By Donu Kogara
In the past few months, no day has gone by without grim news of yet another traumatic, enraging, despair-generating Boko Haram atrocity being announced by media houses and hogging the Nigerian and international headlines.
Bombings, kidnappings and brutal assaults on innocent people are now daily occurrences in the North East. Sometimes, these evil psychopaths extend their murder and mayhem to other zones, including Abuja, Kaduna and Lagos.
They describe themselves as brave Islamic warriors who abhor Western education and decadence. They would like the world to regard them as spiritual freedom fighters who have an unambiguous and “honourable” ideological agenda.
When Boko Haram first emerged, various well-meaning “liberals” (including me) concluded that it was largely populated by justifiably frustrated victims of socio-economic injustice…as in Northern youngsters who had been woefully neglected by the Federal Government and the Northern ruling elite.
But almost everyone has now seen through Boko Haramists and realised that they are nothing more than heartless hypocrites, barbaric nihilists and cheap criminals who use Islam as an excuse for inflicting destruction on ALL Nigerians.
They rely heavily on modern tools – guns, video cameras and mobile phones, for example – that are products of the Western education they say they despise.
They respect nobody and nothing and cold-bloodedly massacre devout fellow Muslims – including women and children – as well as “infidel” Christians.
They even kill leaders of the religion they claim to hold dear. A friend from Yobe State tells me that Boko Haram has assassinated many Imams in his area.
The biggest irony of all is that Boko Haram’s toxic terror campaign is making Northern Muslims extremely unpopular within an electoral context.
I have encountered SO MANY people who think that Dr Goodluck Jonathan is an inadequate President but say that they would still rather vote for him next year if the only alternative the Opposition can offer Nigeria is a Northern Muslim.
And, by the way, Southern Christians are not the only Nigerians who are saying this. Southern Muslims and Northern Christians are also echoing this view.
There is a widespread belief that “most” or “all” Northern Muslim grandees sponsored Boko Haram’s killer louts to sabotage Jonathan (to punish him for not allowing one of them to take over when his predecessor, President Yar’Adua, died prematurely)…and then lost control over the monster they had created.
I totally reject this wholesale suspicion of an entire class and ethnic/religious group. Yes, it is possible that some Northern Muslim VIPs are guilty as charged. But I’ll be absolutely amazed if any guilty parties constitute a majority.
I know several influential Northern Muslims; and while I think that they should have done more to boost their region’s fortunes – and economically empower their people – especially when they were in charge, I am sure that almost all of them abhor violence and would NOT deliberately destabilise their country.
Whether I am right or wrong to have so much faith in the Northern Muslim VIPs with whom I have socialised and worked, my opinions don’t really matter.
All that really matters at the end of the day is the Bottom Line…which is that the Northern Muslims (whether they were VIPs or non-VIPs) who created Boko Haram or promoted it when it was up-and-running have shot themselves in both feet by severely undermining the moral credibility and political clout of Northern Muslim presidential candidates.
Meanwhile, ISIS, the homicidally efficient Islamic terrorist outfit that is rampaging through Syria and has nearly reached Iraq’s capital city, is loudly boasting about its alleged ability to expand beyond the Middle East and is naming Nigeria as one of the countries it feels it can eventually conquer.
Comments I’ve heard from reluctant Jonathan supporters include:
“I am not impressed by Jonathan, but Northern Muslims are shaming my religion and must be taught a lesson” (uttered very bitterly by a Yoruba Muslim).
“Jonathan seems like a nice guy but is not leadership material. However, you simply cannot trust Muslim Northerners because they are dangerous; and if we enable one of THEM to replace Jonathan as Head of State, it will be as if we are rewarding them for inflicting brutality on innocent Nigerians; and they will definitely link up with Islamic extremists from other countries like those evil ISIS fellows” (uttered vehemently by an Igbo Christian).
“If Fashola, the Lagos State Governor, was running, I would vote for him rather than my own brother because Fashola is more effective and not a mainstream Muslim from the North” (uttered wearily by a guy from Jonathan’s village).
“Northern Muslims lust after power because they are not very productive and are therefore too dependent on government. They believe that they have a right to rule; and it is time for them to be told that they do not” (uttered by a Christian from Taraba State).
To cut a long story short, Islamic terrorists in Nigeria and Beyond have vastly increased Jonathan’s chances of being re-elected in 2015, despite his flaws.
Goodluck is certainly living up to the name his mother gave him at birth!