Biya , Jonathan ,the Boko Haram Carnage and Political Games: Who Is Fooling Who?
August 28, 2014
-The optics are definitely bad , no trace of three hundred girls kidnapped in Chibok,Nigeria, images of Nigerian soldiers taking refuge in neighboring Cameroon, the family of one of the most powerful and influential member of the Cameroon government killed and his wife kidnapped till today, a Member of parliament who has been used to negotiate the release of hostages held by the sect ,held hostage himself for some two weeks before been released ,tales of states like Borno in Nigeria literally under control of the sect and the declaration of a caliphate. Boko Haram is not only winning in the field but for a bunch of people who could pass for illiterates and a leader who can barely read his own speech with coherence, there are winning the PR war as well. But what are the leaders doing and for two countries that are giants in their own right, how can this be happening? What games are the leaders up to because things do not add up at and the prevailing situation defies all logic. Take the case of Nigeria, a country which is the regional giant, a country with arguably the best trained, best educated , and best equipped military in Africa, a country which rescued Liberia and Sierra Leone from the scourge of civil wars, how comes that military is unable to fight Boko Haram? Granted Boko Haram is not a conventional army, but when it goes beyond bombings and starts sharing images of Nigerian soldiers fleeing from them, the impact is damaging. Tales of complains from the Nigerian soldiers have increasingly gone public , from material, to inadequate fire power , from soldiers holding superiors hostage, and mutinies , from families reluctant to let their husbands fight without weapons, people are left scratching their heads. There were reports from Cameroon that some did not have boots.What is happening to Nigeria? With all its might and size, it is inconceivable that Nigeria is unable to adequately arm its military. Is someone using money for military logistics for something else? Is someone giving the President the wrong picture on how dire things exactly look? In Cameroon, on his way to the USA-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington,DC, President Biya told reporters used the very wrong anecdotes to describe the resilience of his country in the face of challenges such as the one posed by Boko Haram. If Cameroon survived the nationalist uprising of the UPC in the early years of independence and the civil disobedience actions of the opposition parties in the early 90s, then it is not Boko Haram that will not be contained by Cameroon President Biya said. This sounds like toying with fire indeed. The Presidents remarks came on the heels of the attack suffered by family members of Amadou Ali, a very high profile figure within the regime whose wife was also kidnapped and has not been returned till today. The President also promised that he will meet with his Nigerian counterpart to formulate better strategies to take the fight to Boko Haram during his stay in Washington. It turned out there was no meeting between President Biya and President Jonathan in Washington ,DC, atleast not publicly reported and Boko Haram has greatly upped its attacks and seems to be growing in sophistication. Cameroon and Nigeria are neighbors and share several common frontiers. Both have Muslim and Christian populations. In the face of the common threat posed by Boko Haram to both countries, curiously, it took the invitation of French President Francois Hollande for Biya and Jonathan to meet in Paris at a summit on security challenges. Why meet in Paris instead of Abuja or Yaoundé? Why a meeting called by a French President with abysmally poor poll numbers and interventions in countries like Mali and Central Africa which have been trailed in controversies? Should it be so hard for leaders of two neighboring countries to meet and harmonize a strategy to get rid of Boko Haram? While Jonathan seems to have resurfaced back in Nigeria after a trip to Germany last week for yet to be clearly identified purposes, his Cameroonian counterpart has been on break in Switzerland for some two weeks now. What is it Achebe said of a mad man going to bed with his house on fire? Indeed the impression many get is that both Jonathan in Nigeria and Biya in Cameroon have been more concerned about their political survival and less about the wanton havoc from Boko Haram. In Nigeria you had more about the 2015 elections and less about Boko Haram, yet the sect is destroying communities and putting the kind of fear in many that may even scare them from stepping out to vote less a bomb explodes, or there get attacked. In power for over thirty years, it was interesting to see President Biya recently prescribe an emergency development plan for the Northern part of Cameroon where the attacks of Boko Haram are concerntrated.Besides the fact that Northern Cameroon is largely Muslim, the underdevelopment in that part of the country only helps Boko Haram to flourish. The region has grudges against the Biya regime for the nasty treatment meted out to former President Amadou Ahidjo whose remains are still in Dakar, the maltreatment after the botched April 1984 coup and the imprisonment of high profile individuals from the region for alleged corruption. It was interesting to hear a Cameroonian complain that Cameroon may be paying a price for electoral mal practices as nationals from Chad, Northern Nigeria and others are often given ID cards during elections to vote for the ruling party. With all lizards laying on their stomachs now, it is hard to say who belongs to Boko Haram and who does not, who is an informant and who is not. For Jonathan, it has been all about 2015. Will he run or not and how does he dismantle the road blocks those real and imagined opponents are placing in front of him. Of what use will it be to win elections if the country is been allowed to get to ungovernable proportions? There have been growing concerns that Boko Haram agents are way up in the echelons of government and one wonders, are politicians so greedy for power that in a bit to oust Jonathan, there will make life unbearable for millions of Nigerians? [caption id="attachment_11496" align="alignright" width="300"] This photo taken on June 17, 2014 shows Cameroonian soldiers standing next to pick up trucks with mounted heavy artillery in Mora, northern Cameroon, which houses a miltiary base where human and logictical resources have been mobilised to face armed Islamist group Boko Haram. Boko Haram, which in April 2014 kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria to international condemnation, has been waging a brutal, five-year insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives. AFP PHOTO / REINNIER KAZE (Photo credit should read Reinnier KAZE/AFP/Getty Images)[/caption] Without casting doubts on the patriotism of Biya and Jonathan, one cannot help but come out with the strong feeling that the people are not been told the truth. An example will be the freedom for French hostages kidnaped in Northern Cameroon. Each time their release is followed by a colorful ceremony and President Biya even granted audience to the Mournier family in Cameroon. Turns out Millions of Dollars are paid to obtain the release of the hostages. To who is the money paid? For what intent is the money been used? The people are never privy to answers; the governments are vague in communication about Boko Haram and Boko Haram is exploiting this communication gap to the fullest. At the end of the day, Cameroon and Nigeria must go beyond Biya and Jonathan. Boko Haram is evil. If Cameroon is engulfed in conflict, it is the entire Central African Sub Region that will experience catastrophic consequences. If Nigeria is made ungovernable because of Boko, this will reverberate across the entire continent. This is one fight that needs cooperation from the people, that needs cooperation from both countries, but this will be hard when leaders do not share the right information, when there have succeeded in making it appear there is more to the Boko Haram issues than meets the eye. Until the people force answers out of the leadership, the current trend spells nothing but doom with wreckage that may never be pieced together again. ]]>
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