September 29, 2020

Buhari, Boko Haram and balderdash

Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) reminds me of Jesus Christ. Not that I think he’s a Messiah but how you can be webbed in a double-bind trap. Jesus was asked if the Jews should pay taxes to their Roman overlords. Had he replied in the affirmative, he would be labelled a state apologist; a position antithetical to what a Messiah should be. If he replied otherwise, he would be risking treason. So he gave what Ibadan indigenes call Mesiogo answer – a witty response to idiocy.

Boko Haram’s choice of Buhari as a mediator appears like even a triple-bind. If he accepts the role, he would fall into the hands of those who would say, in local parlance, something like, “We no talk am? He has been their sponsor all along!”

And if he succeeds in brokering peace, he becomes the proverbial hunter who killed a notorious elephant with just his cap. He would have proved he had Boko Haram’s remote control all along.

If, still, he mediates and fails, he would be demystified because his famous influence among northern youths would seem mere exaggeration.

Now he has rejected the poisoned chalice, there are commentaries that he is sore that he lost last year’s Presidential election and would rather sit back and watch Nigerians bombed than offer his goodwill.

There is, clearly, no way he can win.

He has given a not-so Mesiogo response, and I think it is sensible.

Nigeria should not waste time negotiating with Boko Haram. One, up till now, nobody knows precisely what the angst of its members is. Sometimes, they claim they want a religious state. Other times, they are anti-corruption and, infrequently, they are just as confused as everybody else. I doubt if the members themselves can point to their grouse. So, how do you talk with nebulous anarchists?

Certain mischievous commentators have made a case for negotiations by comparing them to the IRA. This is quite disingenuous. The IRA had a valid basis, however faulty methods, for their uprising. The fact that Britain eventually capitulated via the Good Friday Agreement is not the same here.

Nigeria does not owe Boko Haram what Britain owed Ireland; neither does Nigeria owe Boko Haram what it owes even the Niger Delta. What Nigeria owes Boko Haram is not different from what it owes millions of Nigerians.

Two, which of the sect’s factions is ‘mandating’ a negotiation? They are not a single group whose manifesto is pasted on a plaque at their Headquarters’ reception. It has splinter groups and factions. So, how does Nigeria deal with the politics of which to meet?

Three, where does Saudi Arabia stand in this? Personally, I have always found Saudi Arabia’s stance on Islamic terrorism worldwide curious. I wonder why they do not actively denounce it since such a move might burst the bubble of people who believe they are killing for God (although I also understand they’ll like to avoid meddling in local politics). Yet, using their country as a meeting place between Nigeria and Boko Haram is bad diplomacy.

Four, I think it is time Nigeria stopped talking about this balderdash of negotiating with Boko Haram. I know how it is to wake up to news of people dying in the hands of these killers. It might be wearying dealing with them and might even be taxing on the Nigerian Army but after mindlessly killing an estimated 3,000 Nigerians, they should be made to pay, not compensated.

opele

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6 Comments

  • …Again, in Europe, several people are doing menial job with their college degrees as I have met taxi drivers and shop attendants that are very educated with serious degrees. In one case, I was shocked to find out an attendant in a factory I was working was a robotic engineer with college laurels…..I asked him if what he was doing with the degree and he said, “it’s not what I wanna do. I need to rediscover myself”.
    Perhaps, these PhD drivers just discovered their talents. Anyway, rather than get employed in a grossly underfunded university churning out half baked graduates, will one not rather run a chicken farm and make N200,000 a month? This is a fundamental question I think!

  • …Again, in Europe, several people are doing menial job with their college degrees as I have met taxi drivers and shop attendants that are very educated with serious degrees. In one case, I was shocked to find out an attendant in a factory I was working was a robotic engineer with college laurels…..I asked him if what he was doing with the degree and he said, “it’s not what I wanna do. I need to rediscover myself”.
    Perhaps, these PhD drivers just discovered their talents. Anyway, rather than get employed in a grossly underfunded university churning out half baked graduates, will one not rather run a chicken farm and make N200,000 a month? This is a fundamental question I think!

  • I didn’t think I said anything out-of-this-world when I indicated that a PhD is not a taken-for-granted proof of intelligence; doesn’t guarantee employment/middle-class life and is sometimes taken for other purposes than a white-collar job.
    I got a deluge of mails from angry readers who thought I hit too hard on the degree.
    Those angry responders miss the point: that PhD holders applied for the job of drivers is not the problem like the sheer number of people who applied; PhD holders applying to be drivers, might not even be directly correlated to Nigeria’s unemployment situation and that we should probe the sociology behind the figures first.
    Some readers’ response –where they got it across without insults or curses — were disturbing. It exposed a stereotypical conception of trailer-drivers as those who cannot (and should not) have a certain level of education, even though I illustrated how there is, sometimes, a disconnect between a person and his/her PhD degree.
    Nigerians have so agonised and editorialised on the six PhD holders and consequently shadowed the urgency of thousands of first degree and non-degree holders who are just in need of jobs.
    A reader asked what I think is an important question: if Westerners take PhD and choose a lifestyle antithetical to cultural conception of it, either to demystify the degree or merely to prove a point, do I think Nigerians too can afford that sort of luxury?
    My response was, such autonomy is not always expressed in extreme radicalism. We all do not have to live at the edge of the border like Charly Boy but similar politics is played out in certain subtle rebellious acts of our daily existence.
     

  • Untill the Almajiri institutions are reformed in the north, there would always be a variant of Boko haram or another…
    http://wakabout.blogspot.com/2006/04/jangebes-blues.html

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