this is one plausible explanation for the desolate state of
political leadership in Nigeria today. Without straying too far from
the subject indicated in the title of this article, I will advise
readers to lay their hands on my book “Nigeria’s Journalistic
Militantism” for details on how the deplorable state of
journalism in Nigeria has largely translated into bad governance.
One recent case-study in this respect is the demonic onslaught of
the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram and the media handling of
the aftermath of its latest show of shame.
of the Nyanya motor-park or bus station by Boko Haram in Abuja on
April 14, 2014 has finally thrown open many more questions than had
already existed only as whispers. It has provided far lesser answers
than had existed only as murmurs.
foremost, questions on the absence of surveillance cameras have been
countered with charges of theft and contracting malpractices – a
permanent variable in the socio-political and commercial psyche at
all levels of the country. To this, there has been no viable answer
and the current dispensation is not intent on providing one.
revelation is contending that men in military uniforms were sighted
parking a vehicle that allegedly accounted for the weight of the
devastating explosion at the motor-park. There has yet been no
answer provided to this serious allegation. The following photo has
been allegedly released by military sources claiming to show the
body of a suicide bomber wearing a cabled vest that sparked the
however obvious that the body of the alleged suicide bomber is
relatively intact while the bodies of victims of the explosion some
reasonable distance away, were reportedly torn apart. There is yet
no line drawn between fact and fiction.
automatically draws the attention of every observer to more detailed
and mind-boggling issues surrounding these endless Boko Haram
atrocities. It is not lost on anyone that the terrorist group
originated from political disgruntlement amongst northern political
leaders. The short-changing of the rotational arrangement that would
have seen the Presidency returned to the North in 2015 may have
aggravated the situation as it did in 2010.
records, in 2010, the premature death of a President warranted the
ascension to the Presidency by the Vice President. This is a
customary constitutional practice all over the world. No rotational
arrangement can short-change it. Unfortunately, the northern elite
stupidly resisted this vehemently and gave the impression that it
was born to rule Nigeria. This challenged Nigerians to rise to the
defense of the oppressed Vice President and encouraged him to defy
all rotational arrangements to teach the arrogant Northerners a
lesson. The result is now a heap of presidential incompetence,
cluelessness, unintelligent leadership and inordinate ambition
topped by a lust for power beyond all scope of reasonable agreements
amongst gentlemen of fortune.
In one bold
move that many considered late and overdue, the President declared a
State of Emergency six months ago, on the stronghold territory of
terrorist operations. The move was largely praised. Unfortunately as
were many presidential decisions taken before it, this one was also
undermined by a characteristically unintelligent politicization. In
a move that was largely seen as a swipe against former President
Obasanjo, the incumbent President declared an alibi State of
Emergency that was to leave all democratic institutions intact. I
was one of very few writers who condemned this half-hearted and
uncourageous move at the time. My article
“The many Questions left
unanswered by the State of Emergency” provided all the details
that needed addressing.
however, numerous reports have surfaced, of the Nigerian military
smoking out terrorist bases and wiping away scores of suspected
fighters and their logistics, often quoting unbelievable figures.
While this is often consoling to the weary souls who pray for a
quick end to the senseless murders, they are often trailed
treacherously, by cries of atrocities against innocent civilians,
raised by leading members of the northern elite. This confusing
picture sometimes, forces a neutral observer to wonder if the
northern elite are not quite comfortable with the defeat of this
terrorist Boko Haram sect.
apparent double-posturing and voices of betrayal do not in any way
diminish the serious and valid questions raised recently by the
Governor of Adamawa State Murtala Nyako. This Governor – no matter
his antecedents – has called on his fellow northern leaders to rise
up against an alleged plot to decimate the population of the north
through willful assassinations in the name of Boko Haram. Many,
including myself, may consider this exaggerated, strange and
confusing. Yet the reasons he provided are strong, compelling and
In the very
first place, if the President believed that local political
institutions were aiding and abetting the terrorists, why was the
state of emergency not designed to also checkmate these institutions
as the constitution demands? In this show of stupidity, writers such
as the legendary Dele Momodu praised this presidential dumbness in
the guise of promoting democracy and chastising a presidential
predecessor who implemented the constitutional provision to its
letters rather than criticizing the constitution itself. Another
major failure of the media as a vanguard of public interest!
claims that men dressed in military uniform positioned a vehicle
that was detonated to kill and maim innocent citizens in Abuja and
the unbelievable image of a supposed suicide bomber, the suspicions
raised by Governor Nyako, of the complicity of the Nigerian military
with Boko Haram is merely stating aloud what many politicians have
been murmuring along several corridors in Abuja for several weeks
and months now.
ago, I reported my private findings in my article “Is Boko Haram just a Label? What Game
is playing out here?” Several months of private
interaction with Northerners from Maiduguri and other Boko Haram
stronghold states led me to just one conclusion: State complicity. I
drew attention to massive distrust of the Police and the JTF in key
northern states by members of the public whose hearts and mind must
be won to defeat the terrorists in any meaningful military strategy.
Instances were reported to me, in which ordinary citizens were
visited at home and gunned down by Boko Haram fighters shortly after
the citizens had reported the hideouts of these fighters to the
authorities. This is something we all know down south as well.
Whoever reports a robber’s or kidnapper’s den to the police often
gets killed by the same people he reported before the police comes
up to make a show of wielding Kalashnikovs and pump action guns.
has anybody provided to the daylight rampaging menace of terrorists
driving in a convoy of no less than 20 vehicles in a city that is
under emergency rule without being challenged by the military if
there is no collusion? Was this cooked up by Murtala Nyako?
terrorists attack a school and go on a killing spree for 4 hours
without soldiers coming anywhere near? Even 1 hour is enough time to
prompt a robust military response. The kidnap of over 100 school
girls from their girls’ hostel (to serve the fighters as sex slaves)
does not happen in just 5 minutes. Where was the necessary military
response? Most often checkpoints are reportedly dismantled before
the passage of terrorist fighters and remounted after the commitment
of atrocities. In a recent night raid on a military barrack, Boko
Haram terrorists were reportedly fighting using night view goggles
with the Nigerian Army left to seek them out with their naked eyes
in the poorly lighted compound of the military barrack. Yet when a
Governor cried out that the Nigerian Army was more poorly equipped
than the Boko Haram fighters, the Presidency sought the head of this
Governor for making a reckless comment. Like the government of the
day, there is no doubt that military Generals are also feeding their
pot-bellies with allocations meant for equipping the military.
Would it be
the fault of Governor Nyako if the Nigerian military is caught lying
claiming that it had freed most of the kidnapped schoolgirls and
arrested most of the kidnappers? Does this not add to the lie that
the Boko Haram leader Shekau has been killed only to see him
surfacing in videos once again? Should we blame Governor Nyako for
the military’s loss of credibility and obvious confirmation of all
the stereotypes that people have always had against it in the north?
Yet all the
President does is to let its attack dogs loose on Governor Nyako
rather than launching moves to reform the military while the battle
goes on! The responsible sense of promising to look into all these
questions and truly acting in that spirit is not President
Jonathan’s stock in trade. We now have a military taking the game of
lying (to demoralize its enemies) way too far much like the
President’s Assistant on new media (a whole Pastor) Reno Omokri
launching a smear campaign against an innocent man to score
political points. Just what Presidency does Jonathan think he is
It is no
secret that President Jonathan has long been toying with this
serious issue of Boko Haram from the very beginning foolishly
playing the politics of outsmarting political opponents. Letting
former President Obasanjo engage in vain, in efforts to nip the
project in the bud is one the President’s silly political games.
Evers since, politicians have been fingered in the Boko Haram plot.
The President has cried out of terrorists in his cabinet. Senator
Ndume has been arrested and caught red-handed. An arrested Boko
Haram leader has been fished out from a State House in Abuja. Yet no
head has rolled. No cry of helplessness has come from the President.
Then the President would visit victims on one day and go partying
and boozing the next day.
abundance of wisdom, the President does not seem to ask himself the
crucial question what it will now like if it suddenly dawns on him
to implement emergency rule in Adamawa State as demanded by the
constitution only now that Governor Nyako has spoken out the
hitherto murmured truth. That he will now look more stupid than ever
before and become a laughing stock for the Obasanjo that he had
sought to chastise if he now dismisses democratic institutions will
never occur to the infinitely intelligent President.
media is silent and pitiably complicit. There is no mass hysteria in
the newspapers and broadcasting organs calling on the government to
quit if it is not capable of protecting its citizens. The CIA, FBI,
MOSSAD or MI5 can always help him work out security blueprints if he
cried out for help. No one is crying out loud in the Nigerian media
for the government to produce just one person it has arrested and
kept languishing in jail for committing oil subsidy fraud to the
detriment of poor consumers. After all corruption and ineptitude are
at the bottom of all incompetences in Nigeria including the
military. Yet the Nigerian Vanguard came out in an Editorial today
April 22, 2014 lambasting Governor Nyako in a one-sided
consideration of facts aimed at backing the President in spite of
all signs of inefficiency and incompetence.
In the end,
we see that the government of Nigeria is only as good as the media
that the country has.
Follow me on Twitter @FriskyLarrimore, Watch out for my new book
“Africa’s Diabolical Entrapment”
Frisky Larr is author of the book “Nigeria’s Journalistic
Militantism” probing into the poor role of Journalism in Nigeria!