By Toks Ero
Pertinent questions must be asked concerning Nigeria Federal Government and the military’s handling of Boko Haram insurgency. From inception of incidence of bomb blasts to outright seizing of territories, Boko Haram is defiling the Nigerian government/military and violating Nigerians. No meaningful growth and development can be recorded by any nation in an atmosphere of war.
The Federal Government has allocated huge budgets to the military to gain victory over Boko Haram. Since this victory has been elusive, has the federal government been involved in the monitoring of the money allocated to the armed forces to ensure judicious appropriation? If yes, what have they discovered? If no, why not? Is it that agents of the Federal Government have been colluding with top military officers to embezzle these money? Is the Federal Government afraid of auditing military budgets and expenditures because of fear of being toppled in a coup d’état? Why is it taking so long to at least bring these acts of terrorism to the barest minimum? Obviously, the strategies being employed are not working. Why have these strategies not worked? Is the problem one of the incompetence of the military or deliberate sabotage? Why has the huge resources committed to military spending not been converted to commendable results?
President Goodluck Jonathan once admitted that there are moles in the government and military that are sabotaging the government’s effort and aiding Boko Haram. What mechanism has been adopted to identify these moles and neutralize them?
These questions beg for answers. Nigerians beg for answers. Since government at all levels in Nigeria has failed, Nigerians are also beginning to understand that governance must not be left to our rulers who have proved incompetent and unconcerned about the plight of Nigerians.
Soldiers who have been bold enough to revolt against this evil system that consumes them have been subjected to extreme sentences. While these soldiers may have erred in the way and manner they expressed their grievances, justice must be tampered with mercy. Those who submit themselves for military service are true patriots who should be treated with leniency, especially as their grievances are not unfounded. When soldiers are deployed on unfed stomachs, with delayed or part pay to confront terrorists who possess superior fire power, equipment and motivation, one can only expect that as humans they become demoralized. Seeing dead bodies of colleagues killed in battle as a result of the terrorists having good intelligence on military operations thereby easily ambushing and killing our soldiers is disheartening.
The media has been awash with the problems the government and the military have been facing in terms of acquiring sophisticated military equipment and the refusal of the United States to sell. Valid observations and arguments have been presented by agents of both the Nigerian and the United States governments. However, one may not really know the underlying reasons behind the situation. If the Nigerian government and military need to meet certain requirements before these equipments can be sold to them, they should. If the Nigerian government truly believes that the reasons of the United States are not cogent, then perhaps we need a review of our foreign policy in terms of re-alignment to foster our national interest.
Government and military spokes persons and top brass seem to be spending more time perfecting their narrative of excuses and assurances of subsequent success which constantly eludes us. One cannot disconnect high level corruption from our failure to win this war on terror. Stemming the tide of corruption in our government and military circles is perhaps as serious, if not more serious than the war against Boko Haram. The culture of transparency and accountability must be practiced concerning military budgets and expenditures. Another culture that needs to be practiced is one of relieving non-performing officers of their duties. Successfully prosecuting this war on Boko Haram needs competent and performing officers, not those that the hierarchy has thrown up to occupy strategic positions. Non-performing high ranking officers must be retired to make way for prospective performers to bear the saddle by infusing new ideas, strategies and tactics into this war to guarantee triumph over these forces of terror.
All political stakeholders must unite to strike a balance between politicking and nation building. To entrench peace in Nigeria, our political class must heed the advice of Jimi Hendrix – “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace”.