The precondition to freedom is security (Rand Beers)
If you want anything to actually change or to move ahead in your life you actually have to do it yourself, you can’t sit there and wait for somebody or talk about what you might want, you know, you should actually keep dreams and desires inside and let them burn a little bit, and then they might come true' (Russell Crowe)
The way to get ahead is to start now. While many of us are waiting until conditions are "just right" before we go ahead, others are stumbling along, fortunately ignorant of the dangers that beset them. By the time we are, in our superior wisdom, decided to make a start, we discover that those who have gone fearlessly on before, have, in their blundering way, traveled a considerable distance. If you start now, you will know a lot next year that you don't know now, and that you will not know next year, if you wait (William Feather)
Continued from Part 10
he Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika, on Monday August 19, acknowledged the ineffectuality of the fight against Boko Haram insurgents so far, saying that previous operational strategies of the military against insurgency were inadequate. That was the reason the army decided to take over the fight by creating a new division of about 8,000 troops stationed in Maiduguri, Borno State capital. Ihejirika noted that there should be no mercy for Boko Haram and other such groups. He said that Nigerians would soon smile as the military had decided to come out very hard on those who believe that they could continue to undermine the nation's internal security, as it will be an all-out war. The JTF, about to be replaced by then new Army division, then claimed that its troops killed the terror group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, during a clash. The Joint Task Force, Operation Restore Order, quoting intelligence reports, claimed that the sect leader might have died of gunshot wounds sustained in confrontation with the soldiers. The statement released by the spokesman of the JTF said the terrorist leader sustained serious gunshot wounds in an encounter with the JTF troops in one of their camps at Sambisa Forest on June 30, 2013. It added that: "Shekau was mortally wounded in the encounter which he never recovered from. It is greatly believed that Shekau might have died on 25 July to 3 August, 2013". Nigerian Tribune wrote that when Shekau was shot by the Special Forces, he escaped to Mali, where he was placed on treatment, but, the injury became worse and had to be sneaked into Amitchide - a border community in Cameroun - for treatment by some of his members before he died. A source told the Tribune: "In fact, as I am talking to you now, we have it on good authority that a close confidant of his (Shekau), who was mandated to follow him and ensure he received proper treatment and return him safely to the country, has been killed by other members of the group for allowing the information to get out".
The statement from JTF added that the recent video released on August 13, 2013, by the purported sect leader threatening everybody and calling the bluff of the United States (US), Britain and France and claiming that nobody could stop the group, was dramatized by an impostor to hoodwink the sect members to continue with the terrorism and to deceive the undiscerning minds. JTF added it was a smokescreen to paint a picture that he was still alive and in control. A week earlier, the JTF announced the killing of Shekau's deputy, Momodu Bama (aka Abu Saad) and his father, Flatari, said to be the spiritual leader of the sect, while about 24 other terrorists were arrested. Also, the Vigilance Youths Group (BVYG) known as the 'Civilian JTF' and the Military Joint Task Force (JTF) claimed they arrested a top Boko Haram informant in Maiduguri metropolis on Sunday August 18, recovering incriminating documents from him. If all these are confirmed, then they’re goodnews for Nigeria and morale booster for the security forces which deserve our commendations for all these efforts, but, the problem is that all these are unconfirmed reports. It’s likely that Shekau is dead, but, don’t forget that a claim in 2009 that Shekau had been killed turned out to be untrue. Also, we read that residents of Maiduguri, Borno State, said they are doubtful of JTF's claim, noting that they expected the task force to do a thorough job ascertaining the identity of the sect leader that died. A resident summed it thus: "We would have wished the JTF did a thorough investigation and come out with the true picture of how the man (Shekau) died rather than suggesting that he may have died". A Paper rightly noted that the killing of the most wanted terror leader, who has a $7 million bounty on his head, would have been celebrated by all security agencies but the situation appears to be different in the absence of evidence of his death.
Sabotage is being alleged, in that the Punch wrote: “However, it was gathered that the military high command in the country was bitter about the release of the statement on Shekau's purported death because of the growing lack of evidence around it. However, a top security source confided that the statement was viewed as a product of sabotage and an unnecessary contest for glory by the JTF, which prosecuted the war against terrorism. The source said that the hurried release of the news of the killing of Shekau on the date a new division of the Nigerian Army was taking over from the JTF was rather suspicious”. Sequel to what Punch of Wednesday, August 21, 2013 wrote, there’s more to the released information about Shekau’s death than the public will ever know. We read that the 'Information on Shekau's death was not authorised by DHQ'. The story has it that the Defence Headquarters was surprised by the statement announcing that Shekau might have been killed, which came out on the day a new Division of the Nigerian Army took over from the Joint Task Force and was assigned the sole responsibility of continuing with the war against the insurgents. A source said that the Chief of Defence Staff, Vice-Admiral Ola Ibrahim, and the top leadership of the Defence Headquarters, were still considering how to verify the pending issue of Shekau's killing when the statement announcing his death was released. It was gathered that the CDS (Chief of defence Staff) was still considering sending troops to the Cameroonian town of Amitchide to carry out an extensive search operation in the area for graves to explore the possibility of a DNA exercise, when the news was released. Investigations revealed that the JTF sent a report on the issue of the killing of Shekau to the DHQ (Defence Headquarters), but the CDS and other top military officers were said to have advised that there was a need for a proper verification before the release of the death of somebody of Shekau's status. The source said that the decision of the CDS was taken because of the fact that even the JTF personnel who claimed to have killed Shekau were in doubt. The question becomes why the hurried release of the information, when the Chief of Defence Staff, the highest military officer in Nigeria, ordered otherwise? Who disobeyed the CDS’s order? That’s the sabotage this column has been harping on all along.
This column, while waiting for a concrete evidence of the death, will still cautiously commend the JTF for a job well done. This column has criticized the security forces and their handling of the war against insurgents all along, so if they have achieved such a feat, the column will not withhold the encomium due to them. But, before an all out celebration and salutation, we want the evidence (of the death); in order not to rejoice to early for what will turn out to be a hoax later. For now, let’s postpone the jubilation until the death is forensically confirmed. What if Boko Haram framed Shekau’s death as a ploy to distract the security forces so that their leader can have time to relocate, and the sect will have time to replenish its depleted arsenal and to re-map its strategy? That’s a remote possibility; let’s just wait and see! Killing Shekau has been long overdue, as it’s believed that he masterminded the kidnapping of seven French citizens and that Alhaji Shettima Ali Monguno. He also murdered many Islamic clerics in the north. He was also responsible for the bombings of many places of worship and public buildings, including the Police and the United Nations Headquarters in Abuja. What of the hundreds of women he and his sect abducted and raped?
Any thing said or written in this part of this article (below) further vindicated Ojukwu as a man who wanted the best for Nigeria. Ojukwu saw things ahead of time as what he advocated, about 45 years ago as a solution to the problems of Nigeria, is what everybody is concurring on now.
It is unfortunate that some of the Ogoni and Ijaw leaders such as Prof. Tam David-West, Chief Edwin Clark (who were some of those who convinced the then Nigerian government to reject the Aburi Accord of 1967 that should have granted Eastern Nigeria including part of their Ijaw or Ogoni nation, confederate status within the Nigerian nation) are now seeing what they didn’t see in the late 1960s. Some of these south-south leaders played great part against the Igbos during the civil war. Worth pointing out here is the fact that many of the Niger Delta leaders who were frustrated by the injustices meted out to the oil producing region, also frustrated the efforts of the Igbos between 1967 through 1970, who then wanted to take their destiny into their own hands. Some of the Niger Delta leaders of today were then saboteurs against the Biafran cause, but, they haven’t fared much better since then, despite all they did to sabotage all the efforts of the Igbos in their quest for justice and self rule. Men like Edwin Clark, late Saro-Wiwa, Adaka Boro, Tam David-West and some others sold Biafra then for a plate of porridge, but, by now they must have eaten up the porridge and are still hungry, even when President Jonathan is one of theirs. Now, some of those Niger Delta leaders are singing Ojukwu’s 1966 song. Emperor Haile Selassie (1892 – 1975) was right to say that “Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted, the indifference of those who should have known better, the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most, that has made it possible for evil to triumph”.
Chief Edwin Clark said, in the Vanguard Newspapers of 29th July 2008, that the only sane way out of the long-drawn-out Niger-Delta crisis is for President Umaru Yar’Adua to return the country to true federalism, which was the situation in the First Republic (That was what Ojukwu advocated in 1966 and Clark didn’t support him then). According to Clarke as reported by the vanguard:
“These are the only realistic solution to the lingering Niger-Delta crisis; this was the situation in the First Republic when the principles of true federalism brought social and political stability in the three regions. The North had groundnut and cotton, the East had coal and palm industry and the West had cocoa, these, they used to develop their various regions at their own pace. For instance, in former Western Nigeria where Chief Obafemi Awolowo was the Premier and leader, it was the most developed and progressive because of its wealth in cocoa. Through cocoa, Awolowo was able to establish the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University. The introduction of free primary education, establishment of Odua Group of Companies, which remains the largest group of company owned by any individual or state or group of states, the establishment of a television station, which was the first in Southern Nigeria, the Cocoa House in Ibadan, Western House in Lagos and industrial estates in Ikeja were some of the benefits of cocoa wealth. These benefits did not extend to the Mid-West region except for free primary education because we never contributed to cocoa wealth. These same reasons were used to deny Mid-West region equitable sharing of assets when it was created in 1963 even when I became Commissioner for Finance in 1972, all efforts to convince Gen Adeyinka Adebayo, the military Governor of Western region, despite the very good relationship he had with Col. S.O. Ogbemudia, then military Governor of the Mid-West region failed. It should be noted that the Premier of the Northern region, Sir Ahmadu Bello also used his groundnut and cotton wealth to establish the present Ahmadu Bello University and the modern city of Kaduna, which was its capital. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe could not do much because he relied on limited resources available to him, including the remaining 50 per cent that accrues to the federation, which it shared between the two regions and the central government”.
The hatred Clark has for Ndiigbo blinded him as he failed to acknowledge the fact that whereas the west relied on cocoa, the north on groundnut and cotton, the east used the proceeds from palm oil and by-products to build University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the first indigenous university in Nigeria, Presidential Hotels in Enugu and Port Harcourt, Metropolitan Hotel in Calabar, Nkalagu Cement Industry, Golden Guinea Breweries Umuahia and the industrial estates in Enugu, Umuahia, Aba, Port Harcourt, Calabar, Owerri etc etc
Few months ago, the Southern Nigeria Peoples Assembly (SNPA) met to deliberate on the myriad of problems confronting the country. There, the members called on President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently convene a national conference to address the issues. This was the consensus of opinions at the gathering of the body in Lagos, which witnessed the attendance of foremost traditional rulers and prominent Nigerians, including the Ooni of Ife, Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Yeye-Oodua, Chief (Mrs) HID Awolowo represented by Dr (Mrs) Tokunbo Awolowo Dosumu; Ondo State Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ali Olanusi, Bishop Emmanuel Bolanle Gbonigi, Chief Edwin Clark and Alabo Tonye Gharam-Douglas. Others were former Vice-President Alex Ekwueme, former Senate President Adolphus Wabara; former Chief of General Staff (CGS), Lt. General Oladipo Diya; Senator Bode Olajumoke, Senator Femi Okunrounmu, Senator Felix Ibru, Chief Olu Falae, Alhaji Shuaib Oyedokun, Mr Ayo Opadokun, Senator Iyiola Omisore, Chief Gani Adams, Dr Walter Ofonagoro and Hon Cairo Ojougboh, among others. In his address, Edwin Clark, who led the South-South delegates said Jonathan should organise a national conference on or before January 2014. Wasn’t it what Ojukwu advocated in 1966?
To be continued!
THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!
Continued from Part 10