Boko haram, Nigeria and the elections By Patrick Dele Cole

buhari in suit

WHO is in charge of Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Kebbi and Sokoto? Who can stop Boko Haram from operating freely in these states or indeed anywhere? They have hit Abuja, Gombe, Plateau, Niger, etc.  It is not President Jonathan and the Nigerian Army.  Can President Jonathan freely go to campaign in Borno, Sokoto, Yobe, and Adamawa?  I do not think so.  Yes he is the President but his writ does not run in nearly 33% of the country. If he tries to campaign there he may be killed. Those who do not like him will claim that his inability to go any where in the country disqualifies him from being President.  Perhaps.

But consider this.  What kind of people would wrap a 10-year-old girl with a bomb to be exploded killing her and dozen others? If these are the types of people in Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, then Mr.  President should not go there; he in fact should call off the election. When a Governor who cannot tell us the antecedents and relatives of Boko Haram insists that elections should take place in those areas he is in reality saying he has enough control to have an opening so that people would go and vote for a particular candidate and no one else.

Mr. Jonathan should not fall into this carefully laid plan.  We are not in a state of war in Nigeria. We are playing out a carefully orchestrated plan for one candidate to be elected. If Mr. President heeds the hypocritical bleating of those dedicated to do him harm, then he deserves his fate.

Normal Government activities have ceased to exist in 33% of Nigeria.  Salaries are not paid; large scale internal migration, an atmosphere of fear and intolerance – a very present threat to the existence of Nigeria – Mr.  Jonathan should address these issues. Elections of Governors, Senators, Members of House of Representatives and Assembly can go on in the other parts of Nigeria not under Boko Haram.

For me, ideally Mr. President should call on all party security meeting and place the dire situation before them and the dire consequences if things go on as they do.  I am sure there are many who would say to him “do not worry, you will win” Win what?  A fragmented Nigeria.  His opponents have accused him of failure to deliver the Nigeria that was handed to him.  True.  But if he does have elections then he will have failed in a greater service to Nigeria.

These 10-year-old girls, these elements of Boko Haram – they have no brother, no sisters, no fathers or mothers –yet they freely roam the states taking what they want, when they want.

I have no doubt that Boko Haram will disappear should General Buhari win the election.  Even if I am wrong, what does that say about the process?  It simply says there are a lot of Nigerians who know those responsible for Boko Haram. It does not say that Buhari himself is involved.  It is like the IRA campaign against Britain; Jerry Adams was careful not to be associated with the militants of the IRA. But once he agreed to a settlement and took office in Northern Ireland, the IRA gave up their guns – there was public spiking of thousands and thousands of guns.  It bought temporary peace to Northern Ireland.

Buhari be-ware.  Let all of us join in defeating Boko Haram.  If not, it will eventually bite Buhari in a number of unmentionable places.

GUARDIAN