Oh My Dear Region: Of course I withdrew my admiration for president Buhari early in the day of his government.

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Of course I withdrew my admiration for president Buhari early in the day of his government.

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The Nigeria Army

Way from the usual substance of my discourse, this week I address an issue that keeps me awake at night, alert and cautious, during the day, and ever critical during my waking moments. If anybody prophesied, five years ago, that parts of the north-western region would be battling with major issues of insecurity, i would simply not take him serious. When Boko Haram was at its zenith pre2015, there were a lot of conspiracies. These conspiracy theories had it that the Jonathan government was either intending to depopulate the north in preparation to the coming elections or that it was a grand plan to cause havoc to the Muslim populations. Of course there were all sorts of such conspiracy theories, most of which were pure balderdash, and I never believed any of them. Several times, I engaged friends from the north east in debates about the emptiness of such specious theories. Even then, I believed that Nigeria did not need any external enemy to be in that quagmire. We had enough irresponsible people in government to land us into just any kind of trouble. The President reportedly saw the Boko Haram problem as northern problem. From another perspective, his protectors insisted that it was his enemies that were fueling the insecurity in order to tarnish his image. His wife even publicly denied the Chibok abduction initially. So also many of the President’s overzealous supporters, most of whom were driven by emotional affinities. Of course, we in the north, all felt insecure. The opposition used the insecurity as a campaign tool. We all caved in. With the opposition’s main contender, General Buhari then, we could bet our last kobo that the Boko boys would not last many months once elected. Not only did he have a strong military background, General Buhari was then seen as a man who cared for the ordinary folks. Several antecedents were cited to prove not only his strong credentials, but also his strong sense of duty, patriotism and concern for the country. Indeed, that was what we needed at the time. For quite awhile after his political success, the north east region was drunk with the efforts of the new sheriff in town. I actually only then heaved a sigh of relief that our country was in good hands. I felt like I was now in charge of my life. I felt that I was no longer compromised in anyway. Buhari’s success was a great moment for me, personally. General Buratai’s praise song by Aminu Ladan (Alan Waka) was my call ring for some years. Although I had no connection with the north east in anyway, I felt that they were my fellow countrymen, and they deserved peace. Coincidentally, 2014-15 was my year of service and by some happenstance, most of my serving colleagues were from that region. Salisu Adamu, my roommate, was from Yobe state. Most of the friends I made were from Bauchi, Adamawa, Yobe, Gombe and Borno states. To date, we are close to most of these guys. So, our wound was practically one. We wept for the same reason. And nothing gladdened the heart as much as the Buhari victory which we all believed would guarantee a peaceful life. For me, it was not bigotry, nor was it fanaticism. It was pure love for the country.

 

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Of course I withdrew my admiration for president Buhari early in the day of his government. Several things converged to rob me of any faith I used to have in his vision for our country. Tellingly, things began to fall apart in my region like in a dream. Zamfara was burning too pieces. Katsina got infected. at a point, close to the 2019 elections, eight local governments in Katsina were effectively under the control of bandits. Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto and several other states began to taste the pill of insecurity. still, the people in government, the president do not seem to care. Those close to the government were actually calling people names for crying about the poor state of security. They blackmailed and denied genuine reports of horrible state of things. They ignored reports of threat to life of entire towns and villages. The state governments in Katsina and Zamfara entered into “peace deals” with terrorists. They terrorists got even more daring. They acquired more arms. They penetrated into more corners of the north west. In parts of Katsina, despite denial by the government, armed robbery becomes the order of the day. Armed Fulani terrorists move about freely with guns on their shoulders. They kill at will and no one dares raise alarm.

 

Recent killings in Tsauwa and Dankar, two villages in Batsari local government were most gruesome. The scene of the acts was gory. The act was grotesque, brutal and inhuman. Yet the government was ever insensitive and indifferent. The president, in paying condolence, mocked the victims for daring to apprehend terrorists and warned them of the consequences of such actions. Never mind that the terrorists tot guns. Never mind that they terrorize the people unhampered. Never mind that the people of the attacked villages were only recently disarmed of their dane guns, which, kept for protection, were collected in exchange for assurance of provision of security. Never mind that the perpetrators were not even threatened with promise to face the wrath of the law.

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