ormer President Obasanjo could never be more wrong in his evaluation of the unfortunate insurgency from the Boko Haram Sect. He said, "Boko Haram undermines security, and anything that undermines security undermines development, undermines education, undermines health, undermines agriculture and food and nutrition security," It is unfortunate that it has taken this long for a Nigerian states man to criticize the government he bequeathed to Nigeria. I wish his evaluation of the situation regarding Goodluck Jonathan's approach to solving the menace of this colossal proportion, that is eating up on everything Nigeria was able to achieve (if any), and appears to forestalling the progress of the country in some important directions.
The problem created is an overflow of the negligence in handling the issues in the Delta province, issues in the distribution of personal income, issues in abandoning the governance of the people, and the entrenched interest in stealing from the people. It appears as if Obasanjo is reflecting on the mistakes made during the Babaginda, Abacha regimes, in which "Sticks" were used in settling the affairs of the disgruntled "Bakasi Boys" led by the late Sarawo Wiwo of the Delta region.
The lingering and escalating problem of the activities of the "Boko Haram" sect is being misdiagnosed. It is the absence of good conscience by our elected officials that gave birth to this unhealthy group. Their existence is a result of unheard cry for basic needs of the people. We need to remember that an "hungry man" is and "angry man". And definitely, hunger, fear of loss of personal safety, lack of employment, inadequate shelter, among other grievances are epitomized in the actions of Boko Haram group. But, did our itching palm, selfish politicians see the true problem? No. Rather, they are pointing accusing fingers at religion and ethnicity, a smart way to divert the attention of Nigerians from the real problem. In fact, our politicians see the actions of the Boko Haram's group as an opportunity to continue their loot of the country's treasury. So, the result is that Nigeria is being attacked at both ends of the spectrum. The poor is crying because of neglect, while the politicians are busy dipping their hands deep into the "Cookie Jar". Although these reverse "Robin Hoods" in our country have been caught many times, yet, our problem is that one cannot assign the guarding of roasted fish to a cat. The fish will gradually disappear, and that is our lot in Nigeria today. Our country's wealth is disappearing without anything to show for it, except for "pot bellies". Such is the dilemma faced by Nigeria and Nigerians Late President Kennedy said, "Don't ask what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country". Who then can be our savior or redeemer? It is only, "True Patriotic Nigerians can!
Frankly, the progress of the country is not within the reach of our politicians as constituted presently. Far be it from them. Each of our politicians is sworn to self-enrichment at the expense of sacrificing everything in the country to obtain their nefarious objective. With the loss of several billions of dollars of revenue since the advent of the oil in the delta basin area of Nigeria, and the continuous pretenses that all is well with our country in the presence of unbridled corruption, our leaders are still going cap in hand begging for money from the International Financial Community. Our country has a notorious cancer that is ever spreading and infecting even the proletariat in the country.
It will take empathetic Technocrats, Sociologists, Physiologists, Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Teachers and Industrialists to discern the true meaning of the vicious attacks by Boko Haram's group on the rest of the country, not only on the north as it is being witnessed now. But, where is the "Moses"? Nigeria is in desperate need of a Moses to lead us out of self-enslavement, to lead us into the real Promised Land our Merciful God has bestowed on the country.
Subsequent to the discovery of Bony Light, Nigeria had a bouncing agricultural sector. The north was proud of her "Ground Nut Pyramid", cattle and other protein products like fish from the rivers Benue and Niger junction. This is not to mention the fabulous tuber products of the middle belt region. The West and the East were Palm produce giants in Africa, in fact, the whole world. The west was famous for her Cocoa and Palm Products (a Mural in Hershey Park, Pennsylvania) would attest to this fact. Also, the east could not be left out of the scene of agricultural production that was beyond subsistence level. Thanks to uninhibited interstate commerce. Surpluses flowed freely from the east to the west and north, and vice versa. We enjoyed nomadic life from the north, transporting agricultural products by road and rail across the country united the people more than oil is dividing us today. Then, there was hardly any envy between the rich and the poor. Everyone was industrious and had hope. But these days, our hope has been dampened and dashed to pieces by greedy and selfish politicians. This is the time Nigerians need to be wallowing in the beauty of the Oil and mineral riches of the country, just like Kuwait and other oil rich countries of the Middle Eastern countries are enjoying the revenue from their natural endowment. Unfortunately however, it is a busy time for the privileged and their cohorts to deal an unrecoverable blow to the poor state of the people and country. They are as busy as the bees, stealing and storing their loot in havens known to God Almighty. They are aided and abated by inglorious worshipping outlets who profess to be God and Allah messangers. How much wealth will be enough for these gluttonous servant turned master of the people? I wish "they are in the service of their fellow man". It appears their greed is unbridled! Their ineptness in governing is unparalleled. Above all, their hatred for the country is written all over their administrations achievements/non achievement. Our situation is now one of "Cry the beloved country". We must cry to God, Allah, the merciful and peaceful to shed His grace on Nigeria. Our fervent and deliberate cry to God and Allah will be heard, and a deliverer will be raised up for Nigeria to deliver her from "Nigerian Pharaohs".
Former President Obasanjo's belated concern and advice on what needs to be done with the Boko Haram points to the real facts of the reason for the insurgency. It must be dealt with in all seriousness, not only in the North of Nigeria and Abuja, but, throughout the whole country. The exhaustion of patience of Nigerians will explode one day. Time is ticking! Nigerians will soon realize that the elite are only pitching the south against the north, the east against the west, and so forth, for their own gains. If not so, what have the people gained from the flow of "Petrol Dollars" since 1970? Is it lack, of adequate shelter, pipe borne water, electricity, in spite of the unending huge financing of the kanji dam at New Busa and the ECN, good transportation and roads as evidenced by the Defunct Nigeria Railway Corporation and Nigeria Airways, Ltd (a show of "Management Sickness and round pegs to fill square holes), absence of factories, in spite of the vast available mineral resources that require transformation and export, but inhibited by the loss in seeding of the Ajaokuta Steel Industry without fruits.
Are there patriotic Nigerians who could retrospectively look into all these lost opportunities, and shed tears for the country? How much longer would these wasted opportunities continue? How much longer is the Parliament going to stay lazy, indolent and be unconcerned about performing their legitimate duties, which is directing the affairs of the country in the hope that future generations would share in the sweet memory of their legacy. Nigeria needs leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, and the Kennedy family, if we desire to bestow the appropriate legacy on our unborn generation.
The answer to Boko Haram's agitation is not only carrots and sticks. Actually it is a situation calling for self-evaluation of Nigerian government. It has come to a situation where greed, loss of mores, wickedness, and lack of consideration for fellow man must come to an end, and serious accountability planted in place of infamous ways of living. Now, the government must shift its focus to recognize and fulfill the basic needs of man. The wealth of Nigeria is not for a chosen few. It is for all Nigerians, irrespective of location within Nigeria. Nigeria's wealth is for all to enjoy and not for a few individuals, their family and friends. The Fulani, the Hausa, the Igbo, the Yoruba, the Edo, the Ibibio, the Efik, and the Ijaw, ALL "Must Chop, I mean have a piece of the Pie" too. The only way to achieve such equitable distribution is through good governance, and that to my mind is the answer to Boko Haram's atrocities.