By BOLAJI O. AKINYEMI
A sound of joy”, hew cry, or owl’s hooting at night? Whatever the case; the menace of Boko Haram and its attendant consequences is the reason for the sound it is or the noise it constitutes. The deed of a Muslim/Muslim ticket is done, evil or good as it may seem to individuals depending on the side of the divide to which they belong.
The narrative re-engineering to turn it around for intellectual conviction and political acceptability is already in motion!
Boko Haram was designed for political advancement by those who were strategic enough to plan for the future in the light of their ambitions; they fashioned a political tool for 2015 and beyond!
The Fourth Estate of the Realm was blinded and the fifth was bought with Greek gifts and contracted for the conspiracy against our country through propaganda. They sold fundamentalists on the ticket of a party formed with wrestling power as the sole aim without the masses at heart. Same persons, in their usual arrogance, have come to town to say to hell with the Fourth Estate of the realm!
Their impression that the media and its practitioners aren’t needed in the dynamics of 2023 elections has been sounded! Time mustn’t be WASTED in media engagements. All true media practitioners should be content with saving the integrity of the profession than being enmeshed in politicking! Time to speak and write the truth and nothing but the truth is now!
I had the rare privilege of a conversation with General Henry Ayoola (rtd), at the “Meet the Church Conference” powered by Nigeria National Christians Coalition; he left me with an impression that birthed this article. Let me paraphrase: those analyzing our situation and expanding fallacies that enriches propaganda of the oligarchy and not facts of our unfortunate situation that can bring healing through understanding and sincerity of purpose, are destroying the fibers that hold the country together as one!
Truth heals and we all must step out of our lines of divide to seek it. We can’t be ONE as a nation except we are first ONE as a people.
I am therefore compelled to take us back on a trip for truth to pre- 2015 to better appreciate where we are in the schemes of the Oligarchy against the rest of us under the guise of religion, so we can find our way back to the path of nation building.
In 2014, Nigerians were ignorant of the strategic use of Boko Haram to wrestle power. Let’s take a look at the three geopolitical zones in the North: The North-Central, the North-East, and the North-West.
In the North-Central states of Benue, Kwara, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger and Plateau, we are likely to have a population demography of 55:45% Christian-Muslim population if census is properly taken. The North-East also has a substantial number of Christians. Taraba where I have done intensive Apostolic work is 70% Christians, 30% Muslim, reason a Muslim has never won governorship election there. This peculiarity must not fan bigotry either sides; for same reason, a Christian has never won the governorship seat in Kastina.
Adamawa is about 55% Christians and 45% Muslim. Borno has about 35% Christians concentrated in Southern Borno. In Gombe, we have a 55:45 divide in the population in favour of Muslims.
Religion has never been an issue in the politics of South-West until the advent of APC and their religious card, hidden in the open but known to all in their inner circle.
The states in the North-East where we have Muslims in majority are Yobe, Borno and Bauchi, even though there are also a reasonable percentage of indigenous Christians in those states. Chibok where over 200 mostly Christian girls were abducted will prove the point for Borno and the federal constituency of Bogoro, Dass and Tafawa Balewa where the first Prime Minister hailed from, which elected the country’s gift of one of the most intelligent Speakers of the Federal House till date in Yakubu Dogara, furthers same point.
Please, do remember that Boko Haram has been operating before 2014, but that year, the strategic purpose of Boko Haram became their operational focus as the election was drawing nearer in the period between 2012 and 2014!
In April 2013, Sokoto hosted the first ever Muslim League Conference on the shore of Africa. There were people in that meeting who can confirm that a lot of what played out in 2014 and 2015 were informed by the discussion at that meeting, which took a look at Northern Nigeria in view of power shift.
The three times Buhari contested for Presidency, and he failed; he failed because the Northern Christian votes were neutralising the votes of Northern Muslims. In the bid of the Northern Oligarchy to have power back, it was concluded that there is no way they can win any election in Nigeria if nothing strategic was done!
They reasoned this of course was the basis Obasanjo was able to win in 2003 without the North-West. The same with Jonathan in 2011.
How do we dislodge the Christian votes from the North, this worshipper of power must have asked? Please, permit my extremism! An average Nigerian politician is someone without human conscience and God consciousness, Christian or Muslim they are the same. The pagans among them seem to fare better.
The demography of Christian votes in the North-East and what it constitutes against their personal power agenda is where the problem lies. The sentimental votes of Northern Christians was the game changer. Not minding claims about the South-West voting for Buhari as the reason for his winning the election, this can’t be true!
Buhari’s margin of votes against Jonathan in the South-West in 2015, should confirm my assertion. So what happened?
They took a look at the North and came up with Boko Haram as a political strategy to decimate the North-East and curry the sentiment of North-West states on religious ground; Kano is predominantly Muslim; Kastina, Jigawa, Zamfara and Sokoto are all predominantly Muslims.
The only two states in the North-West where you have a substantial number of Christians is in Kaduna and Kebbi.
Realising they don’t have a problem with the North-West, the masses there will keep voting for them once they can keep the narrative skewed to religion.
Coming to the North-East, there are three states with strong Christian populations and at that time, Boko Haram was already operating in the North-East; so they adopted Boko Haram as their foot soldiers to push a religious-political ideology, same way Odua People’s Congress was fashioned to push a social-cultural political ideology and IPOB an ethno-political agenda, religion is the yearning of the North, culture that of the Yorubas and ethnic identity and recognition the plight of the Igbos in a nation where they are terribly marginalised. Politicians therefore have found right package for their products among the three major tribes.
Boko Haram started taking over local governments in 2014; why wait till 2014? The problem of Boko Haram attacking states institutions, started in 2009, when President Yar’Adua (a Muslim but not fundamentalist) ordered the demolition of their centre in Maiduguri.
From 2009 to 2013, they never took over any local government. It was in 2014 they started taking over local governments. Why? How did they become so strong suddenly? It was the Northern politicians, from all political divide that looked away and enabled the growth of the cancerous ideology. All that the Directorate of State Security needs to do is due diligence to save this country by profiling the activities of Northern politicians and their Southern collaborators over the period under review. It was not a one- party thing.
They all came together and pushed Boko Haram to the level of a national challenge it has become. In Borno, Boko Haram went into operation to fulfill the desires of their political pay masters. They took Gwoza Local Government, Damboa Local Government; they took also Chibok Local Government with the entire Federal constituency within their grip. At the end of their onslaught, a total of five local governments in Borno state were under the control of Boko Haram.
Imagine! Local governments with predominant Christian population were down under Boko Haram control. With about 2.5 million Christians displaced in those Local Governments. They progressed in their conquest down to Adamawa North, which is next to Borno south. They took out about five local governments in Adamawa North; so the total number of Christians displaced were over three million!
Dr Akinyemi, a farmer, teacher and author is also the President of Voice Of His Word Ministries in Lagos, Nigeria.