By Femi Fani-Kayode
My worst fears have been confirmed and sadly the Haramites of Boko have struck again. Another terrible bomb blast has taken place in Abuja and many innocent people have been butchered, slaughtered and maimed. At the last count the number of those killed is no less than 39 despite attempts by the international and local media to play the number of casualties down. This damning display of primordial and pure savagery by Boko Haram comes barely two weeks after over 100 innocent people, including women and children, were killed by another bomb, on the same spot and by the same people. This is surely too much for us to bear.
Worst still the country, and indeed the international community, is still grappling with the Chibok affair in which no less than 234 young school girls were abducted from their schools and turned into sex slaves by Boko Haram.
At this juncture one is compelled to ask the following question: how much more can we take before the centre fails to hold and everything falls apart? How much more can we take before some madman in uniform gets up, takes advantage of the situation, does the unacceptable and unthinkable, seizes the broadcasting stations and subjects us to a familiar yet unwelcome early morning speech which is preceded by ”fellow Nigerians” and which ends with the announcement of a ”dawn to dusk curfew”?
May God forbid that this should ever happen in our country again as it would be a tragedy of monumental proportions and it would set us back by at least 50 years. Worst still Nigeria may not even survive it and it may well result in another civil war. I have no doubt that despite our monumental security challenges, the preservation of our fast-evolving democratic culture and structures remains the only way forward and that we must do all that we can to protect this dispensation.
The best that we can do is to continue to speak out, to protest, to write, to demonstrate, to create awareness, to march, to pray and to demand that our Government and security forces do a better job by fighting Boko Haram with an equal and commensurate amount of viciousness and savagery that the Islamist terrorists are fighting us.
I feel a deep sense of outrage and shame and I utterly deplore the fact that the Federal Government has once again failed to protect the lives of the Nigerian people. Yet it is not just the Federal Government that has failed but all the governments at all levels, including our State Governors and Local Government Area Chairmen.
As a matter of fact every single one of us that is in the ruling class of this country or that is a member of its political elite has failed woefully. We must all carry a share of the blame in varying degrees. Every single one of us has a little blood on our hands as a consequence of our sheer indifference to the collective plight of our people and our inability to act at the appropriate time when we saw all this coming.
I hereby join millions of Nigerians in condemning this latest beastly attack on Nyanya and I have nothing but contempt and disgust for the Haramites and those that secretly support them.
May God deliver our country from the grip of these Boko demons that feed fat on human flesh and blood and that seek to terrorize us into submission and may the souls of those that have been killed rest in peace.
Yet let us get past the rather obvious and simplistic statements and submissions and let us look at this whole matter from a deeper perspective and in a more refreshing, meaningful and holistic manner. Let us stop merely scratching at the surface and let us get to the root of the problem. It is time for us to get real and to speak some hard truths. Consider the following.
When some people are so hell bent on taking power that they begin to bomb their citizens in order to achieve it one has to begin to question the continued viability of our much flaunted unity.
When some people believe that it is their right to rule in perpetuity and that if they do not get their way they must make the country ungovernable and kill as many people as possible, one must decide whether or not we are really one nation.
When some people are prepared to use religion as a political tool, shed as much innocent blood as possible and pervert the very tenets of the faith that they claim to espouse, one must decide whether those of us that do not share their world view are prepared to remain in the same cage as those that are clearly nothing but ravenous beasts.
There is far more to the Boko Haram phenomenon than meets the eye and Nigerians just don’t get it yet. They are not prepared to hear the truth let alone accept it and, sadly, perhaps they never will. This is a nation that has an identity crisis and that still does not want to accept the fact that it is at war with itself.
They do not want to accept the ugly fact that there are some key individuals, who some of them still literally worship and revere, that are the ones actually encouraging, fuelling and funding Boko Haram and that are waging war against our people.
They do not want to accept that there is an international dimension to this matter which is beyond their knowledge, understanding or comprehension. May God open their eyes and help them to recognise what they are up against before it is too late.
Until that happens and each and every Nigerian is prepared to take up arms against Boko Haram and those that are secretly behind it our people will continue to be terrorized, slaughtered, abducted and enslaved.
And whether anyone likes to accept it or not there are quite a number of people who fall into the category of Boko Haram sympathizers even though they remain in the shadows. For example there is a very combative, visible and vocal individual from the north-western part of our country who has been accused of covertly funding and supporting the Islamist cause and terrorism for many years.
That same individual was described to the FBI as a ‘’trusted mentor’’ by Umar Faruk Mutallab, the Nigerian ‘’underwear bomber’’, who attempted to blow up a plane filled with passengers as it was about to land in the United States of America a few years ago.
Again that same individual has been accused of having a hand in one of the most heinous and brutal sectarian murders in the history of our country when a young man by the name of Gideon Akaluka, from Benue state, was cold-bloodedly beheaded by a rampaging mob in Kano for supposedly ‘’desecrating the Koran’’. Akaluka’s severed head was paraded on a long pole all over the streets of the city before a cheering and roaring crowd for many hours and the whole gory event was actually video-taped by the perpetrators themselves. Such barbarity has rarely been seen in the history of our country.
Yet this individual has not been brought to justice or even questioned about these matters. Is it any wonder that Boko Haram appears to be going from strength to strength? The truth is that they have many friends in high places and President Goodluck Jonathan himself once alluded to this. Another individual, who was a former Head of State, was quoted as saying the following in 2001-
”I will continue to show openly and inside me the total commitment to the Sharia movement that is sweeping all over Nigeria. God-willing, we will not stop the agitation for the total implementation of the sharia in the country. Muslims should vote at the next Presidential election only for someone who will defend their faith”.
This former Head of State may not have any link with today’s terrorism or Boko Haram but have the words that he uttered on sharia in 2001 not made matters worse? Were the seeds of Boko Haram not planted at that time by such comments and such contributions? Yet another former Head of State did not help matters when he treated what he described as ”political sharia” with kid gloves when he was in power. He failed to deal decisively with it at the time and he said that it would eventually ”fizzle out”.
This did not happen and today we are witnessing the results of his complacence and his inability to crush the beast at an early stage before it grew fangs. Now that vampiric beast is biting us with those fangs day and night and it is eating our flesh and drinking our blood.
For those that fail to see the nexus between political sharia and Boko Haram and that fail to appreciate the connection between the two permit me to put the following questions. Was the movement for political sharia not the precursor to Boko Haram? When you tolerate a monster and give room for extreme philosophies to take root are you not asking for trouble? When you give an inch will the beast not take a mile? When you compromise on fundamental issues such as the secularity of the state and allow Islamist ideology to flourish in the name of political expediency and compromise are you not asking for trouble?
When you run away from fighting a righteous war that must be fought sooner or later are you not postponing it for another day? Over ten years later we are reaping the consequences and rewards of our cowardice, indifference and indolence when faced with political sharia. The truth is that all our leaders have failed to solve this problem over the years and their lack of firm resolve to do so has simply caused it to spread and to become more virulent.
Worst still some have completely capitulated and bowed in shame and helplessness before the evil scourge. As a glaring example of this, just a few months ago, an elder statesman that was at the time no less a personality than the National Chairman of the ruling party described the Haramites of Boko as ”freedom fighters”. Is there anything more shameful than that?
I really do wonder whose freedom they seek to secure and who they are fighting for? Is it the freedom to kill our people and to abduct and enslave our children? Such sentiments and expressions of sympathy for the enemies of our people are a national disgrace and those that express them ought to be called out and held to account.
Sadly the next few months and years are very bleak for our nation. As a matter of fact we may not even have a nation left in the next few months and years if things continue this way. I just hope and pray that we all appreciate the fact that we are in for the long haul and that whether we like it or not Boko Haram is here to stay.
It is either that we succumb to them, accept their demands, bow to them and allow them to change our way of life or we fight them into the ground, eliminate every single one of them, flush them out, burn the Sambisa forest to the ground, avenge our people, preserve our way of life and restore our self-respect and dignity.
It is either that we accept their evil, concede to the establishment of a Taliban-style Islamic fundamentalist state in the whole of our country and espouse it wholeheartedly or we fight a brutal, bloody, long and righteous war to preserve the unity of our nation, to protect the secularity of our state and to enthrone righteousness and justice. The choice is ours.
The Haramites of Boko have already made their choice and they made it long ago. And that choice is to subject the Nigerian people to terror, murder, humiliation, carnage and bondage and bring us to servitude and to our knees. They will continue to effect this satanic agenda unless and until we get off our knees, stand up like men and say ”enough is enough”. They will continue to do so unless and until we are ready to say that Nigeria is worth dying for and that we are ready to fight back. May God deliver Nigeria.
Chief Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation