Looking at what experts described as the working target of terrorism, which is chiefly a psychological act that communicates through violence or the threat of violence, it may not be patriotic, but arguably safe, to conclude that members of the deadly terrorist group, Boko Haram, and their secret backers within the political and religious classes are winning their battle in Nigeria. Our vulnerabilities are not helping us in the battle.
Do a content analysis of the press releases of both Boko Haram and some governors in the last few weeks or so and you will safely conclude that their aim is to publicly instil fear in Nigerians and the international community, and, knowing the impact of the mass media including the new media — facebook, twitter and others — they have carefully chosen their timing, locations and method of their attacks and run to the mass media to help in spreading their evil mission and the impact.
Trust the Nigerian media, especially the citizen journalists; they are having their swell time. Forget about the low intelligent rating of the Boko Haram’s leader, Shekau, by many people.
The real strategists of the group – some of them security agents, politicians and journalists — know very well that the goal of manipulating well-liked perceptions, by controlling or dictating media coverage, is very strategic to achieving their goal. True, in one of the many researches that some experts have carried out on the operational intent of terrorist groups, they discovered that, in taking into account possible targets, “the terrorists recognise that a massively destructive attack launched against a target that cannot or will not attract sufficient media coverage is not purposeful”.
To be sure, look at the recent bombings in Nyanya, Abuja, and the purported kidnapping of female schoolgirls in Chibok in Borno State — they illustrate how the acts of terror could be deployed to attract media attention. For example, modern media technology provides instantaneous broadcast coverage of their acts of terror.
And if we study the operational intent/behaviours of Boko Haram and their backers carefully, we will discover that they understand very well our vulnerabilities, the psychological impact and uncertainties that their violence would generate in support of other activities and, consequently, they have capitalised on our vulnerabilities. They believe, and rightly so, that Nigerians are emotional and pitiful about any loss of life; they believe also that our government policies are excessively prejudiced by public opinion, which in turn is particularly vulnerable to the unfavourable psychological impact of terrorism.
Lastly, members of Boko Haram and their sponsors in the political class know too well that government’s economic performance is perception-driven and very exposed to the unpleasant psychological impact of terrorism. This is the true situation in our country today.
As my people in Edo State would say, “let’s shine our eyes very well” and read between the lines – the evil intents of these devil incarnates. We must not allow them to win this battle against us.
The recent comment of General Yakubu “Jack” Dan-Yumma Gowon, Nigerian military head of state from 1966 to 1975, has reinforced my belief about those behind the ongoing bloodletting in our nation. Recently, Gowon blamed the current frightening insecurity in our land and gunrunning by Fulani herdsmen on politicians.
All along, some of us have believed that members of our political elite are responsible for the current seeming war situation in some northern parts of the country. A respected elder statesman whose views are always devoid of political sentiments, Gowon, in Ebonyi State when he led the delegation of Nigeria Prays to Governor Martin Elechi, identified politicians as those behind our current crisis.
He refused to believe that the accused Fulani Herdsmen were behind the violence. Hear what Gowon said: “These children carry sticks and lead their cattle on pasture across the country but now some people put on Fulani clothes and perpetrate crisis.
The question is how the transformation from little cattle-rearers to criminals took place?”
An apostle of God’s teaching, he noted that the seriousness of the security challenges makes it imperative for Nigerians to seek God’s grace to restore the desired peace in the country, saying the power of prayer is stronger than all physical powers we have, for when it touches our souls we become the right instruments God wants us to be. I agree with him; but the solution is more than that.
The former head of state’s concern is the real worry of many sincere Nigerians today that have, in the last few months, watched our political elite elevate their personal political interests to national interests and choose ethno-religious issues as their weapon of mass annihilation.
For them, any weapon is necessary in politics; they do not mind if the blood of thousands of innocent people is sacrificed in the process. And, unfortunately, that is what we have witnessed in our country, especially in the last few days. From Borno to Adamawa via Yobe to Taraba and Nasarawa states down to Nyanya in Abuja, the story is the same – bloodletting everywhere.
The burning sad one is the mysterious abduction of 234 (or 276) female schoolgirls in Chibok, Borno State. The coordinated manoeuvring of a section of the media in the last few days in support of their ungodly acts is a testimony to the length they could go to execute their acts of terror.
They know that the monotheistic religions of Islam and Christianity enjoy the special attention of their faithful and have used them to leverage their acts of terror; they have used the two religions to cause mayhems and create unnecessary political tension in the country. And these suffocating tensions have sometimes led to grave social crisis and public disorder, which is currently threatening the peace, stability and security of our entire country. We have forgotten that the Nigerian/Biafran civil war of 1967 to 1970 had strong ethno-religious overtones.
And that since gaining independence in 1960, Nigeria is yet to build up a political make-up which would enable its citizens imbibe the strength of mind of patriotism and national consciousness. Our problem is compounded because, in the non-existence of strong political leadership and good governance over the years, we have drifted towards particularistic forms of political cognisance and identity with religion and ethnicity as our stronghold. We have failed to provide the citizens not only with the basic necessities of life, but also to develop a political formation which promotes unity in diversity.
We have not helped matters because of our deliberate creation of unequal opportunities and rights for our people. For example, a citizen from Urhonigbe town in Edo State who scored 267 in the Joint Matriculation Examination cannot gain admission into the University of Benin while his counterpart from Sokoto State with 107 will be admitted into the same university. And, in the face of such political and social malaise, our religion and ethnicity have become communes of political identity, economic progress and social solidarity.
In recent times, ethno-religious violence and conflicts have reached a disturbing scale in some parts of the country. Places like Kano, Kaduna, Jos, Taraba and Nasarawa, to mention but a few, have witnessed frequent ethno-religious conflicts, which resulted in gratuitous destruction of lives and property, breach of the peace and security. With a clear absence of good governance across all levels of government, it has become fashionable for some devious political actors like Governor Nyako and others who are losing their political strongholds to resort to the use of religion and ethnicity to create a crisis situation and distract the public from the fundamental issues of their woeful failure to deliver politically, socially and economically.
Today, it is very common to see some political players who fight fanatically the religious/ethnic cause; they merely use religion as concealment for projecting their dishonest and devious political objective. Surely, in this manner, they have not behaved better than the colonialists who resorted to ideological method of demonizing and destruction of local shrines in Benin City, Ile-Ife, Osogbo and other places to undermine the population, create insecurity, demoralize the people and take control of their places.
Surely, these idiots need to bury their heads in shame. While the buck stops at President Goodluck Jonathan’s table, this is also the time for people of good conscience – men and women – to stand up and be counted on the side of peace. We must collectively rise up against these evil people who want to destroy our country and run to Cameroun, Chad and other foreign countries where they can easily be assimilated.
Yes, 2015 is around the corner – when elections must be won by any means necessary. But unless we save our nation first, there might not be a country to struggle for in 2015. Let’s do the needful now.
— Follow Iyobosa on my twitter: @rexiyobosa…. Article culled from Leadership Newspaper
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