It is rather unfortunate that many of us have not been able to look the Boko Haram problem in the face and make ALL the political leaders accept responsibility.
The so-called “leaders of northern Nigeria” are in the same parties with the “leaders of southern Nigeria” and they all ganged up to cause this problem we are experiencing today. It was all for political gains for themselves and their parties! The people in northern Nigeria are now fighting back through massive support for Boko Haram, as clearly shown by the limited progress that the FGN has made in containing the insurgency, the increasing brazenness of the attacks and the high cost in terms of lives and state resources.
Northern Nigeria has 10 of the poorest states in the country. The resources in the region, while not as lucrative as the “black gold” in the southern part of the country, are more than sufficient to carter for the needs of the population. With the level of poverty, there is bound to be some form of reaction from the “docile” citizens.
I urge all to take time to read Is’haq Modibo Kawu’s article on the Blueprint Online publication on the link between poverty in northern Nigeria and the current Boko Haram insurgency – http://blueprintng.com/2012/02/poverty-statistics-and-crises-in-northern-nigeria/. The key driver of the high poverty level, which is the general Nigerian problem, is CORRUPTION and lack of judicious use of the resources to the benefit of the general populace with a few of the politicians cornering the general wealth for their own use through corrupt practices.
Given that the current secular laws as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution and the enforcers of the laws are too weak to address institutional corruption, the people of northern Nigeria may have sought solace under Sharia Law – which has strict ways of dealing with ‘theft’ which corruption can be categorized as. Under Sharia Law, the punishment under the sentences cannot be changed by any Judge as the sentences are already prescribed by God as stated in the Holy Quran.
There are no appeals, plea bargains or state pardons – if you do the crime, you must serve the punishment! This sure will deter corrupt public officers. The Law also addresses how people relate with each other, frowns at flaunting of wealth, oppression of neighbours with ones wealth, etc. It approves of humility, giving, care for the poor & needy, etc. They thus must have been waiting for the opportunity to have Sharia Law to govern the affairs of their states (states where they have the higher numbers of muslims as agains pagans and Christians).
Flashback electioneering campaigns of 1998/1999: the number one campaign promise (with ALL parties guilty of the same failed promise) was that Sharia Law will be put in place and enforced in the northern states of Nigeria. We all know what happened at the end of the day: ”Political Sharia” was introduced after the elections were won under the banner of the Sharia Law implementation promise. This was to the total consternation of the voters. Their hopes for a better government that will provide the dividends of democracy, through reduction of corrupt practices as would be expected under the Sharia regime, was dashed. They had just been reaped off! It sure would be expected that the people will react!
Now is it not an irony that one of the key demands of Boko Haram is the enforcement of Sharia Law in the northern states? Is it so surprising that the Boko Haram insurgents stay in the same communities with the people and they are not being pointed out for the state security forces to apprehend? I leave the rest for you to discern.
The truth is that this monster has been created by the Nigerian political class (there is nothing like northern leaders here – there was and there still is NO northern political party) as the benefit of that robbery that led to the Boko Haram menace was enjoyed by ALL the political parties who stole from the people!!! ALL of them must accept responsibility and sit together to proffer the solution. The solution is straight forward but can ONLY be implemented by the sincere – give to the people what the majority are clamoring for and there will be peace. They are not asking for something new, they are asking for what they paid for with their votes in 1999 and which was stolen by politicians. If there are people from the south (pagans and Christians) who are not comfortable staying in these areas where Sharia Law prevails, they should relocate to the more comfortable states in the south. This is a democracy, so we must respect the wish of the majority.
As for those that have suffered loses and the lives that have been lost, I put these squarely on the conscience of the political class – they started this and they must carry that responsibility until they are purged and purged they will when laws that cannot be bent/appealed are in place. Theft is similar to election rigging and we sure will see better elections in northern Nigeria when Sharia Law is fully in place – I dare the man who will try to re-interpret a clearly stated punishment as contained in the Holy Quran, that Judge who will slap a politician on his wrist rather than exerting the full punishment as prescribed in the Holy Quran.
We should understand that the revolution that we have been waiting for in the Nigerian political scene, that which will cleanse the system and bring good governance to the people, was happening under our nose, but we did not recognize it. This should be interpreted as the first step and we must latch on to the gains. The people who are MOST guilty of the crimes against humanity, the innocent deaths/destruction of property, are the politicians who by their actions/inactions betrayed the people and thus instigated and fueled the insurgency. We MUST have enabling environment to vote them out.