Vanguard Newspaper 03 February 2018
40—SATURDAY Vanguard, MARCH 3, 2018 OPINION Chibok and Dapchi girls: The whoredom of karma By Sufuyan Ojeifo History repeats itself, first as tragedy, and second, as farce.” -Karl Marx On Monday, February 19, 2018, Boko Haram insurgents invaded Government Girls Science Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe state, abducting 110 of the 906 student population. It was yet another tragic day for a nation that is yet to get over a similar incident that took place on April 14, 2014 in Chibok, Borno state, when the insurgents invaded Government Secondary School, carting away as “ready luggage” 276 schoolgirls. Sadly, both incidents happened in similar historical circumstances, which accentuated lax security that made the wholesale abductions of the schoolgirls possible without the slightest resistance. The girls were left to save themselves. That is what makes the first incident, in Chibok, tragic and the second one, in Dapchi, farcical. The nation apparently failed to protect the schoolgirl when it mattered most. It also failed to harness the lessons from the mismanagement of her security architecture and intelligence in Chibok to avert a recurrence in Dapchi. The Chibok schoolgirls’ abduction was so heartbreaking that it elicited an emotional reaction from a bewildered Dame Patience Jonathan, wife of the then president, whose husband was pondering over the 2015 presidential election. Her “there is God o” riposte to the inability of officials, who should have known what happened, to give credible explanations about the seamless invasion and movement of the schoolgirls under their watch, was to subsequently turn her into a butt of hilarious national joke in the social media. Dame Jonathan was derided for showing empathy to the victims and their parents. Understandably, the government did not initially believe the report, given the number of the schoolgirls involved. It concluded that the movement of the children was a result of some collaborative enterprise to blackmail it ahead of the 2015 presidential election. The All Progressive Congress (APC) government in Borno state acted in curious ways that portrayed it as a collaborator in the grand design to embarrass and promote a campaign of calumny that fitted perfectly into the agenda to de-market the PDP-led federal government. The sustained narrative that the administration was clueless and unable to provide national security was part of the overall agenda to demonize it. Dame Jonathan saw through the mischief and, apparently helpless, became lachrymose. The decision by an opposition state government to encourage the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to disobey a security directive not to use Chibok as examination centre rendered the state government complicit. But because national security matter is within the purview of the federal government, it did not matter that the girls were taken from Chibok village; what mattered was that the nation under the Jonathan administration was unsafe and the president was vicariously liable. The APC’s propaganda machinery went haywire with the mantra that the administration was incapable of protecting the lives and property of citizens. Muhammadu Buhari was, in approbation, positioned as a capable alternative to Jonathan. Coupled with the theme of corruption to drive its campaign, the opposition succeeded in preparing the grounds for Jonathan’s rejection at the 2015 polls. That precipitated frenzy in the presidency. Similar frenzy has also drenched Buhari’s presidency. But apparently missing in action is the mother of the nation, Aisha Buhari, who is yet to publicly express her pains over the tragedy that has befallen the schoolgirls. She must have been too preoccupied with attending to the health of her only son, Yusuf, who just returned from a foreign hospital where he had received treatment for injuries sustained in a recent motorbike crash in Abuja. That is, understandably, more than a world of commitment to her. Aisha is a good woman and has the capacity to publicly relate and connect with the pains of mothers whose daughters are in the custody of the insurgents. That she has not done so does not mean she is insensitive. I believe her heart goes to the victims and their mothers in their moments of grief. A terse press statement from her will, nevertheless, suffice. But at the level of official interactions, the abduction of the Dapchi 110 has not elicited much of expressive humanity from President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency. It is obvious that its reaction has been tepid and the actions taken are aligned with political correctness of sorts. The nation is confronted with the usual perceptible cold disposition from the president and those in his court. There has been a mélange of incredulity and confusion in their camp. Living with the truth of the harsh reality is a burden they must bear. It is sardonic for the government, which rode to power on the crest of its assurance that it possesses the capacity to deal with Boko Haram insurgency and other security issues in a matter of few months in power, to continue to unconscionably fumble and unravel as grimly incapable, after all, to deal with insecurity three years in the saddle. This parodies a failed promise and gives the citizens a solid ground to judge the administration about a year to the presidential election in 2019, coincidentally, as it happened to Jonathan in 2014, moving towards 2015. The Buhari administration has treated the nation to salacious tales about how the shame of Dapchi happened. The army and the police have been locked in blame game, with the army claiming they secured Dapchi after which they withdrew and handed over the town to the police a week before the abduction, while the police rejected the claim. Amid the blame game, the administration is trying to create the impression that it is on top of the situation, despite the fact that the incident did not get reported by the media until Wednesday, February 21, 2018. Was it that they planned to obfuscate the details of the incident or what? I think it must have been a failure of intelligence. An expeditious response to intelligence report could have helped to mitigate the spatial distance between the soldiers on rescue mission and the insurgents. The administration’s acceptance that 110 and not 105 schoolgirls were missing, the further steps to publish the victims’ names and set up a 12-man committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding the abduction were inevitable actions to prove it is dealing with the situation. But, I do not think the administration had expected that it would suffer this sort of embarrassment from the hands of a technically defeated and degraded Boko Harm terrorists’ group. If, indeed, the administration is not trying to pull a stunt with the Dapchi schoolgirls’ abduction (I will attempt to explicate this in a subsequent piece), it then becomes very remarkable how “what goes round comes round.” I call it the whoredom of karma. Gruesome fates have continued to play out in Boko Haram’s episodic abductions of schoolgirls in the northeast zone. When it happened the first time, Jonathan’s re-election gambit was shattered. Now that it has happened the second time, Buhari’s second term aspiration now hangs in the balance. Jonathan lived with the tragic reality of Chibok girls’ abduction; it is the turn of Buhari to live with that of Dapchi girls’. Buhari is, without a doubt, more embarrassed. With his highly-rated military background and capacity to deal with security much better than Jonathan, the Dapchi farce should not have happened. That it happened is a lesson for those who aspire for the highest office in the land to learn to moderate electioneering assurances and promises as well as downplay emphasis on socalled innate or acquired capacities to deal with certain elements over which guaranteed control is only through divine interventions and not administrative precision. Truth! • Ojeifo contributed this piece from Abuja firstname.lastname@example.org Alafin is a strong man The Alafin is firing on all cylinders. He will be 80 this year. One of his young wives had a set of twins last week. Another young wife had a set of twins this week. Alafin's virility must be studied. He must have the virilty of a fresian bull. In an age when young men are all talk , no action, Alafin deserves an award. At 80 he is in his twilight. Yet he is shinning like a morning star. I would plead with the Kabiyesi on the need for skills transfer. Apart from his shooting abilities, he may have to teach the younger ones his selection skills. Good seeds on good soil. How and where does he mingle and seek out these fertile jewels. If its African science, a few young men would like to do internship in the palace. Every time I see him parading his harem, I marvel at the glory of a college of gorgeous wives. I came at the wrong time. I have taken keen interest in the Alafin whom the Sani Abacha government almost made a drug courier. He buys his women the finest of liveries and bags. The old man apparently has not lost his sense of aesthetic appreciation. His younger wives are eternally voluptuous. Alafin has to explain to the youths how he keeps them perpetually excited. You can see so much in the flourish of their poise and wrappas. Their gaits are filled with satisfaction. But all the time I see wives of monogamous men literally writhing besides their husbands with constipated faces. The young men can't make one woman happy. They become bored too early. Alafin must explain his staying power. His first wife is 79. He has been at this for over 50 years I heard someone insinuating evil. He was talking about palace guards working overtime. I told him that it was such unbelief that would not allow him perform great feats. Is it palace guards that fill these young ladies with visible contentment. Is it palace guards that parade them in Westfield mall in London, all looking like tomato J0S. Alafin takes time to till and water the soil. Of Tinubu and Buhari! By Dr Ugoji Egbujo Prior to 2015, Tinubu was desperate. He wanted the PDP and Jonathan dislodged. It had been impossible to forge a formidable alliance in the past. The PDP looked invincible. So he needed Buhari. Buhari had retired from politics. He was retired by frustration. But everyone knew Buhari was a major political asset. The sort of asset the Tinubu machinery needed to gather votes in the north. And to burnish their law and order credentials. So Tinubu and company literally resurrected Buhari. They knew it was risky. But they knew that losing to the PDP again was perhaps extinction. The prospect of an energized and oiled Buhari's ship emboldened dissenters in the PDP. Compromises were traded and they jumped ship. That ship anchored in Aso rock in 2015. Buhari had sought free hand. He was promised free hand. There were no conditions because his drafters were desperate. After he won, he exercised his prerogatives without addressing his mind to the debt of gratitude he owed Tinubu. So he picked Tinubu's renegade boys. And left Tinubu's preferred nominees. Tinubu sulked. He tried to influence the senate leadership. Buhari opted to remain aloof. He tried to foist his boy on the house or reps. Buhari didn't stand publicly by him. Buhari's diffidence meant that neither Buhari nor Tinubu nor the APC determined the leadership of the National Assembly. Tinubu was worried by Buhari's elusiveness. Tinubu must have weighted his options. He thought of contesting the presidency through another platform. After Ondo he threw a tantrum. He thought of shattering the party. Buhari's illness called for patience. He waited and waited. The cabal ran circles around everybody. Buhari's wife couldn't stand the circus. Buhari returned. They expected action. Nothing. Then Atiku left. Tinubu's stock rose. Everyone including the president began to refer to him publicly as the sole leader of the party. Tinubu was not fazed , he knew he was still impotent. Then Obasanjo and IBB wrote their letters. They tore through Buhari's clothes and eroded to some extent the legitimacy of his candidature for 2019. Buhari became politically naked and vulnerable. So Buhari sought Tinubu. It dawned on Buhari. He needed Tinubu very badly. Not so much for votes. Yes he would need southwest votes. and he would need his machinery. But the authentication of the legitimacy of his candidature was the immediate necessity. If Tinubu had pronounced Buhari's tenure a failure and asked him not to contest like the others , Buhari's candidature would have been fractured. It would have suffered a massive internal hemorrhage. So the tide has turned big time. Buhari would have needed Tinubu for 2019. But no one knew he would come to need him so desperately even before the elections. Buhari who has shown political naivety for 3 years has for once played smartly . He is suddenly awake and alert In handing over the reconciliation of the party to one man rather than a committee, the president has avoided a down the middle split in a fractious party. The president has literally handed enormous powers to Tinubu. These are no ordinary reconciliations. They are power sharing and suspensions and expulsions. Tinubu understands the leverage he has. He knows he can mend the party and foster his personal clout within the party in the next few months. He is already at work. People will grumble. But they know when Buhari delegates authority , he delegates it. Buhari will endorse Tinubu's peace plans and many aggrieved powerful people ,including governors, will sulk and succumb rather than walk away. But Tinubu will not finish this assignment without extracting a pound of flesh from Buhari. Once beaten twice shy. Tinubu knows he was sidelined by the cabal. Tinubu knows he can be sidelined again. But Tinubu has reached great heights in Nigerias politics because he is a tactician. He can push shove and stab. He is not an Imam. Tinubu knows that his legacy will suffer a dent if the APC fails after 2019. I know he will not fail to tie all loose ends meticulously , neatly . Or rock the boat. But his opponents are also waiting for him. I am watching.
SATURDAY Vanguard, MARCH 3, 2018—41