By Rotimi Fasan
This is not about President Goodluck Jonathan. But you also cannot discount his input in it. The fact of his own connection, that he is president at this material time in the history of Nigeria, must have a part to play in the mindless direction the country seems to be heading in terms of the security of life and property in Nigeria as a whole, and the North East in particular.
If this was about somebody else, perhaps things would be vastly different from what they are today. Yet one cannot deny the fact that there is a great world of nonsensical happenings going on in this country, beginning with the government in Abuja, right now.
How else can one explain, much less understand, the confusing and confused talk about a so-called ceasefire agreement between the Jonathan administration and the accursed insurgents that are daily bringing misery to citizens of this country in different parts of the North East? Without anyone’s prompting, this government announced a peace deal had been brokered between it and the insurgents.
The deal was partly aimed at bringing back well over 250 school girls taken captive last April by the religious outcasts in the North East. At the time the government made this ill-advised ceasefire announcement, it appeared to be having the upper hand in its unending fight with the terrorists in Sambisa and the outer wilderness of the Nigerian-Cameroonian border. It all appeared then that that ceasefire talk, if ever there was any truth in it, must have been agreed to by the insurgents in full awareness that they were losing ground.
A thinking government would, one would imagine, be wary of such peremptory readiness by the insurgents to talk peace after spurning such efforts for the best part of four years or more. It gave no cautionary sign of suspicion that could save it from losing face in the event the insurgents disowned the ceasefire, as they have since done. But Abuja went into overdrive immediately it announced the ceasefire even when there was no corresponding statement of agreement from the insurgents or their representatives. Which would be okay provided it was also prepared to continue with the battle should the situation demand it.
But no, this government was ecstatic and just fell short of declaring a holiday to celebrate an agreement that should have been more welcomed by the killer group that was justly losing ground. All Nigerians were thereafter told was that talks were going on in Chad. Yet, on the basis of this mirage the Federal Government of Nigeria under the leadership of President Jonathan, unilaterally suspended hostilities in a battle it was for the first time taking the lead.
After a long period of serial whacking that resulted in cowardly and unsoldierly behaviours by its field commanders, it cannot be asking too much to expect Abuja to capitalise on its little gain. But no, it wanted a ceasefire nobody, not even the insurgents, seemed to be interested in.
And before we knew what was happening, the so-called ceasefire had been unceremoniously breached. Could the announcement of a ceasefire, unilaterally, without any assurances that it would be observed by the insurgents be yet another instance of sabotage from within Jonathan’s own government? What does the President know about this so-called ceasefire before it was announced and the worthless talk that reportedly followed it in Chad?
For how long had Abuja been negotiating the peace deal, and to what extent were the chances high that it would sail through before it was announced and cessation of hostility announced? Or is this government so naïve, so bereft of ideas that it could not even tell when a deal could be said to have been reached with a murderous horde long said to have broken into splinter groups with different field commanders? Indeed, which of these groups was the government talking to?
What is the true fact about the leader of the insurgents that was allegedly killed in battle by Nigerian (or is it Cameroonian) troops? Is this mad dog still alive or dead? Didn’t the military say it was investigation the claim that the coward was alive even after claiming to have killed him in battle? Where is the engine room of this government or its military? Who is responsible for what the Jonathan government gives out as news to Nigerians?
Where is the coordination in the activities of this government if weeks after announcing a ceasefire the insurgents have taken more towns, killed more people and taken more girls captive than even the hundreds taken last April? What type of false hope does this government continue to give Nigerians and the displaced people of Yobe, Mubi and other places now under effective occupation by insurgents?
At the time the government of Goodluck Jonathan stubbornly pretends it is in negotiation with the terrorists up north, more towns have been taken over and the government of Yobe has shut down all schools. Are the insurgents not achieving their aim of a world without books or anything of the intellect?
How many girls have been raped, married or sold off into slavery since the abduction of the Chibok girls this government says it is bent on bringing back? When, and if, it does bring back the Chibok girls, what would this government consider its gain when far more girls have been either married or sold off to interested persons in different parts of the world?
When all 250 girls taken in April are brought back (which doesn’t seem possible anymore), would this government be congratulating itself on the one thousand or more girls that have been abducted in their wake? Would President Jonathan consider it achievement when eventually his government succeeds in bringing back 250 girls but lost four or five times that more girls?
There does not seem to be any sense of organisation in the activities of this present administration. Things are done without any sense or projection of its likely consequences. There does not appear to be a centre or what one might call the control room of this administration. Everybody does what seem best to them and only offer explanation where such is deemed necessary only after the fact. If any ceasefire is eventually agreed upon between this government and the insurgents in the North East, it would not be as a consequence of the announcement made by Abuja a couple of weeks ago. On that very agreement, Abuja has again shown itself up as naïve, weak and at once lacking any sense of direction. It is bad enough that it is failing in protecting Nigerians. To add to that the claim of a non-existent ceasefire agreement is an unnecessary insult.