The Road to Nigeristan, by Hassan Gimba
In Part 3 of the film ‘Rambo’, there was a scene where the character Rambo, played by Sylvester Stallone who became an instant megastar after he debuted in the film ‘Rocky’, discussed with his Afghan guide. He was supposed to infiltrate a Russian military camp in Afghanistan to rescue some detainees. Each on horseback, Rambo and his supposed Afghan helper, played by Sasson Gabai, an Israeli born in Baghdad, had a brief chat that encapsulates the Afghan spirit.
Mousa Ghani, the stage name for Gabai, in faltering English told Rambo: “This is Afghanistan; Alexander the Great tried to conquer this country, then Genghis Khan, then the British, now Russia, but Afghan people fight hard; they never be defeated. Ancient enemy make prayer about these people, you wish to hear?” And Rambo, laconically answered “Uhm”. Ghani continued, “Very good, it says: ‘May God deliver us from the venom of the cobra, teeth of the tiger and vengeance of the Afghans’… understand what this means?” And Rambo answered back: “That you guys don’t take any s**t.”
Russia, or rather the behemoth Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), had a taste of the resilience and doggedness of the Afghans. The USSR, before being broken into its current 15–nation independent states, invaded Afghanistan on 24 December 1979 but left on 15 February 1989. In those nine years, one month, three weeks and one day of fighting with the Mujahideen (read Taliban), christened the Soviet-Afghan war, between 6.5 and 11.5 percent of the Afghan population, or between 562,000 and 2,000,000, perished. However, by the time the Soviets sounded the Nunc dimittis, the Afghans had bled them irreparably and, with the benefit of hindsight, that war sounded the death knell for the world superpower.
There is this folklore about the founder of the Afghan nation and a deer that showcases the valour and loyalty of the people. A wounded deer, according to the myth, fled from its hunters, human or wildlife predators, and then came and stood or hid behind this Afghan sitting around the many caves dotting the landscape. The Afghan stood and fought off the deer’s traducers rather than allowing it to be taken. He believed the animal had come to him for refuge and his courage and sense of responsibility made him stake his life for it.
Being an era of the Cold War, it was a proxy war in which America, China, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom backed the Mujahideen against the USSR. All the countries, including Russia, have a sort of disdainful respect for the Afghans. They may look and behave like people out of the Stone Age, but one thing you cannot deny them is their prowess and doggedness, resilience and stamina to fight forever. America, in its haughtiness, looked down on them and now they have run away, their tails between their legs. They have realised the hard way, just as the Soviets found out 30 years ago, that the Afghanis take no s**t.
Beyond the fleeing of the Americans, some believe that it was a deliberate act. Seeing that in their first coming, the Talibans, a puritanical Sunni Sufi sect, were harsh on almost every Muslim with a different view; they thought they will be an antidote to the “Iranian problem”. And why they “flee” leaving behind all their war arsenals now in the hands of the Talibans.
By the way, the Talibans were allies of the US in the war against the USSR in the 80s. They were trained, equipped and funded by America to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan as a proxy. The dispute between them arose because of Osama Bin Laden. The US demanded the Talibans to hand him over to them on the allegation of being the mastermind of the 9/11 attack. But the Talibans, the bloodline of the Afghan who refused to give up on the deer seeking his protection, refused to cooperate. America attacked them and, to save Kabul from destruction, they gave up power and melted into the mountains and valleys and caves of Afghanistan from where they haunted their former ally.
But if that is what the Americans thought-that the Talibans will fight Iran for them-then they may have the shock of their lives. Even the adherents of the Sunni Wahhabi, the root of all the Islamic terrorist organisations in the world, are getting weary of fighting other Muslims with different worldviews. Muslims all over the world are now of the view that they should unite for a peaceful world and the benefit of humankind.
Is there any lesson for us in Nigeria to glean from the happenings in Afghanistan? Yes, a lot for sure. We have said it frequently here that for us to develop, we have no option than to remain as one. I have said it and I am repeating it now: The best time for each of us to go his way was in 1966. By now, perhaps, we would all have been independent nationalities, each with its peculiar problems and prospects. But now, it is too late. None of the six geopolitical zones can survive outside Nigeria. Boko Haram, bandits, insurgents, militants, etc, would overwhelm us all. Even the Igbo nation cannot stand on its own if left to form Biafra. We are not doing anyone but ourselves any favour by sticking together.
Referring to the Capitol Hill riot by pro-Trump white supremacists, Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times of China in a tweet mocked that “Chinese netizens joked that the power transition in Afghanistan is even smoother than the presidential transition in the US.” If we turn our back on the only country we have, the takeover of the fragmented parts will not be as smooth as the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan.
Even though the Boko Haram insurgency appears to be getting to an end, the truth is if turmoil overtakes Nigeria, the chances that the insurgents will roll out their “caliphate” and become the lords of the north-east are high. After all, the soldiers fighting them will now all be disorganised, and lose the will to fight, not knowing for which country to fight for.
The north-west and north-central probably may go to the bandits and herdsmen who could easily be tempted to join hands with Boko Haram–if they are not under their control already. Already, the bandits are dictating events and even government policies, and have forced some states to close schools.
The southeast may witness fights between groups clamouring for dominance. The group with the most arms and daredevil members may triumph after protracted warfare. People like Ekweremadu hobnobbing with secessionists know deep down that in Biafra, they cannot dream to be what they are in Nigeria. The discerning from the southeast also knows that the upheavals to be witnessed in their zone with Nigeria’s dissolution are better imagined than witnessed.
The number one lesson to learn from the Afghanistan issue is that no foreign power can sustain a government that cannot identify with the people. All causes of discontent and grievances must be revisited and solved by the governments.
The world surely took the Taliban for granted the first time, but perhaps this second time around. Three weeks ago people thought, how can a force of barely 75,000 defeat an American-trained, well-equipped army numbering 300,000? However, it is not the number of military personnel or their weapons that make them triumphant; it is the will, the morale to fight. We should never take agitations for granted.
For a long time in Nigeria we have let culprits off the hook, if arrested at all, or given a slap on the wrist. I recall a case of one Nigerian reverend, Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, called Reverend King, who was sentenced to death in 2007 by the Supreme Court for murder after a protracted court case. He is still kicking and having a hold over his congregation. His members, who call him “Daddy and God”, celebrated this man recently with 17 full-page colour adverts in Thisday newspaper.
How will the family of Ann Uzoh, his church member, that he doused with petrol and set on fire, feel? Has Nigeria served them justice? How will the people of General Alkali, killed and cannibalised in Dura-Du, Jos, feel with his killers roaming about free? When will there be justice for Bola Ige with his slayers still as free as the harmattan breeze? Very many cases of injustice abound in the country. Some are small, some are big; some against the individual and some against the state. They have all been untreated and cumulatively, they are not allowing us as a nation to sleep.
We must resolve today not to let any injustice or infringement of any law, small or big, go unpunished. Justice must be done and seen to be done. What is the justification for not prosecuting so-called, surrendered Boko Haram members coming out without their weapons, who knowingly took up arms against the state, slaughtered fellow humans and destroyed, to the point of extinction, their communities? How can tomorrow’s criminal-minded be deterred if today’s criminals are not punished?
What will an IDP whose child has not been educated by the government say when the same government freely educates the child of the man who burnt down the school his child was attending? How would I feel when the government has not compensated me for my house burnt by Boko Haram in Potiskum, but they are building houses for the men who burnt mine?
What will the people of those slaughtered by Boko Haram think when the slaughterer of their son, father, brother or husband is forgiven to roam about town as a free man? How will the soldiers and widows of soldiers whose colleagues and husbands were killed feel when the killers are given amnesty?
By the way, who is the forgiver of such heinous crimes against humanity? God? The Constitution? The people affected? We should not sow seeds that will germinate future Frankenstein monsters.
For us as a people, Afghanistan is a pointer that it will be wise for all parties to sheathe their swords and extend the hand of concord, friendship, and understanding to one another. We cannot afford to allow Boko Haram, bandits, secessionists, militants, ethnic supremacists and rabble-rousers to run roughshod over us and our territories..
A well deserved leadership & The Sun Awards For Mai Mala Buni
A WELL DESERVED LEADERSHIP & THE SUN AWARDS FOR MAI MALA BUNI
By Abba Dukawa
The hallmark of a great leader is not measured in Castle and materials, but in ability to groom and lead successful discipline. The caretaker committee under Gov. Buni had regained the party and made it stronger and able to put the party back on track by addressing all the grievances that, in the first place, brought it to its knees.
Preceding to June 2020,there was euphoria from other oppositions politicians camps and even some political analysts were writing off that governing All Progressives Congress (APC) party was on the brink of either serious leadership crisis or party might be in its last days. But like a miracle the parry found a lasting solutions by dissolution of then National Working Committee (NCW), led by Adams Oshiomhole.
The award Conferred on APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC), chairman Governor Mai Mala Buni, as a Politician of the Year at the 2021 Annual Conference and Awards Ceremony of Leadership Media Group. Also It is for other reasons that the Board of Editors of The Sun Publishing Limited chose him as winner of The Sun Political Icon of the Year Award 2020. Both the awards are marks of recognition of his led committee in retooled the ruling governing party and also a convincible pointer and a well deserved award on this humble grassroot politician in addition a morale booster to serve Yobeans and the country at large.
Reassessing the emerging success recorded by National Chairman APC Caretaker/ Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) in rebuilding the APC in line with the CECPC’s core mandate: to engender unity in the party, promote true reconciliation and give a sense of belong- ing to every party member. At the inception of the committee he had met Party national leaders like Chief Bisi Akande, John Oyegun and Tinubu and other aggrieved members toward restoring crisis-ridden ruling party back to life.
His uncommon dispute-resolution skills have paid off, with many formerly aggrieved members withdrawing and terminating many litigations involving the party. This efforts have put the party on the path of greatness again. Governor Buni’s CECPC led the party to unprecedented nationwide membership registration, revalidation and register update, to shore up the party’s membership and support- base nationwide.
HMB’s efforts have also resulted in three PDP governors comprising Ebonyi State (David Umahi), Cross River State (Ben Ayade) and Zamfara State Bello Matawalle) decamping to the ruling party, prominent politicians return the APC, including the former PDP national chairman, Barnabas Gemade; former speakers of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and Dimeji Bankole, former governor of Ogun State, Gbenga Daniel, Senator Joy Emordi, Senator Stella Oduah and recently one most critical to the APC led administration Fani Kayode joint the party.
In Buni’s led committee, the ruling governing party found a peace Regaining it soul as and was able to made the party stronger through a successful drive of hard work, building through peace reconciliation trait. HMB reconciliation drive save the party from being a divided party. APC witnessed gale of defection to the party, from its closest rival, the Peoples Democratic Party governors, federal and states legislators and other influential political leaders across the country.
In fact, HMB proved himself as a huge asset to the ruling governing party and the country that his three decades experience in politics are giving the party a sense of directions as National Caretaker and Extra-ordinary Convention Committee members acts together in ensuring party discipline, and cohesion are made sacrosanct and are imbibed by members by high and low.
This Piece Is To Celebrate With Strategist , Grassroot Politician And A Great Achiever Of Transforming Socioeconomic And Infrastructural Development Of Yobe And Also Leadership Newspapers Award Conferred On
Governor Buni’s As “politician Of The Year 2020 Of The 2021 Annual Conference And Awards Ceremony Of Leadership Media Group And Also Political Icon Of The Year Award 2020 Of The Sun Publishing Limited.
Dukawa write in from Kano and can be reached at email@example.com
Of Bigmen’s Children, Boko Haram And An Unholy War, By Hassan Gimba
Of Bigmen’s Children, Boko Haram and An Unholy War, by Hassan Gimba
From the beginning, the quasi-Islamic jihadist movement with the high-sounding name, Jama’atu ahlus sunnah lidda’awati wal jihad, loosely translated to mean “People committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s teachings and jihad”, was anti-West. Many believe, albeit erroneously, that Boko Haram started in Maiduguri, Borno State, in 2002 and that the founder was Mohammed Yusuf.
The group, not with its latter-day and most known name, started in the mid-‘90s in Yusufari, Yobe State. Popularly called “Taliban” or “Sahaba”, a name derived from what the prophet’s companions are called, it comprised mostly the children of the well-to-do in the society. With white as their preferred choice of colour, they were always attired in white garments and used camels for their transportation.
They were mainly idealistic youths who opted to shun worldliness, sacrifice the flesh and nourish their souls in seeking the favour of Allah. They started romanticising a Utopian world where God does for them whatever they fancied. That was what governed their thoughts, and they concluded that the best way to achieve that was by divorcing themselves from a world filled with sin.
Most of them came from Borno and Yobe states, and being from the same social class and having met at the university, that of Maiduguri precisely, they all agreed to migrate (hijrah) to a virgin land where they would worship their God undistracted by temptations that feed the flesh and starve the soul. They chose the desert of Yusufari in Yobe, bordering the Niger Republic.
Alhaji Bukar Abba Ibrahim, a three-term governor and three-term senator, was the governor of Yobe State then. Those whose children got involved were top shots in the two states. Naturally, the Yobe State Government was concerned that ‘heirs’ were derailing and abandoning the path being paved for them. What to do? Disperse them as gently as possible, causing no harm to the prodigal children. And so the government, using the security agencies, tenderly dislodged them with each bigwig advised to rein in his ward so as not to lose his scion.
The kids sired by the elite got ferreted out of the country to Europe, America and Asia to study and, in the course, got drowned in the world. Better take the path of the world than the futureless life of asceticism they were so enamoured with, their bigshot parents in government thought.
They left those sired by the nobodies stranded with nobody to give them succour. They did not in reality do anything that may warrant the government giving them ‘amnesty’ then, but a serious society would have done something about those idealistic kids whose eyes were blazing with religious fervour. But no, society left them to their devices. And so they congregated in Maiduguri and paid allegiance to Mohammed Yusuf, who started his rise to infamy.
He, it was, that popularised the ‘Boko Haram’ (western education is sinful) mantra. ‘Boko’ stands for western education and ‘haram’ is sin in Arabic.
Most of the sect’s early adherents dropped out from western education-based schools, from primary schools to tertiary institutions. Some of those who had completed such schools tore their certificates. It became an obsession for the Boko Haramites to stop western education wherever they could.
Some measures they took included but were not limited to abducting school children, killing some of them, and burning their schools. In one such gruesome campaign, they slaughtered 59 young boys in their sleep at Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, Yobe State, on February 25, 2014. They also razed twenty-four buildings in the school.
Similarly, later in the year, on November 10, one of their suicide bombers, disguised as a student, detonated an explosive device during a morning assembly session at Government Senior Secondary School, Potiskum, in Yobe, killing 47 students and maiming 79 others, some for life.
In between the two massacres, on April 14 they hit Government Girls’ Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, and abducted 276 of the students, aged between 16 and 18 – a raid that forced the entire world to sit up and take note. Seven years have gone by and over a hundred of these girls are yet to be accounted for. Then, four years later, on February 19, 2018, there was another mass abduction of schoolgirls at Government Girls’ Science and Technical College, Dapchi, Yobe State, where about 110 schoolgirls were carried off in a strike reminiscent of Chibok. Weeks later they were released, but not before the death of five others, and returned to their town by their captors, except one Leah Sharibu, who would not accept being forcefully converted to their form of Islam. Authentic Islam frowns at forced conversion.
While the North East is daily getting free of the menace of Boko Haram, with life slowly but steadily returning to normal, it is not so for the North East and the North Central. Appendages of Boko Haram in the disguise of bandits, herdsmen and kidnappers are having a field day abducting people at will. Herdsmen’s nefarious activities, which started taking a turn for the worse in Zamfara State in 2011, are now more complementary to Boko Haram’s.
Mass abductions of pupils and students have become so commonplace in Zamfara, Kaduna, Katsina and Niger over the last two years that it is no longer ‘unexpected news’.
These brigands go to houses in towns and schools to take whoever they fancy, and whenever they want. Apart from turning kidnapping into a lucrative vocation where they rake in hundreds of millions by squeezing family members, they have forced state governments to do their bidding by shutting down schools. Some states have ceded roads and sizable portions of territory to them. Sad, but that is the reality – a sort of victory for those who believe there should not be western education.
Those who were left to their own devices when the bigshots took their kids abroad have now forced all of us to sleep with eyes wide open. They have unleashed an unholy war on all of us, the haves and the have nots. In the process, they have recruited foot soldiers in almost all sectors of society. They have their sponsors, informants, associates, suppliers and apologists among politicians and the clergy. Those that minister to them can also be found in the security sector, among students, trade unions and the business class.
Insurgency and related criminal activities have taken their toll on the North. In every society, those between the ages of 15 and 40 build it up, being the most vibrant age bracket. But those in the region’s most active age group are daily joining the increasing groups of bad eggs or spending energy running away from them.
The North has long suffered this breakdown of law and order. It has crippled the economy of the people and the people’s mainstay, agriculture, has taken a back seat because of the nefarious activities of the criminals. People in many parts of the region cannot go to their farms, and where they could, they have to pay taxes to insurgents or bandits.
As a result, revenue generated by states has fallen to an all-time low. The revenue from agricultural produce, livestock production and personal income tax, except for those in government employment, has thinned out. Many businesses – big, medium and small – have closed shop, throwing more able-bodied youth into the unemployment market, further putting stress on society and fuelling more reasons for social discontent.
Things in the North East, as earlier stated, are getting better and the current successful onslaughts recorded by our security operatives in the other parts of the region are commendable. Hopefully, the government has woken up from its inertia and has taken the bull by the horns. Nigeria looks forward to having a peaceful and secure North.
To avoid regressing to the days (of course we are not yet out but hopefully soon) of fear, Northern states must aggressively pursue all means to improve their internally generated revenues. There should not be any hypocrisy in that. I truly believe Islam forbids the consumption of alcohol. Not only that, it prohibits its production, transportation, sale, or using the proceeds of the sales. Therefore, if you are a genuine believer who destroys alcohol in your town, refusing its sale and punishing those who take it, why should you gleefully accept any money, in whatever name, from the proceeds of its sale?
By the way, do bicycles and dogs have licences anymore like we used to see decades ago? There is an increase in using bicycles with the banning of motorcycles for security reasons across the states. Northern state governors must think out of the box for their states to survive. They need to build projects, not for fancy, but those that can bring more revenue to their states. They need to open up the hinterlands and invest in education and health. A healthy, educated person will feed himself and others and can generate revenue.
I believe when all states start generating reasonable amounts of revenue, the country’s unity will be cast in concrete and guaranteed. Come to think of it, each state will have what the others need and we will look at none as a parasite because each contributes a necessary portion to the general purse.
PMB Approves Reappointment of Prof Bashir Haruna As Exe Secretary NCNE
PMB Approves Reappointment Of Prof Bashir Haruna As Exe Secretary NCNE
By Adamu Mohammed Dodo, Yola
President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the renewal of appointment of Prof Bashir H Haruna as Executive Secretary, National Commission for Nomadic Education (NCNE)
The appointment letter signed by the Hon Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, dated September 1st, 2021, explained that the appointment was for a second tenure of five years with effect from August 30, 2021.
The appointment shall be under the same terms and conditions as that of the first tenure and as stipulated in the NCNE.
Some of the staff of the Commission seen jubilating said the reappointment of Prof Bashir was a worthy development.
The National Commission for Nomadic Education, the Implementation and the delivery of the Nomadic Education Programme (NEP) were commended by the commentators to have witnessed giant strides and made landmark achievements under Prof Bashir’s first tenure of five years; from August 2016 to July 2021, which ensured the strategic planning and systematic implementation of policies and programmes of NEP, making it more responsive for the 21st century generation boost,
thereby ensuring that there is a cardinal link between goals/objectives of
NEP and implementation of key projects and programmes.
Some of the achievements of the Commission credited to Prof Bashir include; acquiring a permanent and befitting head office complex with a view to getting the Commission out of the rented building.
Gaining ministerial approval for the allocation of the Office Complex at the Defunct National Educational Technology Centre, Kaduna, in addition to being allocated 21 units of houses at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) Kaduna Study Centre.
Institutional strengthening and human capital developmen, establishment of a robust and expanded the Administrative Structure of the Commission to address emerging needs and repositioning of the Commission and improve its operational efficiency towards meeting its goals and objectives.
In response to the demand for the provision of Technical and Vocational Education and Training Skills for the nomads, new Departments of Extension Education and Skills Development and Social Mobilisation and Women Development were established, in addition to the establishment of Directorate of Special Duties under the Office of the Executive Secretary, to effectively coordinate activities of Sections and Units under the Executive Secretary’s office.
Partnership Peace and Conflict Resolution Unit was established for the promotion of peace-building and constructive engagement of the farmers and herders for improved relations and ensure effective management and amicable resolution of conflicts.
Establishment of Consultancy and Outreach Unit as part of measures to step up resource mobilisation and utilisation through the improvement of internally generated revenue base for the Commission, improvement and diversification of funding pattern for the Commission and provision of critical infrastructure and facilities under capital projects and Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) interventions.
Pioneered the conduct of Tracer Studies on the implementation of Nomadic Education Programme across the over 4,026 nomadic schools spread across the 36 states and FCT.
Revitalization of activities at Nomadic Education University Based Centres at University of Jos, University of Maiduguri, Usman Danfodio University and University of Port Harcourt.
The University of Jos centre is in-charge of Research and Evaluation for education of Nomadic Pastoralist, Usman Danfodio University Sokotocentre is responsible for Curricula and Textual Materials Development, while University of Maiduguri centre is specifically saddled with the task of Teacher Training and Outreach Services. The University of Port-Harcourt centre is in-charge of Research and Evaluation, Curricula and Textual Materials Development and Teacher Training and Outreach Services for the education of Migrant Fisher-folks and farmers.
Academic support services and quality assurance mechanism and securing approval from the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for the establishment of an AM Radio Broadcasting License (Frequency Channel 720 KHz and a bandwidth of 9KHz) for an initial period of five years from October 2018 to October 2023.
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