IN a recent interview Senator Joseph Waku, Vice Chairman of the Arewa Consultaive Forum, ACF, granted to a national newspaper (not the Vanguard), he exhibited his usual mercenary style with all its lies and inconsistencies. One of his outlandish claims was that the Boko Haram insurgency was the making of President Goodluck Jonathan so that he and his people could ‘blackmail’ the ‘North’ in order to have a legitimate excuse to secede from Nigeria.
This assertion is in line with the propaganda strategy of the ACF which must have handed over to Waku its position paper which he presented as his view during that interview. Only somebody who is confused can accuse President Jonathan of sponsoring the Boko Haram insurgency despite the activities of the group which are clearly designed to bring his government down. Indeed, Senator Waku’s allegation was extremely absurd.
Perhaps, it is imperative to mention at this stage that this administration inherited the Boko Haram insurgency from that of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua during which its former leader Mohammed Yusuf was killed by security agencies in controversial circumstances. It is also pertinent to state that the top echelon of this terrorist organisation which last Thursday attempted to murder innocent children at the Police Children’s School in Kaduna, is well known to the Northern political establishment. Several of them, including serving and former governors openly apologised to the group for their ‘ wrongdoings’ not too long ago.
Another assertion made by Waku in that interview was that the Igbos were not being targeted by Boko Haram. After reading this part of that interview, I wondered if the man was a spokesman for the fundamentalist Islamic sect for him to have denied that Ndigbo were not among the targets of the terrorist group. Commonsense points to the fact that Igbos are among their main targets. I will point to three incidents to justify this.
Two of these incidents happened in Madalla, Niger State (near FCT) last year. The first one was an incident that occurred sometime last October when a gang of gun men believed to be members of the sect killed three Igbo traders in the community. The gun men had gone to the shops of the Igbo traders and asked them to recite some verses of the Koran which they could not; there and then they were shot dead. The gun men escaped unchallenged.
This incident was suppressed and was therefore scantily reported by the media. The second incident which was the bombing of St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in the same community on Christmas day last year was widely reported. Anybody who went through the list of those who were murdered in cold blood during the attack would know they were mostly Igbos. What about the mass murder of 22 Igbos who were holding a meeting in Mubi, Adamawa State several weeks ago?
They were meeting on how to convey the corpse of another Igbo man who had been gunned down in the town few days earlier, after the expiration of Boko Haram ‘leave the Northern region’ order served on Southerners. There are countless other incidents which one cannot mention here due to lack of space.
Another lie told by Waku in that interview was that President Jonathan picked the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Onyeabo Ihejirika from his village. I suspect Waku must be one of those Nigerians who rarely travel outside their own villages or states. In addition, that remark also exposed the deep level of Waku’s ignorance about this country he pretends to love so much. Whereas President Jonathan hails from Bayelsa State, Ihejirika is a native of Abia State.
But the real point is that Waku and the ACF are not happy that an Igbo man was appointed as head of the army, just as they resisted the appointment of Ogbonnaya Onovo as Inspector-General of Police under Yar’Adua. However, it is amusing that they have forgotten that President Jonathan retained Gen. Dambazzau as Chief of Army Staff for several months after he assumed office.
Waku really spilled the beans behind the Boko Haram insurgency in that interview when he admitted that the ‘North’ was angry with the present administration because it wasn’t yet the turn of the South to occupy the office of the President; a throwback to the debate on zoning within the ruling PDP which ought to have ended with the general elections last year.
At the height of that debate last year, a chieftain of the Northern Leaders Political Forum, NPLF, Alhaji Adamu Ciroma had threatened that the North would make the country ungovernable if Jonathan emerged victorious from the presidential elections.
That remark was indeed treasonable; there is no doubt that it was made to test the waters of the Jonathan Presidency. When Jonathan eventually won the election which was conducted by an Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, headed by a Northerner with integrity, hell was let loose.
However, the ACF and its ilk have refused to admit they are behind the Boko Haram terrorism as a fulfillment of their earlier threat. Instead, they have resorted to the North’s standard propaganda strategy: blaming victims of their insurgency as being the perpetrators.
They have blamed everybody around except themselves; they have blamed President Jonathan of sitting down while listening to people who have been ‘advertising’ for secession without arresting them.
Mr. ByLOUIS OKECHUKWU, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Abuja.