BY DAPO AKINREFON
MR. Manijar Seigha is chairman, Niger Delta Nationalities in Lagos State. In this interview, Seigha states that the proposed amnesty package for Boko Haram members is in order. He also argues that President Goodluck Jonathan has not lost grip in tackling insecurity challenges facing the country. Excerpts:
Considering the state of insecurity in the country do you think the president has lost grip?
President Jonathan has not lost grip of the situation in any way. However, the President’s greatest challenge is his political opponents, his enemies and a huge population of ignoramuses not Boko Haram. This is because Boko Haram‘s continuous existence is dependent on the above.
Jonathan’s next challenge (if not a problem) is the body language of the judiciary and the attitude of the legislature. It is clear to all discerning minds that the judiciary and the legislature are not in a hurry to support Mr. President in the fight against insecurity. If they were, new, effective, and unambiguous laws would have been enacted. In the light of the above, I think Jonathan is being pushed to step on banana peels.
Therefore the solution to Boko Haram is a collective deal, the three arms of the Federal Government, the Northern Governors, Northern leaders of thought, and Islamic clerics in the north must sit together for a collective solution so that Jonathan as a person will not be held for the fallout. At the formation level, it was mainly an organization whose ideology was the hatred of western education.
Today the ideology is in the least a sextuplet if not a seven dimensional octopus. Boko Haram has moved from the ideology of the hatred of western education which by the death of their leader necessitated the attack on security personnels and formations, but thereafter to local ethnic cleansing between the majority Kanuri and the minority Biu tribe in Borno state, then to religious cleansing in other northern states. The other level is using it as a weapon of warning for those perceived to be preparing to rig the 2015 election. It is also seen as a regional army in the waiting.
The latest is the use of it as an instrument of blackmail to persuade the Federal Government to give in to an abnormality and be blinded from rectitude. This includes the demand for amnesty for Boko Haram, meaning the genuine purpose of Boko Haram has been displaced. I therefore sympathize with the initial ideology of the hatred of western education rather than the hijackers demanding to Islamatise the whole nation.
Should amnesty be given to the Boko Haram insurgents?
The call for amnesty in favour of Boko Haram is the handiwork of the hijackers on the one hand and sympathizers of Boko Haram on the other hand. Firstly, it is another avenue to grab more oil money to the north.
Secondly, it is the replica of rotational presidency where the north says it is her turn to produce the next president of Nigeria. Like the former, the north seems to be saying it is their turn to grab the amnesty, since the Niger Delta got it first.
Sometimes, experts believe the acquisition of the 3 E’s that is education, exposure, and experience is all that is needed to proffer the right and sound judgement on critical issues. In any case if I may ask, can’t the northern Governors grant Boko Haram the said amnesty? After all, it is the northern economy that is suffering. Note also that the amnesty granted to Niger delta militants was because their activities affected the heart of the national economy directly not a regional economy.
Jonathan can just go ahead and deliver amnesty to Boko Haram. What will be a challenge, not a problem is when it will be delivered to MASSOB and OPC too? Just give it to them without rancour since we are about practising rotational amnesty.
But during the President’s visit to Borno State, he referred to members of the sect as ghost…
There is no doubt that a number of those taking on the President for referring to Boko Haram as ghosts understand him. However, a large number of ignorants, whose trade in stock and daily source of joy is the ability to challenge Mr. President on any issue, are at it again.
Those whose intent is to intimidate President Jonathan out of office using any terrorist means might be making a slippery and catastrophic mistake, because we know their target. Capture the natural resources of the Niger Delta (crude oil) and appropriate it without question on how, where and when. This will be resisted.
Should Jonathan contest the 2015 presidential election given the tension in the land?
The answer is yes. Constitutionally, it is his right as a bonafide citizen of Nigeria. Rotationally, it is the right of the Niger Delta to consolidate its turn. The point needs to be made very clearly that Obasanjo representing the South West got his two terms in office. Musa Yar’Adua would have gotten his two terms in office if he did not die.
So what is the offence of the Niger Delta zone in this rotational formula? Indeed Nigerians owe this zone for obvious reasons. It is not about Jonathan, but the Niger Delta, The goose that lays the golden egg. A Niger Deltan is already in office, I think it is in the interest of all Nigerians that that Niger Delta is allowed to complete its tenure. A word is enough for all Nigerians.
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