Point Of Order With Nonso Ezeani: The Elders That Misled Us

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The Leadership of the Northern Elders Forum failed to consider the genesis of the Boko Haram crises before issuing the immediate past Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) with a threat to institute proceedings against him before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to answer questions related to incidence of “extra judicial killings” that occurred in the North following the Federal Governments’ popular decision to apply a very insignificant portion of the might of the Nigeria Army to bring the activities of the terrorist sect to an end.

The latest statement of this group of elders has further shown the level of insincerity that they share as a common trait. First, it was Alhaji Ango Abdullahi who had revealed that should President Goodluck Jonathan attempt to seek election in 2011, the country will be made ungovernable for him. The method through which this aim was to be achieved is better known to members of the group. Dr. Adamu Ciroma did not spare any effort in issuing statements that sought to portray the North as having been cheated out of a “power tussle” in the ruling PDP at that time. A clique under his leadership presented Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the concensus candidate of the North for the PDP primaries. Alhaji Atiku eventually lost the said primaries.

That event marked a turning point in the history of our existence of Nigeria. Hate became the name of the game. The outcome of the elections was greeted with violent protest, looting, maiming and arson attacks in the North. Weather or not members of the Boko Haram sect saw that period as an excellent opportunity to commence full scale attack on Nigeria is not material, but it is important I stated that the periods after the violence was characterized with cases of bombing and more bombings. I doubt if there was a week that passed during those periods that a case of bombing was not reported. The targets were either schools, churches, government offices and security facilities in most cases. Bombings and killings only took place in mosques on few occasions.

Overtime, while I have had chance to understudy some of the issues that have formed the basis for agitation by this group, I shall take time to express my views on those issues at a later time. Currently, I shall dwell on what in my opinion is the major cause of the Boko Haram crises; Poverty. This is one area where I am of the firm opinion that the Northern elites have failed their people. To whose benefit have the power brokers of Northern origin been to Nigeria when majority of Northerners are known to live in abject poverty that can only be found in war torn locations like Somalia and Sudan? The northern elites strike me as a collection of persons whose interests are paramount and cannot be traded in the interest of the North at least. 

In times past, while I have heard several ethnic groups complain of being marginalized by respective governments in power, I am yet to hear the North complain of being so marginalized. The North, having had a bigger share and control of power in Nigeria since independence should have assumed the status of a role model and pace setter in terms of development but the reverse is the case. What is seen as at now are a few extremely wealthy persons living in the midst of persons that aren’t certain of when or where their next meal will come from. It is pitiable because while fundamental issues that affect the north are yet to be addressed, all the Northern Elders Forum is only concerned with is a power shift to the region AT ALL COST. I wish them well.

The Boko Haram terrorist sect emerged with an aim to destroy Nigeria as a state and impose sharia law on what ever is left of it. Whoever told them that Nigeria is that minute that it can be run over without much ado? During the administration of Chief ‘Segun Obasanjo (Navigator – In – Chief of the APC), a portion of Northern Nigeria led by sex-with-minors loving Sen. Sani Yerima opted out of being governed by the Nigerian Constitution (that guaranteed the validity of the process that enabled him emerge governor). The sharia legal system was adopted instead. What happened afterwards? Young men have their limbs amputated because they had indulged in crimes ranging from stealing as little as N50,000.00K only to cows. A couple of others were publicly caned for consuming liquor. Amina Lawal would have been resting in pieces by now if not for the collective fight members of civil society put up for her against the unpopular judgment of a sharia court that had condemned her to death by stoning.

The real thieves in society were never apprehended. During that period, Senator Sani Yerima granted an interview where he praised Allah on account of his being able to achieve the feat of building a N800M mansion. A certain commissioner was rumoured to have been caught in a hotel with a woman that wasn’t his wife. Lately the Kano state government ordered the smashing of several bottles of beer because it violated sharia law. Today, Zamfara State is better off! That is the Sharia law the Boko Haram sect seeks to impose on me and my household. They abhor western education yet rely on products of western education to wage their war on the Nigerian state. What happened to the traditional bow and arrows?

The Federal governments’ decision to impose a state of emergency on some parts of the North was a step in the right direction. At that material point in time, the sect operated with such boldness that was more of an embarrassment to Nigeria. Local and foreign investors were constrained to exit the region. Factories were closing on a daily basis. Commercial activities were grinding to a halt all on the account of the activities of the Boko Haram terrorist sect. Will the Northern elders have preferred that the Federal Government remained indifferent? Will Adamu Ciroma and Ango Abdullahi have preferred that the Federal Government kept quiet in the face of Nigerians being slaughtered on a daily basis because a gang of murderers are finding pleasure dwelling on the illusion that they are on a “spiritual assignment” to kill? The Northern Elders Forum did not hear about this.

If anything, the Northern Elders Forum should apologise to Nigerians, the North in particular for abdicating their roles as elder statesmen. The Northern Elders Forum has failed to fulfill their obligations to a North and Nigeria that gave them so much to be proud of in life. Earlier this week, Mohammed Al-Bulaturee, Chairman, Governing Board of the Nigerian Arabic Village stated that 9,000 trained teachers that are supposed to have been deployed to teach in primary and secondary schools are not there because of their inability to attend the mandatory acculturation programme for students studying Islamic studies in Nigerian institutions.  The Northern Elders Forum obviously did not hear about this.

This group of persons has carried on as if power were their preserve. Junaid Mohammed have threatened that “blood will flow” in 2015 should incumbent President Jonathan attempt to seek reelection. Has he not witnessed enough bloodshed lately? This is the dimension some elders have assumed lately. I challenge my fellow countrymen in the North to know who their real leaders are.

The men of the Nigerian Army have once again proven that they are gallant. To have battled the members of terrorist sect to a standstill is a commendable feat. To have faced the daunting task of curtailing their activities to a few remote villages is good for us. Once more, they have lived beyond board and proven that they were first Nigerians before being Yoruba, Igbo or Hausa.

…….One More Thing.

GOD’S SPEED TO MY BROTHER.

Last month, full church activities commenced in God’s Sanctuary Church Port Harcourt, South South, Nigeria with my brother Ken Ebhomielen as senior pastor. Ken and I have come a long way since 2009 wh en we first met in the Kingsway International Christian Centre KICC, Old GRA, Aba. Abia State. An epitome of selflessness, Ken is humility personified. Not a fellow who would hesitate to help another in need, I can only congratulate him on this great occasion. I also hope that I find time to worship with him this year, this time, inside God’s Sanctuary. God bless you Pastor Ken, I wish you God’s speed.

Ezeani, Chukwunonso Elvis is the Convener, Friends of Nigeria; the green group. He writes in from Victoria Island, Lagos. Nigeria.

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