Feature Article of Tuesday, 1 May 2012
Columnist: Abdallah, Tijani Kassim
“The journey will be tough; it’s not going to be too painful anyway, because I also know that leaders who bring pain on the people always end up badly. Leaders who think they are so powerful always end up badly and no leader will want to be seen as one who brought pain to the people. We are all writing our history. Whatever you sow as a leader, even if you are dead and gone, the story will be told how you brought pain on the people, so nobody will bring pains on Nigerians.” Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
Dear Mr. President: permit me to draw inspiration from except of your address on the 1/1/2012 to the first Baptist church in Garki Abuja, which to me should be the pride scepter of leadership in Africa. Whiles growing as a young African, I read about Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Mansa Musa of Mali, Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya, Tafawa Balewa of Nigeria, Patrice Emery Lamumba of Congo and many others. It was then that I had the perpetual inspiration to be concern of the issues of Africa for the rest of my life.
Considering what is called revolution, abuse of power, unwillingness to relinquish power, gays’, and many other tropical issues that has made major headlines and the content of front page reportage, of local, continental, and international news porters about development in Africa. I must confess in my judgment that, the lens is now on Nigeria, Boko Haram to be specific.
Even though not a Nigerian, I am very much aware that most Nigerians in their 40s and perhaps many historians would recall the unforgettable memory of Biafra war 1967 which has claimed so many lives and recounts the dark days of Nigerian history. I hasten to add, that the advent of Boko Haram may reconstruct the shadows of 1967 if not checked.
I am aware by this time you may wonder why it should take me, a young Ghanaian who has not reached a quarter of your experience or exposure is forwarding you this letter. But as our old folks put it, “When a cock crows at down, it belongs to one household but its voice is the property of the entire neighborhood.” hence, the instability in Nigeria today invariably affects the stability of the sub regions. This security threat does not only discourage investors, but depicts a wrong perception of Africa to the outside world. It is in this spirit that, we those in other countries would not be mere observers, but take interest in other nation to overcome their worries just as I would expect of You, if it so happen to Ghana.
Boko Haram is riding an extreme Islamic belief to kill and purge their fellow Nigerians out of the country completely of those who do not share in their belief and in all these people are dying under your watch. Again, this violence is generally seen in Kaduna, Bauchi states to mention a few, where it took on the depressingly familiar of Muslims versus Christians, and Northerners versus Southerners living the people in an environmental fear and panic.
Not Long ago Mr. President, it was reported by the media following claims by Boko Haram that, They do not respect the Nigerian government because it is illegal, they will continue to fight its military and police because they are not protecting Islam. From this, I get the sense that Boko Haram has some concern which needs your attention for peace to prevail.
In addressing their concern Sir, respectfully, I think that there is a way you can politely tell a lady to sit well if not well seated. However, there is a way you can say the same thing and she will fight you. From this, I think the best realistic alternative option, is to open up a national conference for dialogue, it should be all inclusive and a roadmap towards a comprehensive resolution to jaw? jaw but not to war?war and I trust that it will work for Nigeria. But Sir, if you challenge them to identify themselves as a result of committee’s recommendation, I am sure they would not avail themselves for the fear of insecurity and victimization.
In conclusion Mr. President, your name Goodluck, has indeed seen you through good times as an individual but this is the time that your divine luck should be equally benefited by the citizens of Nigeria. To this effect, I humbly advance the following as suggestions that can help in solving the Boko Haram crises in Nigeria.
First, is there any aspect of the Nigerian government that is illegal? If so then actions should be taken to rectify the illegality.
Second, attempt and throw a challenge to Islamic leaders in Nigeria to draw a clear distinction between Islamic beliefs and that Boko Haram rise on to perpetuate their operations.
Third, strengthen your security force to clamp down inconsistency against sovereignty of Nigeria. However, when an ill?motivated police man takes money at check point and wave people happily without bothering to find out what is actually in their car, it exposes the country to insecurity.
Fourth, I would also want you to take cognizance of the fact that, as wide as your federation is; it would be politically wrong, if not criminal to want to use a universal standard in addressing traditional and cultural points of view. This is because what is considered right in one state is relative to the other and vice versa. You need to be conscious about it for a strategic solution.
Fifth, respected clergies and influential musicians should get involved in mediating between the two, with firm security assurances. They must be respected and trusted by Boko Haram and acceptable to government.
Six, Nigerians should be guided by the fact that they are one people regardless of their religious or political views; they must accept that others who come from different religion or tribe may have different perspectives from their own and still be good patriotic Nigerians so their human right should be respected.
Finally, I am aware that by this time, strategies, plans and serious actions might be underway in addressing this problem and I humbly respect those steps, but mine only comes as a suggestion of a concern African youth. Just as the day always gives way to the night, whatever has a beginning must always have an end, and I am convinced that Nigeria will surely rise again.
Tijani Kassim Abdallah