The governor of Adamawa state, Murtala H. Nyako, on the April 16, this year, raised an alarm concerning the Boko Haram scourge in the North. In a nine page letter addressed to Northern Governors Forum, he accused the Federal Government of masterminding the kidnapping of schoolgirls, burning of churches and killing of pastors and imams as well as the assassination of Northern traditional rulers. Aptly titled “On-going full-fledged genocide in Northern Nigeria”, it pointedly accused the federal government of genocide against the North.
He accused the Jonathan administration of using the military to carry out the evil act. He said that there was an attempt to assassinate the Senate President David Mark in Imo state, an alleged plan to assassinate two state governors in the North (the governor of Benue state and himself), two of the North’s most prominent traditional leaders (Shehu of Borno and the Emir of Kano), senators and others too numerous to mention.Nyako thundered: “This is in line with the demonic policy of the evil few in and around the administration that have advocated how Northerners, both Christian and Muslim, are to be so dealt with, ill-treated and oppressed.”
Nyako’s thunderbolt, coming from an experienced General and an accomplished politician, reminds us of the sad events of 1966 which led to a civil war that consumed over one million souls and almost broke up Nigeria. In 1966, a coup carried out by ‘revolutionary’ officers from southern Nigeria singled out northern politicians and military officers for assassination. The reprisal coup of the same year led by northern officers led to unparalleled bloodshed of southern officers (particularly the Ibos) and put the country on the slippery road to a break-up.
Given the horrors of that war, every patriotic and responsible Nigerian is of the opinion that we should avoid that road. Given his status in society, we share the opinion that Nyako’s letter was ill advised. His language was rather too belligerent and his motive in leaking it out to the media suspicious.Even then, many Nigerians share his worry about the amazing incompetence demonstrated by the government of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Nigerian military – reportedly the best in Africa – in bringing to an end an insurgency organized by a rag tag army. Unlike Nyako, we do not hold the opinion that the Federal government, let alone the government of Jonathan created Boko Haram. If anything, Boko Haram was in existence before he became President.
What has shocked the world is Jonathan’s monumental incompetence in dealing with Boko Haram. Both his body language and his actions point to the fact that he has no clue as to how to get us out of this horror. A day after the last bombing by the sect in Abuja, we saw the President at a public political meeting in Kano dancing and making merry, an action that reminds us of Emperor Nero who played music while Rome, his city state, swooned in inferno. In his message at the meeting, he placed emphasis on his private campaign funds that were allegedly embezzled by Governor Kwankwaso way back in 2011. We never heard of the Kwankwaso ‘heist’ for all these years. Why did the President choose a time of national mourning to lament the theft of his private funds?
Finally, we wish to say that we disagree with Nyako’s language which is undiplomatic. But we must also remind the President that when in 2010 MEND bombed the Eagle Square and claimed responsibility, he rose to the defense of his kinsmen in a frightening demonstration of human and political insensitivity. As the President finds ways of handling the Nyako thunderbolt, we wish to remind him of a Chinese proverb which says that when a fish decides to go rotten, it starts from the head. Jonathan is a Christian; we also wish to remind him of the Biblical words that he should remove the log in his eyes so as to see the speck in Nyako’s eye.