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Elnathan John: How To Handle The Army In An Insurgency

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The most visible part of government when there is a security emergency like an insurgency or war, is the army. They are our first, if not our last, line of defense. They are on the frontlines doing the often thankless job of laying their lives for a not-always grateful country. As one who will soon be president, I am learning a lot from observing our commander-in-chief and his army chiefs handle the war, especially on the North East frontlines. Here is what I have learnt:

A well-fed soldier may become a cowardly soldier. So sometimes, you must reduce the rations of men on the frontlines. If you pay them 30 or 40 thousand naira a month, slash it to 15 thousand. This will make their blood boil and the anger will be useful in decimating the army.

There is no need to provide the right type of arms and ammunition. Brave soldiers don’t need big guns, even if the enemy has sophisticated weapons. Brave soldiers only need an inspiring speech. Look at that movie, Brave Heart. The Scots were outnumbered, but when Mel Gibson rode in on a horse, his face painted with the colours of Argentina’s flag and told them Yes We Can, that was it; they fucked up the English enemy.

When, because of your action or inaction, some soldiers refuse to go into battle unprepared to meet a better equipped and better motivated army, it is important to address this issue before it spreads like a cancer among the rest of the men. Give a rousing speech about how when you catch anyone who mutinies, you will kill them. There is nothing quite like threatening a man who is afraid to die, with death.

Sometimes you will have the knotty situation of the soldiers who don’t want to fight pushing their wives to protest their deployment to the war front without adequate equipment. When women do such a thing, do not address the real issue. After all they are women. Talk about them like naughty kids in kindergarten. Threaten to flog and evict them if they ever try to protest again. Specifically, use the word koboko in your threat. Because there is a difference between using a cane to flog a woman and using koboko to flog a woman. Anyone who was stubborn as a child in Nigeria, knows this.

If a newspaper house has the nerve to report a mutiny, don’t let the fact that Nigeria claims to practice democracy stop you from storming the newspaper offices with soldiers to confront and threaten them with sanctions if they do not stop talking about you. Because even in a democracy, it may be acceptable for soldiers to harass journalists in a newspaper house. In a war, people should not ask questions. They should support their troops.

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I must congratulate Nuhu Ribadu, former Chairman of the EFCC who tried and secured the conviction of Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha for corruption, for recently joining the ruling People’s Democratic Party. Thankfully, Alamieyeseigha who is also a member of the PDP, has since been pardoned, declared sinless by President Jonathan and appointed a delegate to the National Conference. He is now a former ex-convict. God bless Jonathan!

I admire Nuhu Ribadu. Sometimes even when a person has been cured of a disease, people stigmatize and avoid such a person. This is not right. It is noteworthy that Nuhu Ribadu is not showing any signs of stigma for most of the persons he had on his prosecution list in 2006. Just like with Ebola, it is important that when people are declared healthy, persons show them love by associating with them. As president I will use Ribadu as an example of how not to hold former corruption against people.

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President Jonathan is in Germany this weekend. I am upset for a few reasons. Every Nigerian knows that when you are travelling, you tell your friends so they can give you long lists of things you can buy for them. I know we are not talking but the least he could have done is ask, Elnathan, do you want anything from Germany? But I will be the bigger man and not hold this against him. Some have speculated that he is going there for medical treatment. I am worried about him. I know that he recently tested negative for Ebola in America and he has been using hand sanitizer. He has even stopped shaking his friends. So it can’t be Ebola. I wish he had listened to me when I advised him to use moringa. Jesus said love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so I will pray for him. Whatever it is, whether Botox or flatulence, or high blood pressure or trying to spend time away from Patience with a “friend”, I wish him well.

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Professor Maurice Iwu in a recent interview, while admitting that there was nothing to show that bitter kola cured Ebola, said that there was nothing to disprove it either. He reiterated his claim that bitter kola halts virus replication. In fact right there at the interview he brought out a bitter kola from his pocket. That man is on to something. There is no harm in chewing kola. At the very least it is proven to increase blood flow to the genital area in men who have hardening of the arteries. And you never know when those arteries will harden. Better to be safe than sorry.
Ps. I just stopped eating meat. This is perhaps the hardest decision I have ever made. If like me you are used to having meat as the main course and other types of food as appetizer, you will know what it means to turn away when you see suya or chicken or steak. Let no one ever ask what I did to make this planet a better place. I forsook personal pleasures and refused to partake in the mass killing and consumption of mammals and birds. That has got to count for something.

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Opinion written by Elnathan John, an Abuja based writer.. Article culled from his blog

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