Saturday, June 08, 2013

Jonathan's "Doctrine of Extraordinary Measures" and Nigeria's Political Future


President Goodluck Jonathan presents his administration's midterm report during Democracy Day in Abuja May 29, 2013. Image: Afolabi Sotunde

In what had haunted the nation for some four years now by the terrorists Boko Haram in its operations of deadly encounters churches had been razed to the ground, innocent citizens going about their routine businesses beheaded, thousands of people killed in the most brutal way, untold traumatized country-folks in staggering counts from the effects of the terrorists activities in the north-eastern region of the country where President Goodluck Jonathan had declared a state of emergency ordering the JTF, the Joint Task Force, of the Nigerian military and civil police to go after the culprits that had engaged their base, home of the insurgents, in total warfare, annihilating law abiding citizens and what had been their anger with the rest of the nation, and in particular, Jonathan's administration reluctance in paying heed to what had concerned them, and as a result, an eruption of all sorts of civil disobedience - anarchy, plundering and demolition of structures of the Christian faith, and other beliefs that declined to their movements, including attacks on government establishments, and complete breakdown of law and order; Jonathan certainly made a good call May 14, 2013, announcing "Extraordinary Measures" be taken for national interest, with the backing and support of numerous union heads and the people in general, to use his executive privileges, ordering troops to use their right sense of judgement to end an insurgency that had threatened the security and sovereignty of the nation..

There's much justification on the president's decision to seek resolve giving the military permission to secure the towns and settlements of the region in question from Boko Haram terrorists.

In The New York Times Op-Ed Thursday, June 6, 2013, by Adam Nossiter, "Nigerian foreign partners, including the United States," wrote Nossiter, had been concerned and worried from its observations and series of reports what they had suspected to be human rights abuses on reported cases of civilians as casualties regarding the Nigerian forces' "rules of engagement's" air and strategic mobilization of forces and campaigns to neutralize the firepower of Boko Haram insurgents coupled with dismantling their cells.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, in what he had described as "credible allegations," according to Nossiter's citing in The New York Times on Kerry's warning to Nigeria to look into said allegations about Nigeria's military abuses of human rights in the "Extraordinary Measures" operation to sack Boko Haram and bring the culprits to book, and hold them responsible for what had amounted to a four year run of insurgency in the north-east, on the bankroll of what Jonathan had initially told the nation, that some members of his cabinet have played major roles in sustaining the logistics of Boko Haram's operations, the funding that has kept the terrorist organization afloat since its operation began.

The problem, however, had been Jonathan himself not having a clue probably of how to tackle Boko Haram and its related off-shoots, and the high rollers in his cabinet who called the shots, recruiting the almajiris, the lowest class in their cast, and a bunch dependent on the caliphates, the capitalist gang that had been on Jonathan's roll call, with no desire and love for democratic ideals except an Islamic state they had cherished, and had wanted imposed on the citizenry, inspiring their tool, the vulnerable almajiris, the poorest and uneducated group, on sponsored errands for acts of terrorism against the state.

Nigerians from around the time a bedridden Umaru Yar'Adua's questionable and legitimate standings to run the affairs of state no longer was a secret, which paved the way for a Jonathan succeeding presidency, out of good luck, and an eventual clear victory as president-elect, Jonathan's capabilities to issue out orders as commander-in-chief of the armed forces was also in doubt and questioned because of the very nature of how he got there; his upbringing of haven't been of the grassroots.

But nevertheless, Jonathan did what had been expected of him as a leader, irrespective of what the opponents, by way of politics, were saying. He did what he needed to do even though he did it too late.

On the other hand, there are more problems stocked around the surroundings of Jonathan's presidency which also poses serious threat to his government, and which also demands attention just like Boko Haram, the Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati, the Arabic and meaning "People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet's Teachings and Jihad."

As it had happened, critics of Jonathan's decision to launch an all out attack on the insurgents at the corners of the country's north-east, are saying Jonathan had taken the wrong steps and had avoided or exempted the capitalist class, the foundations that fund the insurgents, and the only seen alternative to have stopped Boko Haram terrorist activities.

Reading the editorial of the Workers Alternative Editorial Board of Nigeria published at the "In Defense of Marxism" website Friday, June 7, 2013, it's interesting to note and arguing on workers right rather than supporting the government on its decision to place emergency rule on the three states of the north-east, the socialist union news outlet thus wrote;

"It is unfortunate that the leadership of Labor instead of opposing the emergency rule and independently mobilizing workers and youth against Boko Haram and the atrocities of the Nigerian state, have opted for the seemingly easy way out by supporting the government."

The socialist link also indicated what it termed "Jonathan's regime" sending its message of political errands and the gearing up toward 2015, asserting what the general public would be looking at, a Jonathan who'd come from a "clueless president to a decisive and wise war leader capable of leading the nation," being the strong and powerful message the president intends to convey in order to gain public confidence in his government and a sure bet for the president's 2015 campaigns and reelections.

As we may also have known with Jonathan and the partial victory, for now, to have sent Boko Haram members packing, fleeing to unknown destinations and while Jonathan pats himself, it should be borne in mind that there are much more problems ahead, and the buck doesn't stop there, as it becomes patently clear that different kinds of problems have been seen in other states; problems really grand and alarming by its nature. Disturbing cases of kidnapping, oil theft and vandalism, gang related cults and deadly fraternities widespread in southern parts of the country should be given immediate attention by Jonathan's government as part of the problem solving techniques to return the country to normal, and free from the internal strife seemed to have overwhelmed the entire nation from various pressing issues seen to have been halting the progress of the nation's polity.

But as one would measure the extent of what appears to be dragging the nation's well-being backwards and much reliance on a centered federal government, it is noteworthy to point out a post I had made on my Facebook page Thursday, June 6, highlighted with images by Jon Gambrell of Associated Press, on Gambrell's reportage from the north-east, and the JTF invitation of local and foreign journalists for a clear view of the missions by the JTF, and its accomplishments to date, with sigh of euphoria by the military commanders and the eventual defeat of Boko Haram terrorists, following responses on the subject matter by Fubara David-West, Chike Nwasike, Eze Ojinkeya and others.

David West had made a salient point insisting the states should take the responsibility of addressing the concerns of their respective states in which the dispensation of democracy could hold ground, from testing the abilities of its democratic fabrics on the local, municipal and state levels of authority, with an ongoing practice to "keep working at perfecting their institutions," like the Boko Haram insurgency, which surfaced four years ago and had to be worked on until there is a resolve.

Nobody was really sure what message Boko Haram terrorists were sending in the north-eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe since its devotion to blowing up its own stuff - their kinsmen and government structures; for instance, the assassination of the civil war general Muhammed Shuwa, who became their target on grounds of the general doing what was contrary to their ideals.

Obviously, they made known their message. That they have a motive. That they are a strong and powerful force to draw the government's attention. That they have a compelling package and should be taken seriously. That Nigeria must heed to their call for an Islamic state; and that they are well-organized to set up their projected agenda into motion. And that nobody can stop them from reaching their desired goal, period.

Before the terrorists took their grievances to their home-depot in the north-east, they had carried out series of bombings in different parts of  the north, including the FCT, the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, with the This Day Newspapers' complex and United Nations' building as part of their bombing runs in Abuja and its surroundings. Jonathan's-led government and a confused National Assembly members had been a jumbled and bellicose bunch, having no clue where to begin and how to end the nightmare called Boko Haram.

Regardless, a decision was reached at last, with Jonathan's "Doctrine of Extraordinary Measures," and the manhunt for the insurgents, including its leader Abubakar Shekau. Meanwhile, Boko Haram, for now, is not yet done and may be rethinking its strategies to strike again for the fact that the capitalist class, the bunch with the cash that keeps the operation of the terrorists alive still have the influence and resources to train and arm the insurgents. It's not over yet, and with a US bounty of $7 million on information and leads to the arrest of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, who has been described as part mafiasco, and part intellectual, and with a Nigeria that is very complex and full of uncertainties, the total demolition of the process and prize on Shekau could amount to more casualties and a conflict far from over.

Journalists look at arms and ammunition which military commanders say they previously seized from Islamic fighters in Maiduguri, Borno, Nigeria. The military flew foreign and local journalists from Nigeria's capital, Abuja, to Maiduguri in Borno state as part of a tour of one battleground area. Image: Jon Gambrell/AP

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