s security team is a veteran in the intelligence and military circle.
General Aliyu Gusau is one of the most powerful people in Nigeria. He knows what ordinary Nigerians do not know. He is in control of both the military and civilian intelligence network, so he can make things happen. Having raised the level of hi tech application in the security services, drafting the old master, like Gusau who knows all the intrigues of the game, into the field is a smart way of tackling the security scare eating deep into the fabric of Nigeria’s unity.
Whatever the reasons for the pernicious state of security in the country, the duty and obligation to see that this war comes to an end is principally that of the President. That is the reason he is the leader and commander-in-chief and he has, and in his kitty are the men and machines to make it happen.
Sadly however, the President, does not give the impression of a sense of dire concern and urgency or rather, he has not really saddled his defence minister with vital commitment to checkmate the menace. Strangely, the president himself had alluded to the claim that he had been treating the insurgency with kid gloves, thereby giving credence to the assumption that Boko Haram has become a purpose-driven insurgency.
This crucial role of the president will better be well served with the support of a loyal and formidable military and intelligence gathering. The Nigerian military have been outstanding and have done the nation proud in peacekeeping missions in Congo, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Liberia, Cameroun, Tanzania, The Gambia, amongst others. The nation is challenging the Nigerian military, particularly General Aliyu Mohammed Gusau being the defence minister to deploy his international intelligence network to deal with this war in the way and manner he assisted many countries around the globe to deal with their rebellions and insurgencies with remarkable success. Gusau should bring to bear on the current situation, the commitment, dedication and valour with which he successfully addressed other insurgencies in their intelligence cycles around the world. General Gusau must lead the way. A certain show of valour as well as winning this war would be a strong factor in the stability of Nigeria.
President Jonathan must own this war. He must challenge Gusau to deliver, and the president can do that by harmonising the intelligence and military sectors under his able defence minister in cahoot with other services chiefs for better results. The offensives against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Nigeria are too shameful and belittling to be addressed routinely. This is a crisis situation that demands the President and those in the chain of command to be thinking on their feet. Like a typical Field Marshal, the President should choose his strategy and terrain to deal effectively with offensives.
Abdullahi Musa contributed this piece from Kaduna state