Who are the key men in the engine room of the structure managing the war against Boko Haram terrorists? This is one big question I ruminated over for most of the week following repeated accusation by President Goodluck Jonathan’s opponents that he has not been doing enough in the war against terrorism. The truth is that four of the key men in charge of our war against Boko Haram are from the North-east and North-west. They are Sambo Dasuki, National Security Adviser; Aliyu Gusau, Defence Minister; Alex Barde, Chief of Defence Staff and Suleiman Abba, Inspector General of Police. These men, either directly or indirectly are involved in mapping out anti-terrorism strategies, purchase of equipment, training and field deployments. The budget for security in the 2014 budget is almost N1 trillion or 18% of the total budget. Now, where I am going is this: Let’s assume as alleged by the opposition that Jonathan is not doing enough for the North in the war against Boko Haram and that he has a hidden agenda. Are these critics saying that these four key men I mentioned earlier will sit back, despite the huge human and money made available to them and allow Boko Haram to continue to kill their people? Are they saying that highly distinguished Dasuki and Gusau are stealing security money, depriving field men of their entitlements and buying inferior equipment so that Boko Haram can continue killing their own brothers and sisters? Are they saying that Dasuki, Barde, Gusau and Suleiman are sacrificing their brothers and sisters for money? This is a big food for thought. We should all reflect deeply about it. Those heaping blames on Jonathan are simply playing politics.
The results from the field in the war against Boko Haram are not too impressive in spite of the huge human and material resources made available to the military. This is a fact. Something is wrong somewhere. These four men mentioned earlier have a lot of explanation to do. Jonathan has to be firm and decisive in this war against Boko Haram. Those who can’t shape in should be shipped out. This is one area that the President has failed. I am surprised that the likes of Barde and army chief, Kenneth Minimah are still part of the team fighting this war.
On the other hand, the Presidential candidate of the APC, Mohammadu Buhari who has been going round telling us that he knows how to stop Boko Haram will also have to do some explanations. What Buhari is saying is that he knows how to stop these bastards from killing our brothers and sisters in the North all the while and kept quiet, allowing them to continue killing thousands of people simply because he wants to become the President of Nigeria. Buhari is a member of the National Council of State and he refused to use this forum to offer his insiders’ knowledge about how to stop the Boko Haran carnage. I can’t remember the last time he attended the National Council of State meeting. What Buhari is saying is that once we vote him in as President, Boko Haram killings and maiming will stop. That once we vote for him, Boko Haram will become history. That he, Buhari knows these killers and how to tame them. For over six years, he refused to divulge the strategies required to tame the terrorists and allowed these bastards to continue killing thousands of innocent Nigerians. So, it is all about power. This is another food for thought for Nigerians as February 14 draws near.
The Ignominy of Festus Keyamo
The recent statement of Lagos lawyer, Festus Keyamo in which he claimed that President Goodluck Jonathan “has proved his incapacity to fight corruption” was simply repulsive. He did not stop at that. Keyamo also queried the appointment of Femi Fani-Kayode as Director of Media by the Jonathan Campaign Organisation because he has a case in court. This Lagos lawyer is one man that should never be taken seriously. His views are usually influenced by emotion and personal interest rather that reason. Keyamo, a member of the opposition APC has already convicted Fani-Kayode in his own court. Is there any law that says a man on trial should never be given any appointment? Only God knows where he read his own law. Keyamo is obsessed with seeing his face and comments in the media. He is ever ready to say just anything to get media attention. This Keyamo handles briefs for the EFCC. If Jonathan has failed in the war against corruption, he has also failed. Keyamo should tell us the progress he has made in the case against Timipre Sylva, a member of his party. Was Keyamo in this country during the eight years of Olusegun Obasanjo’s corrupt administration? What action did he take? How many of the governors looting state treasuries has he tackled? Is Keyamo no longer in this country where Civil servants in many states are being owed salaries for months? Clearly, Keyamo is no longer on the side of the masses of this country.
Oshiomhole’s Politics with Bitterness
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State is fast turning into a tyrant. First, it was the withdrawal of the accreditation of the correspondent and cameraman of ITV Benin attached to the Government House. He alleged that the television station’s reportage of news and events had been unprofessional simply because the station has not been positively projecting his administration. I gathered that prior to this action, Oshiomhole had been intimidating the station and its journalists. He is obviously intolerant of opposition views. The Edo governor thinks every media must always praise his administration. He should take a good look at the huge bashing Goodluck Jonathan gets from the media. If Oshiomhole were Jonathan, I am sure that he would have cracked down mercilessly on the Nigerian media.
Just as the dust raised by the clampdown on ITV was struggling to settle down, Oshiomhole started another war with the authorities of the University of Benin over disputed bungalows occupied by lecturers at GRA Benin. Yes, the bungalows were not properly transferred to the Midwestern Institute of Technology which transformed into UNIBEN. Yes, there are no paper documents backing the transfer deal. Yes, the state’s government got a favourable judgement in its own High Court, affirming that Edo State Government owns the bungalows. But the fact remains that Oshiomhole and his predecessor (Osunbo) simply exploited the gaps in the deal done by the defunct Midwestern Government to deal this solid blow on UNIBEN. The Edo State Emperor should have at least waited for the Appeal believed to have been filed by the university before moving to reclaim the bungalows. I gathered that two of the disputed bungalows have already been sold by the Edo State Government and that this was what necessitated the recent demolition of a perimeter fence in the disputed area.
Ibrahim Gaidam’s N10bn Expenditure on Boko Haram
It is very unfortunate that some governors have turned the Boko Haram crisis into a money-making venture. They have been using it as an opportunity to steal. I am flummoxed by Governor Ibrahim Gaidam’s claim that he has spent over N10 billion to solve problems created by the Boko Haram insurgency in the state since 2011. Gaidam claimed he used the money to provide logistics and other needs of security forces in the state. He listed areas of the support to include procurement of vehicles, payment of allowances, medical treatment for injured security personnel and assistance to families of those killed in the war, among others. So, in 43 months, Gaidam spent N10 billion to support the war against Boko Haram. It means spending an average of N233 million monthly. Haba Gaidam, it seems you are turning this war into another thing entirely.
Presidential Election Crystal Ball
Mohammadu Buhari of the APC won all the seven states in this region in 2011. As at today, President Goodluck Jonathan and his PDP have four governors in this region – Ibrahin Shehu Shema of Katsina State, Sule Lamido of Jigawa State, Saidu Dakingari of Kebbi State and Ramallan Yero of Kaduna State. Will this change anything in 2015 Presidential election? Very little? Yero, with the support of Vice President Namadi Sambo look good to deliver Kaduna to Jonathan this time around.
The APC Presidential candidate, Mohammadu Buhari has three governors – Ibrahim Kwankwaso of Kano State, Abdulazzez Yari of Zamfara State and Aliyu Magatakada Wamakko of Sokoto State in this region. My Crystal Ball tells me that Buhari will grab bulk votes in Kano, Zamfara, Jigawa and Katsina. Some of these states will deliver as high as 60% of votes to the APC Presidential candidate. Sokoto and Kebbi are too close to call. If Mukhtar Shagari works with Attahiru Bafarawa, Jonathan may spring a surprise in Sokoto. Kebbi is another place Jonathan may spring a surprise if Dakingari works for Jonathan wholeheartedly. Despite being Buhari’s strongholds, Jonathan looks good to grab the required 25% in Jigawa, Kebbi and Katsina. This region remains Buhari’s stronghold.