Mr President, Let’s Call In The Chadians!
By Hassan Gimba
March this year was a sad one for Chad. There was an attack on its Bohoma army base by Boko Haram terrorists. They killed more than Chadian 92 soldiers in what army officials called the insurgents’ deadliest ever attack on the nation’s forces.
A faction of Boko Haram fighters with allegiance to Abubakar Shekau, under its commander, Bakura, carried out the attack. This killing did not go down well with President Idris Deby Itno. He condemned the act, and then led his troops on a short-lived onslaught code-named “Operation Wrath of Bohoma” on both Boko Haram and ISWAP elements. The insurgents started running down to Nigeria when they sensed the Chadians were coming at them. We should have formed a wall then to mop them up. We didn’t. Sure, he gave them a bloody nose, killing over a thousand in the eight-day blitzkrieg. Even though President Deby challenged them to try again if they can, they have refused to take up the gauntlet. Since then, Chad has known peace.
Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, our Chief of Army Staff, believed he could do better than Deby. He had earlier told us that Boko Haram’s onslaughts were the last kicks of a dying horse; after all, it has long since been defeated technically. In apparent exasperation and anger, focused on decimating the horse still kicking its last, he went to face Boko Haram in their enclave. He assured us that we were not going to see him in Abuja, the nation’s capital, except with the horse’s carcass. In a picture that went viral, with a pose Rambo’s Sylvester Stallone would envy, kitted better than an American Marine, our General parachuted into (supposedly) Sambisa, the insurgent’s hole. It captured him surveying their vast enclave with the eyes of the eagle, full of fury and resolve, intent on bringing to an end the scourge. Many clapped, some heaved a sigh of relief. But I know a lot who were more amused with what they saw as theatrics.
We had pictures of Deby cooking food for his soldiers and sitting in a war council deep in the bushes. The Chadian army also released videos and photographs of captured and killed insurgents. We saw the large swath of land scorched by the heat of their fire. Well, Buratai’s soldiers too released his pictures serving meals to soldiers. The difference between our army and the Chadians was as clear as the difference between Buratai and Deby. You may think our soldiers were having an outdoor buffet in some countryside five-star hotel.
Well, it would have been OK had that mission been accomplished. A few weeks later, Buratai announced that he was going to Zamfara, again saying he would not be back until he saw the tails of the bandits there. Honestly, I did not know when he left Sokoto. Still, I am aware of many events he has attended in Abuja since then. What I know is that Boko Haram is still kicking and the bandits are still out there.
But why should Buratai’s going to Borno even be an issue? In his inaugural speech on May 29, 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the military chiefs to relocate to the Northeast, the main theatre in the war on Boko Haram. According to the military, they were moving headquarters to Maiduguri, the epicentre of the insurgency, “to add impetus and renewed vigour to the fight against terrorism.” They were supposed to report there with military immediacy and stay there until victory. I am yet to come across the president’s order rescinding that order.
The Hausa man has a proverb: Ranan wanka ba a boye cibi, literally “one can’t hide one’s navel when bathing”. It means there should not be anything to hide when you want to tell yourselves the truth. Two years ago on this page, I wrote about Goodluck Jonathan and his fight against Boko Haram. You see, no one will say Ihejirika’s war but Jonathan’s, who could be said to be comfortably ensconced in the Villa.
Part of the write-up entitled Boko Haram’s Resurgence and Jonathan’s Magic Wand was: “Prior to the 2015 elections, Boko Haram had seized at least 14 local government areas from Borno and two from Yobe, all together a landmass larger than Belgium, which boasts of an area of 30,528 square kilometres.
“In page 63 of the book (Goodluck Jonathan’s Book, My Transition Hours, in which I was a member of the launching committee), former president Jonathan has written that “A short while before the election was rescheduled, Boko Haram militants had taken hold of a large cache of military grade weaponry, including Armoured Personnel Carriers from retreating Nigerian troops.
“…The group had almost five thousand fighters behind its growing effort to carve out an Islamic caliphate in the North Eastern geopolitical zone of Nigeria, around Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic borders. Tension was thus further inflamed.”
“The then president who reasoned, and rightly so, that ‘it was my duty to keep the country intact after my service and (I) was not going to let the country go into crises that could even lead to disintegration’, had to postpone the elections by six weeks, even though the opposition, Nigerians in diaspora and even the international community ‘had a different and unrealistic view of the situation’ because ‘they were focused on just the elections’.
“The former president continued on page 67: “Anyhow, the six weeks served us well. We received the military equipment we were expecting within that period and our Armed forces commendably dealt a deserving blow on the terrorists and repossessed all territorial areas of Nigeria previously occupied by the terrorists. Boko Haram was deflated up to the point I handed over to my successor on May 29, 2015.”
But the Jonathan administration was successful then because it hired a private military contractor (PMC), subtler word for mercenaries, to do the fight for it. In the same article, I quoted Eeben Barlow’s, the man who saved the situation then, assessment of the Nigerian Army. He said: “The Nigerian Army is a clone of its once-colonial master, the United Kingdom. Organized and trained to fight according to a European doctrine unsuited to a harsh and unforgiving African environment, and the terrorist threat facing Nigeria, the army was unable to withstand attacks by a mobile and manoeuvrable Boko Haram… Boko Haram’s actions instilled fear not only in the local population but also in the army units facing them. “This resulted in numerous army units being overrun and withdrawing from the engagement areas, leaving valuable equipment in their wake—equipment Boko Haram would later use in its terror campaign. Poorly trained and lacking actionable and credible battlefield intelligence, the Nigeria units facing Boko Haram were also poorly equipped, lacking in morale, and lacking both air reconnaissance and air support. This resulted in the Nigerian forces applying predictive tactics unsuitable to both the terrain and the threat…Boko Haram was able to strike at will, forcing the Nigerian Army to fight defensively with little to no battlefield initiative.
“Although…initially contracted to train a hostage-release team to rescue the Chibok girls, the mission was changed as Boko Haram’s offensive continued to gain momentum. The new mission called for the establishment of a unit that would be able to take the fight to Boko Haram—and win. This unit would become known as 72 Mobile Strike Force (MSF) and would become the spearhead for the 7 Infantry Division based at Maiduguri, north-eastern Nigeria.
“After a brief selection phase, the selected Nigerian troops were hurriedly and rigorously retrained in numerous military arts such as musketry, field-craft, combat medical aid, communications, mounted and dismounted manoeuvre, and pursuit along with the application of direct and indirect fire. Numerous doctrinal adjustments and changes were made to allow the unit to operate as an unconventional manoeuvre force that could rapidly deploy across the harsh terrain it would conduct operations in. Due to a dire situation facing the country and the looming presidential elections, STTEP was only given a two-month period in which to train and prepare the unit and with the minimum of equipment.”
And we know they delivered and elections held successfully in every part of Borno and Yobe states.
Truth be told, when this administration came on board, for reasons best known to it, it refused to retain the mercenaries. However, the momentum of their efforts continued, and we emotionally hailed the new regime as dealing with Boko Haram, forgetting who were doing the fighting.
Instead of fighting the terrorists and bandits, we now rely on excuses and cover-ups. Being the emotional people we are, we insist against the reality that all is well because we think we see in our heroes traces of the gods. From accusing some administrations of being our problems to blaming some countries, but we never look inwards and try to change things to improve. You will hear people shouting “it is France” or “Boko Haram had a pact with Chad, Chad killed them when they breached the pact”. OK, since you know of the pact signing, who should “deal” more with the insurgents? A country with a pact or that with no pact? If Nigeria had no treaty with them and they are killing our soldiers in droves, why can’t we roast them more than the Chadians? Do you think Chad would allow Auno or Zabarmari to go just like that? Some will say, in shielding incapacity, that “Chad gives them a base”. Is it not self-indicting to insinuate that Boko Haram can saunter into Nigeria from Chad unchallenged? And without a single sling-shot from the Nigerian Army, attack parts of Yobe, burn people alive in Auno, slaughter people in Bazarmari and return to Chad?
We can even be so heartless and unmindful of God that even the dead are not spared in our desperation to believe our gods are infallible. Now, the slain of Zabarbami, from not getting clearance, have become collaborators who deservedly got their right desserts. Haba!
Pride, lies, sentiments, emotions, burying our head in the sand like the proverbial ostrich aren’t going to take us anywhere. If we continue this way, we may end up with nowhere to hide. Boko Haram remains a menace, bandits and kidnappers now prowl our streets, and armed robbers rob at will. Already, travelling by road is at significant risk.
Our mentality is such that we would not talk of “sovereignty” were America or Israel to come to our aid. But we should come down from our high horse if we do not want our “sovereignty” taken by brigands. We should contract Chad to come in and help while we form a wall to stop them (Boko Haram) from escaping into the country. Or else we call in the mercenaries.
Mai Mala Buni: Independence of Political Diplomat And Consensus Builder
Mai Mala Buni: independence of Political Diplomat And Consensus Builder
By Sadiya Shelleng Hussaini
Change presents humanity with a confounding paradox. Whereas change is constant and inevitable it forebodes a vague sense of unease. Fear of the unknown taunts the nerves of even the valorous of men. Men of destiny however prepare for change, meeting it at the doorstep with secure pace .June 25,2020 was Nigeria’s governing party –APC’s date with fate, a day of a dramatic change of baton and democratic transition of powers from the ruling Oshiomole led national working committee to Mai Mala Buni caretaker/convention planning committee.The date may have caught some clay footed but quite a handful had no illusion as their mandate was terminated through “doctrine of necessity ” to curtail the crisis that bedeviled the party.
The hype and political intrigues that have characterised the tenure of Adam Oshiomole led National Working Committee of the All Progressive Congress (APC) would not come as a surprise to political pundits. Being the governing party and one which prides itself as the largest growing political party in Africa, the successful transition of the party to a new leadership portends a lot for the polity and the 2023 permutations.
Following the leadership tussle, that consumed the immediate past leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC, leading to the constitution of a caretaker/convention planning committee under the leadership of Yobe state Governor Mai Mala Buni, as part of move ahead the party requires everyone amongst its members and supporters to reflects on what should be the best for the future of the party.
Taking cognizance of the renewed support for our great party from the ordinary citizens of Nigeria as evidenced in the recently conducted elections , massive membership registrations across the country and ward congresses with leaders of the party largely emerging through consensus. It has shown clearly that even Nigerians believe that our party, APC remains the only party that can restore the country to the path of sustainable peace, progress, national unity and economic prosperity.
Therefore, the party now more than any other time, requires a courageous, fearless, thoroughbred politician, committed party man and patriotic personality who understand the political history of the country as well as dynamics of the APC, its antecedents since its creation.
Yobe State governor ,Mai Mala Buni has put the party on sound foundation as demonstrated by his political pedigree and diplomatic approach in managing the party affairs. The history of Buni’s political struggle has proved his extraordinary tenacity in Nigerian politics.
Based on the foregoing, Mai Mala Buni standout based on his 14 months score card as the Caretaker Commitee Chairman of the party. Opinions across the country among party leaders and stakeholders indicate a thunderous applause on the APC CECPC for resetting the party back to glory days.
Depicting the sound attributes of a great leader, the two -time APC scribe a highly detribalized, humble, focused, amiable and thoroughbred personality with good sense of direction. These are the qualities he is applying now to take the APC out of the doldrums.
He is man that is naturally loved and admired by the people; a democrat and pivot of mass mobilization; a man who achieves greatness through assiduousness, self -will and sheer determination; a good listener; a man that remains unruffled even at the height of unwarranted intimidation and provocation; a man with critical thinking-skills. He is a strong advocate of unity, peace and progress of our great country, Nigeria. He believes in mega- changes in the social, economic and political sectors and theses must be driven by the current generation of Nigerians.
Within his 14 month on the saddle of the party, Hon Buni has clearly demonstrated to Nigerians that APC will certainly form the next government and entrench party supremacy, internal democracy, party cohesion and internal harmony among elected officials and the party.
There is no doubt that his legacies shall remain eternal source of inspiration for many generations to come. APC on his assumption as the Caretaker Chairman had 64 senators then now has over 70. He has also made three PDP governors throw away the umbrella and his broom. This is not the end on his yeomen duties he is working hard to bring in more serving and former governors, legislators and top party chieftains from the opposition.
President Muhammadu Buhari recently said the All Progressives Congress (APC) has been revived, energized and repositioned for its national convention and future elections, while commending the National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) led by Governor of Yobe State, Malam Mai Mala Buni.
Speaking at the APC CECPC meeting at the State House, the President said the fortunes of the party had been brightened by the re-organisation and reconciliation of members across the party, saying “with the work done by the committee the party has bounced back to life.’’
“I have listened with great interest the remarkable job you have done so far,’’ he said. “We are all witnesses to the crisis that engulfed the party leading to litigations and presented a picture of selfishness and division.’’
One cannot but wonder from which source he drives his rare aggressive energetic zeal and tenacity, in solving party matters within a snap of a finger. To borrow the words of the classical Greek writer Homer, he is both a speaker of words and doer of deeds. Despite the monumental achievement of Hon Mai Mala some forces are bent on dragging his name twist to a supreme court judgment to rubbish the achievement,let me warn them that the Yobe State Governor Hon Mai Mala Buni who doubles as Chairman National Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) will have the last laugh and would hand over party affairs after a successful national convention .
Shelleng wrote in from Yola .
Who is Afraid of Gov. Buni?
Who is Afraid of Gov. Buni?
For very obvious reasons, the successes recorded by the Caretaker Committee of the All Progressives Congress in repositioning the party and massive defection of prominent figures into the party mean different things to different people.
There are those who celebrated the party bouncing back to life, others didn’t like the giant strides of the committee, while others who feel threatened by the reconciliation and coming of new members also felt bad.
For the opposition party, it was its most trying moment after loosing three serving governors to APC and still counting. The Caretaker committee under Governor Mai Mala Buni, has remained PDP’s most terrible nightmare.
The interpretation of the Supreme Court Judgement on the Ondo state governorship election by the Hon. Minister of state for Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo, generated some arguments. However, Keyamo’s postulation now in public court, has attracted a lot of arguments in support and against.
The provisions of Section 183 of the Constitution as amended which forms Keyamo’s arguments, has been defined by other learned gentlemen clearing ambiguities.
Deputy Senate President, Keyamo’s kinsman and legal colleague, Senator Omo Agege, took time to define the said section 183 of the Constitution, making it clear, unambiguous, unequivocal and in explicit terms.
According to Omo-Agege, “From the explicit provision of Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), it is absolutely impossible and untenable to argue that the provisions of Section 183 bars a Governor from being a Chairman or member of a Caretaker Committee set up by his or her political party. More so, the position of the Chairman of a Caretaker Committee cannot by any sense of imagination, logic or simple common sense be classified as a being a salaried Executive office.
“There is no law under our legal jurisprudence that bars or prohibits a Governor who is a member of a political party and won elections under the political party from carrying out specific assignments on-behalf of his party. How this will amount to holding an Executive office is beyond every stretch of human comprehension.
“In the light of the foregoing exposition, it is humbly and firmly stated that Section 183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) only bars a Governor from holding Executive positions like being a Minister, or any other executive positions for which he shall be paid for. It does not by any scintilla of imagination, render the appointment of Governor Bumi as APC Caretaker Committee Chairman incompetent and will not in anyway, affect the legality or competence of the APC scheduled Congresses” he argued.
Chief Adeniyi Akintola, Counsel to APC in a press conference opined “let me make this clear: this isn’t the first time we would be having minority judgements. A minority judgement has no value. You can’t cite it as the authority. It has no effect”
He cited “In 2008, Abubakar Atiku versus Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, there was minority judgements given by Justice George Oguntade, Justice Walter Onoghen and one other justice while Justice Niki Tobi delivered the majority judgement. So, there has always been precedence.
“There is no value attributed to minority judgement. So, what happened yesterday isn’t strange. So we are worried that some lawyers are attaching value to it”.
It is pertinent to note that, the APC constitution is very conscious of such critical circumstances and it made a clear declaration in article 17 (iv) which states
“No officer in any organ of the party shall hold executive position office in government concurrently”. Therefore the party couldn’t have been careless in handling this matter.
However, in a very politicised country like Nigeria, other factors came in to define section 183 of the constitution.
MEMBERSHIP REGISTRATION AND REVALIDATION EXERCISE
The membership registration and revalidation exercise of the party which has accommodated new and more members seem to have threatened others who are not comfortable with the new converts and returnees. They feel their positions would be taken over by the new converts. They opposed the registration, attempted sabotaging the process and now fighting the party leadership. The membership registration and revalidation exercise opened the party to many members who were hitherto refused membership. Prominent members who claimed ownership of the party lost the acclaimed ownership of the party.
Local politics between stakeholders of who controls the party in the state came into play. The conflict of personalities between Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, Ministers and other stakeholders had also manifested in who controls the party in the state. Unfortunately those who lost out are blaming Governor Buni for their trivial and now fighting back. They also define Section 183 to mean “Buni must go”.
For instance, the personality clash between Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo Agege and the Minister of state Labour Barr Festus Keyamo in Delta, Sen. Ngige and Sen. Andy Uba in Anambra, Zamfara state Governor Bello Mutawalli and former Governor Abdul Azeez Yari.
ALLIAMCE WITH PDP
Recent discoveries by the party revealed that some desperate party members seeking to contest positions are liaising with the opposition to discredit the leadership, the party structure and all other processes.
It is also worrisome if all the barrage of legal luminaries now interpretering the Supreme court judgement, could not realize any lacuna in the constitution of the Caretaker committee this all the while except now, 13 months after, then, something must be fundamentally wrong with their patriotism and commitment to serve the government rand the party, honestly and creditably.
PDP CRYING MORE THAN THE BEREAVED
PDP is crying more than the bereaved. The party seem to have developed more interest than APC members. They have temporarily forgotten their problems to fight on behalf of other members of APC. The reason for this poke nosing into the affairs of others, is not far fetched. The Buni led Caretaker committee in the last 13 months had deflated the PDP, subtracting three governors along with hundreds of thousands of their supporters from PDP. The Buni committee has no doubt made PDP very jittery and vulnerable.
Who is afraid of Governor Buni?
Tunji Disu: The Making of a New Super Cop
Tunji Disu: The making of a new Super Cop
By: James Bwala
Yesterday I posted a story from the Press Release issued by the Force PRO, CP Frank Mba. As I go through the story this morning, I said to myself indeed a chapter has closed never again would Abba Kyari come back to this position even if at the end of the matters that matter at this moment of his life and career defines him innocent of the allegations as indicated by the US agency – The FBI.
Kyari was a super cop who receives acculiat and praises from men who loves and hates him on the line of duty even as truth about their friendship is being exposed by the predicament he found himself whether guilty or not guilty. The Kyari saga has further plunge the unity of this country in questions with regional inclinations and expressions from the current situation butterfilling both the traditional and social media.
Nigerians massively are hypocrites. But there are still few ones who a still holding the truth as would a pastor and his Bible even if their position was a negative one. For the first time I came to agree 100 % with a senior colleague, Malam Yakubu Ahmed BK over his write up on DCP Abba Kyari. I mean without reservations – religious, regional, ethnic or when he falls on the political side. I had had reservations on most of his piece base on either of these but not this one.
Kyari has guffed. That is the right words but we are not bringing him into judgement knowing that to err is human and to forgive is devine as we said always in Nigeria. However, we do not know how the Americans defines this in their terms. Hushpuppi is caged and he is already vomiting. If he had been caged here in Nigeria, we have herbs that can stop him from vomiting but the white man has his laboratory to test, experiment and bring out result. So is the case with Kyari our one time super cop.
Whether as Nigerians we like what is happening or not the FBI has spoken. Our IGP has responded and Kyari is waiting for fate. If the gods have mercy on him, he may yet have some years to wear the uniform and redeemed himself in another capacity serving the nation, else a chapter on his career as a Police Officer is close and we salute him.
As I was going through my Facebook page, I come across a piece of writing where the writer was so exposing the sentiment of the southwest region over the suspension of Kyari and appointment of Tunji Disu. The write up reads in part:
“Patriotic Oduduwa blooded TUNJI DISU, takes over as head of IRT from Super cop Abba Kyari who was suspended for proper investigation.”
Patriotic was Abba Kyari when he was holding sway as every hand was clapping while he leads his team. These are the kind of songs Nigerians like to sing for occupants of dreaded and fearful position to do and to undo. If I were Disu, I will begin to count my enemies from this point because these same songs were sang by people like these ones to Abba Kyari and the same people are mostly behind the songs he is now hearing on his way to sit before the investigation panel.
It continuous: “Disu was respected/real national asset Jagaban’s ADC when he was Lagos state governor as such the blood that flaws from his professional veins is that of nationalism & patriotism.”
That is it! I now see the political game in play. Indeed as the writer says we shall
collectively, effectually and fervently offers prayers for Tunji Disu to succeed. But the questions is that, would Disu be Pariotic and Nationalistic in his dealings with Nigerians as head of Police Intelligence Team knowing the hand that has pushed his rising? would he be apolitical coming from the political strings? Indeed he needs much prayers but his first move will determine our prayers either to pray more lifting or cry to the Almighty to deliver Nigerians from the Pharaoh who place their moles in places as monitoring spirits over Nigeria.
- James Bwala is a Nigerian Journalist and writes from Maiduguri
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