The Chief of Army Staff did the appropriate thing by redeploying the erring GOC after this sad and unfortunate event and I sincerely hope that the man will be made to face the full force of the law for causing the death of his own men in what were clearly questionable and suspicious circumstances.
There were fresh reports of a second mutiny in the same army barracks in Maiduguri just two days ago but the military has claimed that this was not true and that the report was false. Whatever we choose to believe, one thing is clear: our army is slowly coming apart at the seams and they need as much encouragement, help and support as we can possibly muster.
Yet the catalogue of woes continues. For example we are also hearing reports, albeit in hushed tones, of no less than nine serving generals in the Army that are facing court martial for supplying arms and giving sensitive information to Boko Haram. This is very troubling indeed and these are undoubtedly dangerous and unpredictable times.
There is also the report that one Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche, a former Nigerian Army officer who was studying in a University in the United Kingdom and who acquired his terrorist training and skills in the Sudan was the individual that planned and planted the Nyanya bomb that killed over one hundred Nigerians just over one month ago.
He has since been arrested in the Sudan by Interpol. Relevant is the fact that apart from Aminu himself once being a member of our Armed Forces, his father, who is a Muslim convert and who is presently the Chief Security Officer at Ahmadu Bello University, was also once in the Nigerian Army and is in fact a retired Colonel. This gives credence to the suggestion that our military has been infiltrated by the terrorists and I have little doubt that there are many Aminu Sadiq Ogwuche’s lurking in the shadows of our security and intelligence agencies.
Whichever way you look at it and whatever is really going on, one thing remains clear: that the buck stops at the desk of President Goodluck Jonathan and no-one else. It is left for him, and for him alone, to turn the tide and fix the problem. I say this because history has proved that if a prince cannot provide good, strong, decisive and inspirational leadership during a conflict, he will not only lose the war but his own army will eventually break ranks, fall apart and possibly even rebel against him.
Not only has history proved this over and over again but it has also been affirmed by virtually every single one of the great thinkers, writers and ancient philosophers from time immemorial. Even the Holy Books attest to it. There is nothing that is more destructive to the psyche and fighting spirit of an army than for it to be led by a Prince that is indecisive, that is not ready to commit to battle, that is not ready to prepare and equip his men for war and the killing fields and that is not ready to enable and empower them to fight effectively with his full support and resources behind them..
Yet regardless of all our travails I still believe that our soldiers are still amongst the best in the world. They are courageous, eager, willing and able to fight but sadly, through no fault of their own, they are ill-equipped, under-funded, under-paid, demoralised, divided, ill-motivated, uninspired and, worst of all, they have suffered constant neglect and betrayal at the hands of their most senior commanders. Napoleon Bonaparte once said that the British cavalry ”are the best cavalry in the world but they are also the worst-led”. That is similar to our plight in Nigeria: we have the best Armed Forces on the African continent but it is also the worst-led.
This situation has resulted in condescending and oftentimes overstated contributions from our American partners particularly. Listen to the words of Alice Friend, the African Affairs Director of the US Department of Defence. A few days ago she said the following about our military: “they do not have the capabilities, the training or the equipment that Boko Haram does and Boko Haram is exceptionally brutal and indiscriminate in their attacks”.
Painful words indeed and hard to accept. Yet ours was an army that was once the pride of Africa. It was an army that had never suffered defeat or humiliation on the battlefield in any of the numerous conflicts and wars to which it was deployed in various parts of the world through the ages. Our soldiers fought well in Burma, Congo, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Liberia, Chad, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Mali and in countless other places.
And I am not just talking about going to these places for ”peace-keeping” or ”police operations”. In most of those places they were deployed for battle and not only did they acquit themselves well and show the world the steel that the average Nigerian is made of but many of them paid the supreme price in the process and were killed on the battlefield in distant lands.
They gave their lives to bring freedom, peace, democracy and stability to other countries. Yet today they are being ridiculed, humiliated, shamed, disgraced, insulted and defeated on all fronts all because they are not being properly led or adequately equipped.
What a tragedy. It is now very clear to me that unless we do something to turn the tide very quickly, Nigeria is finished. I say this because a country that does not have an army that it can rely on in times of conflict and that cannot protect its citizens from terror or from any form of external aggression is only a country in name.
Yet the President is not the only one who ought to carry the blame for this mess. A greater portion of the blame must go to those identifiable individuals in high places that actually started Boko Haram in the first place and that have secretly funded and supported them over the years.
Those people have so much blood on their hands that all the waters of the Atlantic Ocean cannot possibly wash it off. I despise them with all my heart and I harbour nothing but contempt for them. The only thing that is worse than a monster is the creature that gave birth to it.
The only thing that was worse than Frankenstein was the lunatic that put it together and gave it life. The only thing that is worse than Boko Haram are those that created and established the outfit in the first place and that used it to achieve their sinister and political objectives.
The only thing that is worse than the beast called Abubakar Shekau are the rich and powerful men that created him, indoctrinated him, encouraged him, trained him, armed him, mobilised him, protected him, used him and unleashed him on our people to kill them at will.
These rich and powerful men saw Boko Haram as the armed wing of their political movement until things got out of hand and they lost control. They enjoyed the fact that the country was being made ”ungovernable” by the terrorists for a southern President who, in their view, had stolen the mandate of the north.
They relished in the fratricidal butchery, the carnage, the bloodshed and the mayhem that was being unleashed even though the primary victims and the overwhelming number of casualties suffered were from the ranks of their own people.
Such was their level of depravity and inexplicable lust and desperation for power that they were prepared to use religion and kill, bomb and maim their own children to secure it. What a sad and sorry lot and what a troubling testimony. And yet they still insist on calling themselves leaders.
The Nigerian people have rightly expressed their outrage about the abductions of the girls from Chibok, the Nyanya, Jos and Kano bombings and all the other atrocities that Boko Haram have inflicted on our people over the last three years.
We are mourning, sobbing, crying, screaming in horror, lamenting, living in fear and wearing black and red whilst the beasts that are behind these despicable acts of butchery and carnage and that are covertly funding it are secretly rejoicing. Instead of mourning with us they are drinking the blood of the victims and they are eating the flesh of the innocents, all for political gain. That is how depraved they are. Yet we know what their objective is, we know who and what they represent and we know why they want to make the country ungovernable. The cause of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, the Al Nosra Front, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all the other terrorist groups that exist in the world today shall not prevail in our country. And by the power of the Lord of Creation, the God of all that is, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Lord God of Hosts and He that is more than able, they shall fail.
Permit me to end this contribution with a timely reminder of the words of the respected Primate Theophilius Olabayo whose prophecies and predictions about the events that are unfolding in Nigeria in recent years have been accurate and uncanny. On March 24th 2014 in an interview with the Guardian Newspaper he spoke about how Boko Haram would eventually bring Nigeria to the brink and about how terror would tear the country apart.
He also spoke about abductions and kidnappings in the north, the likes of which we have never seen before, and about how President Goodluck Jonathan was not in control of his own government anymore. He told us about how the country would be made ungovernable ”by some very powerful forces” and about how the Jonathan administration would eventually be rubbished, humiliated, crippled, brought to its knees and eventually thrown out of power.
He said all this in an interview that was given almost one month to the day before the horrendous events at Chibok took place where almost 300 of our young girls were abducted from the dormitories of their schools in the dead of the night, taken into captivity and sold into slavery by Boko Haram.
The Primate said all this before that tragic event took place and before all hell broke loose in our country. This is indeed food for thought. The signs are not good and we must bear in mind that this is the same man that spoke about the end of Abacha, Abiola and Babangida long before that end came at different times.
What Olabayo told me in private almost two years ago is even more chilling and disturbing and each time I remember his words they send shivers down my spine. I have his permission to share those words here. He spoke of the rise of a biblical Jehu that would ruthlessly cleanse the land and that would wash Nigeria clean with the blood of many members of the ruling class after effecting a brutal and frightful junior officers coup.
He said that something would eventually happen in our country that would be similar and akin to what happened in Ghana in 1979 and 1983 when Fl. Lt. John Jerry Rawlings effected a mutiny in the military, carried out a coup, sparked off a brutal and populist revolution and eliminated leading members of the military hierarchy, the political class, the business community, the intelligentsia and the judiciary and took power for himself.
May God forbid that this should ever happen in Nigeria and I sincerely hope and pray that the Primate is proved wrong or that he and others can pray to God to avert the prophecy. This is all the more so because if anything untoward should happen we may well be heading down the road to Kigali.
It would spark off swift, unimaginable, instantaneous reprisals and that may well spell the end of Nigeria as one country. This is the simple and bitter truth. Simply put such a course of action must never be contemplated or be allowed to unfold and, I repeat, with prayer, fasting, a good dose of humility and deep intercession we must ensure that we abort the prophecy and kill it.
Yet I must confess that I am deeply concerned because two years later I can see signs of part of his prophecy unfolding. I do not want a coup to take place in our country and neither do I believe that it is the way forward. I do not believe that there is any alternative to democracy and neither do I believe in violence or the violent overthrow of elected governments.
Instructive were the words of General Theophilius Danjuma, the former Minister of Defence, the former Chief of Army Staff, one of the living legends of the Nigerian military and undoubtedly the most revered commander that our army has ever known.
On 24th May 2014, during a grand occasion in Lafia, Nassarawa in which he was conferred with a chieftaincy title he said the following:
“I want to appeal to Boko Haram wherever they are and their sympathizers. SOME OF THEM ARE HERE. Please release our girls. Let them go back to school. Nobody, absolutely nobody, has the mandate to scatter Nigeria. Let us bring sanity into our political life. The situation is worrisome”.
This is a touching appeal from a man whose name is synonymous with courage and integrity. No-one could have put it better.
Let us hope that the sympathizers of Boko Haram that were at that august occasion convey General Danjuma’s message to their associates.
Only God knows what lies ahead for our country but, like Dele Momodu recently pointed out in one of his celebrated essays, I sincerely hope and pray that we are not ”on the road to Bangkok”.
May God deliver Nigeria and may He save her from falling over the brink and descending into the seventh circle of Dante’s hell.