Boko Haram : Just Because You No Gbadun My Style?
Different Styles of Passing the Message Across
I like my own style; particularly my quiet, under-ground moves. But that doesn’t mean that I am not sufficiently skilful in other styles. These rather loud styles – of tweeting and blogging – were just not my favourites. At the beginning of 2012 though, I decided that I would add them to the other styles that I have been using.
Don’t get me wrong, I like your style. I may not really like it when you open your mouth wide and call someone “mumu, who had no shoes” as though you would dare repeat that to his face – say, if you were to meet him one on one. It’s not because I am a coward, or because I like the performance level of his government. In fact, if you see how audacious I have often been, you sef go fear fear. My personal guard, though, is that I always try to avoid saying anything behind a man if I reckon that I would be unable to repeat it to the man’s face. It’s what restrains me from misyearning – most times, at least.
Yesterday, a friend was tackling me on my Facebook page – he wrote on my wall, “Tope, being an ardent supporter of Mr. President, I’m sure you will like how he is operating now” – and I wasted no time in giving him my retort as follows: “For your information, [my friend], I am neither for nor against Mr. President . . . It’s always hard for me to take sides, even in football matches, if you must know. Many of you simply assumed that my book was pro-Jonathan; which I don’t mind at all, since most Nigerians only see the cover or title of a book and then conclude that they already know everything that is in that book. My book discussed many issues that we face as a nation today – for instance, 1) The need for a National Constitutional Conference 2) Reforming the Nigerian Police Force 3) Fighting Corruption, 4) Many issues too numerous to list here. Tell me, what better way could I have smuggled these matters to the president’s table than to wrap it in a book that has his face as the cover? These are the same issues every one of us wants to talk to Government about and I found a smart a way to pass it across”.
What Have I Been Passing Across?
On 10th October 2011, I had sent a letter to Navy Captain Olubolade (Rtd), the Minister of Police Affairs – as you would see in the attached file. Of course, it was only a covering letter for a complimentary copy of the book that I was sending to him. In the letter, I wrote as follows: “The book has two sections, the latter of which is captioned “Endemic Problems of the Nigerian Society”, and it is especially for this that I think you will find the message of the book pertinent to your job, as the Minister of Police Affairs . . . I am sending you this copy at this time because it discusses problems of the Nigerian society with particular mention of the Nigerian Police in several instances . . . I have been privileged to encounter and study our police systems in their operations and I opined that a very urgent and extensive reform needs to be carried out”.
Well, 3 months have rolled by since I sent that letter and the book to the Minister – and I am yet to receive any acknowledgement from his office. What was I thinking when I sent that letter to the Minister? Was I hoping that it would be better than going on Facebook or Twitter and “yabbing” our policemen? Of course, I was not comparing styles . . . I was just gbaduing my own style, which, of course, involves addressing the problems directly rather than taking recourse to what I call “back-of-the-class-murmuring” approach. As a matter of fact, I have assessed my life and found that it’s not worth more than a single bullet. It’s not like I’m going about in search of that bullet, though; it’s just that I have come to the knowledge that death will come when it will come, anyway. Nevertheless, I understand that death will not come without the pre-knowledge of God; and as Christian who has embraced the calling to teach the spherical truth, I have accepted the risk of assassination as an occupational hazard. So, I am never afraid to tell those who are in charge of the affairs of our nation the whole truth without mincing words. And my approach is to tell it to their face, straight from the shoulder.
They might eventually decide to silence my still small voice with just a single shot – it won’t matter. However, when that moment comes – if it comes, it won’t be for hurling stones at a substance-abusing, gun-wielding, policeman, or soldier; it won’t be for making jest of someone for growing up without shoes, it won’t be for threatening to make the country ungovernable – those are not my particular styles. It might be for daring to beat the Agidigbo drum in the ears of the powers that be . . . I am also Yoruba; in Yoruba culture we don’t curse the king . . . we might rather keep mum, while letting our drums talk in the palace, ever only in proverbs – Agidigbo style – only the wise would understand, and the very intelligent would recognise the undertones. Style na style.
Boko Haram, MEND and The Secessionist Agenda
Apart from style and being Yoruba, there is another reason why I caution my style of “talking” in the public. It’s because I always prefer to retain penetrative insight into anything I am talking about. I hate to talk just for talking sake. The problem with penetrative talking, however, is that it could pinch – or sting – the people you are being careful not to offend. I’m afraid that you won’t gbadun my penetrative style. But just because you no gbadun am no mean say . . . make I shut up.
The country has been languishing at the recent Boko Haram attacks and we have all been saying one thing or the other – even the President himself has reportedly said a few surprising things. To me, Boko Haram is just MEND. Pure and very simple.
Look at it:
1) MEND was seemingly trying to pull the South away, Boko Haram is trying to push the South away.
2) MEND was using bomb blasts to seek control of the South by Southerners, Boko Haram is using bomb blasts to seek control of the North by Northerners.
3) MEND was a group whose real identities were mostly hidden, but who were sending out press releases from obscurity – copy and paste the same for Boko Haram
4) The operations of Boko Haram became more pronounced after the operations of MEND waned, but the presumable motive of splitting the country into North and South remains.
5) I don’t want to say more.
When Y’aradua pardoned Niger Delta militants, and asked them to surrender their arms, we hailed that move as a very good solution to restiveness in the Niger Delta. I like it too. But I have questions.
1) Did Government – through the police, or whatever, set up an inquest into the operations and ideologies of the MEND?
2) Were the pardoned Niger Delta militants debriefed by the police on
a. How they were funded as militants?
b. How they acquired their weapons?
c. How they paid for their weapons?
d. Who were the manufacturers and/or suppliers of the weapons?
e. How they made their bombs?
f. The recipes for the bombs?
g. How they infiltrate locations to plant bombs?
h. How they recruited their members?
i. How their members were trained?
j. (Lol . . .I don’t want to ask more)
3) So, for what then did the Government pay through the militants’ pardon and resettlement programmes?
4) Are the tactics of MEND and Boko Haram in anyway similar or different?
5) Would the persons who marketed and supplied weapons to MEND have been complacent to lose their business or would they have chosen to look for another avenue to keep themselves in business?
6) Could a police debriefing of pardoned Niger Delta militants give Government an insight into curbing Boko Haram?
7) (You want me to ask the more serious questions, no, I won’t).
All I see here is that Boko Haram looks like a morphed version of MEND. Possibly, only the name and pawns have changed.
I was saying in that small book that the Nigerian policemen are too “natural” and they need improvement in their “internal equipment” . . . whatever that means. See, I am using my own “internal equipment” here, so that I won’t always remain “natural”. Possibly, the seemingly satirical manner in which I referred to the manner that the Nigeria Police force is equipped might be the reason why the minister of Police Affairs refused to respond to my letter and the book. However, on 8th December 2011, I wrote to His Excellency and mentioned that while he should exercise caution about the way his Government is pursuing the fuel subsidy removal, he should note that “the way the Nigeria Police Force currently works is extremely pre-modern” and needs transformation. Maybe, His Excellency too is not gbaduing my style.
I guess all of una no gbadun my style. I’m gbaduing yours, though. We are together in this struggle. Occupy Nigeria is not a matter of 2015. It’s for today. Now!