As the nation forges ahead in its strenuous struggle against Boko Haram insurgency with the imposition of emergency rule in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, one can confidently say that we are out of the state of seeming indecision that characterized the government’s response to the challenge of insecurity. Prior to the widely-applauded declaration of state of emergency in three states by President Goodluck Jonathan the nation was gripped with agonizing anxiety over the apparent deadly resilience of the insurgents to what was supposed to be a robust military intervention. This disillusionment spurred the concerted calls for dialogue and possible amnesty in palpable desperation.
Unfortunately, there was no reciprocal response from the insurgents who defiantly doubled their attacks in the north-east sector where they had retreated to but certainly not for surrender purposes. By the time reliable reports confirmed that up to 14 of the 27 local government areas in Borno State had practically fallen to the forces of insurgency, there could not have been any alternative to a drastic intervention to re-assert Nigeria’s sovereignty and decisively halt and eliminate the entrenched insurgents. Since the massive deployment of the military with all its arsenals to the three worst-hit states no one can deny that the battle has indeed been taken to the doorsteps of the terrorists with salutary effects on the situation.
While all these scenarios are reasonable, logical and progressive in pursuit of the national interest, it was somehow objectionable to some groups of Nigerians for reasons that are patently unpatriotic to say the least. Signs of the presence of hypocrites, blackmailers and allied refuseniks lurking around came up even before the state of emergency broadcast by President Jonathan as orchestrated opposition to the option erupted even from such unlikely quarters as the Northern Governors’ Forum. All sorts of contrived arguments were bandied about dedicated to
discouraging the government from moving in the right direction. It is to the credit of the President that he was able to execute the policy swiftly and deftly thereby earning the re-considered endorsement of the nay-sayers soon after his broadcast.
Now we know that the northern governors’ unexpected cold feet reaction was propelled by their selfish interest which was fixated on the likelihood of emergency rule ousting some of their colleagues, recalling what happened in the Obasanjo era. Others who rallied round the governors in objecting to the imposition of emergency rule must be similarly motivated. Appropriately, the majority of Nigerians who supported the imposition of emergency rule in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states have correctly concluded that the critics could not careless if the country gets overrun by the insurgents because it is so glaring that the nation was tottering on the brinks of destabilization.
Not even the pro-dialogue advocates can successfully sustain an objection to the necessity for emergency rule. The carrot of dialogue and negotiated ceasefire and even amnesty have all along been on the table but was unattractive and unproductive due to the condemnable failure of the state governors concerned to muster their supposed local clout and connection as chief security officers of their states to effectively check the deadly activities of the insurgents in their midst before everything went hay-wire. Even in pursuit of the dialogue and amnesty option the governors performed woefully and had no encouraging results to show. The case for
ousting them from office during the period of emergency rule was unassailable! As if to score another point, the President again directed for the release of all women and certain category of the insurgents to complete the circle of the carrot and stick initiative.
The inclusion of Adamawa State in the emergency rule cover was also the subject of agitated comments questioning the rationale. Even Governor Nyako who, as a retired military top shot, ought to know better went on air to express misgivings even as he had no choice but to submit to superior authority. It should not be difficult to understand that the borders of the three states now under emergency rule are strategically critical to the success of any military offensive in the areas affected, given the increasing evidence of cross-border incursions and foreign elements’
involvement in boosting the insurgency. As with the emergency rule it is not surprising that the people of Adamawa have since come to terms with the strategic sense of it all.
All said, President Goodluck Jonathan has cleared any lingering doubt about his capacity to act decisively when the occasion arises and has proven his innate patience and focus to address emerging issues copiously. He should use the lessons of the politics of imposition of emergency rule to put governors in their proper place down under whenever the national interest
is the subject matter. After all at the end of the day, he is the Commander-in-Chief as well as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and on his shoulders rest the fate of the nation especially in times of adversity. Posterity will prove him right!
Mustapha Minjibir wrote from in Kundila Housing Estate, Kano, Kano State, Nigeria