By Jide Ajani
There were strong indications yesterday that the Federal Government would go tough on members of the Boko Haram sect.
This would be a corollary to a possible review of government’s earlier vaunted carrot and stick approach to the Boko Haram menace which appears not to be yielding any fruits.
In addition, Sunday Vanguard has discovered that government is coming to terms with the type of opposition it is facing in the Boko Haram threat.
A top ranking official said government would engage in paradigm shift in its dealings with the Boko Haram”. This, it was gathered, is based on fresh intelligence “that the group may not be pursuing any agenda on its own steam but on the prompting of some powerful and influential forces whose forte is largely politics”.
Sunday Vanguard was also made to understand that “the so-called carrot and stick approach that many Nigerians had alluded to was never an approach which endorsed violence or was going to provide an amnesty as was touted in many quarters”.
Already, the interim report of the fact-finding committee set up by President Goodluck Jonathan has been submitted to the government.
Government is studying the report with a view to establishing a “protocol on how to handle the Boko Haram menace”.
The correlation between the suspicion in government circles that the activities of Boko Haram may be more political than ideological can be traced to a prophetic postulation by a former Foreign Affairs Minister, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, in an encounter with Sunday Vanguard sometime in October 2010.
According to Akinyemi, “President Goodluck Jonathan would win the presidential ticket of his party, the Peoples democratic Party, PDP.
“President Goodluck Jonathan would also most likely win the presidential elections that would hold in April 2011.
“Mind you, this is the first time that both the ruling party and the opposition elements are not sure of who would likely emerge as the president at the end of the elections.
“However, after President Goodluck Jonathan has emerged as President and Commander-in-Chief, he would have to manage the post election crisis that would buffet his administration”.
When contacted yesterday on that prophetic postulation, the renowned academician simply said, “quote me” – the earlier discussion was confidential in nature and it was just immediately after President Jonathan threw his hat in the ring, declaring his intention to seek the presidential ticket of his party with a view to contesting the 2011 presidential elections.
Sunday Vanguard has been told that the administration of Jonathan is coming to terms with that reality in the wake of the Boko Haram induced bombing of the United Nation’s House in Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
This is coming in the wake of the seeming orchestrated attacks on his administration, with Boko Haram as the front.