BY BUKAR ABBA
Sometimes, I get amazed at the thinking of some politicians who feel the electorate is unreasonable, and can always be betrayed, swayed, used and dumped at their whims and caprices. These leaders only find the people they have impoverished and exposed to devastating disasters as worthy partners during partisan times only.
Nigeria is facing another round of political dispensation. And professional politicians and selfish leaders have thrown themselves on the field, with sophisticated pranks, feigning artificial concern for the poor people. But it is nothing more than décor, to earn them undeserved votes from the same people they have ferociously traduced, neglected and abandoned.
I was bemused infinitely at the recent outbursts by Senator (Dr) Mohammed Abba Aji. While he granted audience to All Students’ Union and Forum of Tertiary Institutions in Borno state, led by Mohammed Bukar Ngala, Aji shamelessly proclaimed that, “The coming of President Muhammadu Buhari, was an answered Prayer to the people of the Northeast. It is my believe that, before the end of next year, Boko Haram terrorists will be thoroughly degraded and absolute peace restored to Borno and the Northeast.”
I consider this exclamation extreme limits of clowning by a supposed leader, whilst mocking the plight of the people of the Northeast and especially, our hapless victims of terrorism in Borno state. Such poor admittance, only explains the extent to which Sen. Abba Aji has forgotten the travails of our people in the hands of Boko Haram insurgents, only to embark on guesswork. And the latest half-hearted show of concern from Aji is ennobled by his interest in the 2019 governorship seat of Borno state. But our people are neither surprised nor excited at his artificial display of sympathy.
We all know that, Sen. Aji was part of the political leadership in Borno state that created and nourished Boko Haram insurgency in 2003. And in the desperation to grab or retain power at all cost, they nourished insurgency to despicable limits. And carelessly too, he lost track of its progression, before he went underground for the reliefs of the administration of President Buhari that were brought to the people.
Quite ironically, the adventure which exposed us to insurgency with its devastating and humanitarian problems was to the advantage of Sen. Aji and his political goons, as he ended up representing Borno Central Senatorial district in the National Assembly between 2003 and 2007.
It therefore, questions Aji’s level of sanity and leadership uprightness, to speak in a manner which lends credence to the fact that, he does not know that, President Buhari and the military have long degraded and defeated Boko Haram in the Northeast and Borno state in particular. It is demeaning and an unacceptable way of trying to undermine the sacrifices of the Nigerian military in quelling terrorism in the Northeast. It is unkind and callous. Yet, I think, Sen. Aji is one of the few persons in Borno state who have enjoyed the tremendous support of our people, to rise to leadership eminence at the national level. Apart from serving a term as Senator, Aji was a Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on National Assembly Matters. But he knows nothing about our plight and tribulations because it is the least of his problems, insofar as he is safe with his family, nothing else matters, he continues to spew rubbish.
For past three years, Sen. Aji disappeared into a self-inflicted political oblivion. He has now bounced back because he is angling to succeed Governor Kashim Shettima in 2019, on the platform of the APC. I feel nothing is wrong with his decision, because everyone has the right to contest for any elective office. And he is welcomed. But what I deem unacceptable and irresponsible, is for Aji to contemplate an open insult and mockery of the plight of our people, to the extent of exploiting their vulnerability to poverty and misery caused by terrorism to service his political ambition. He detached himself from Borno State and abandoned the people to their fate for years, believing that Boko Haram which he conspired with other political leaders to impose on our people, and nursed into near untamable monsters could not be defeated.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian military, have proved him wrong and made us proud by finally decimating and defeating Boko Haram terrorism. Though, the pains, the sorrows, the agonies and scars of terrorism are still with us.
And leaders like Sen. Aji should be the last to stand up today to demand another round of leadership from the people and worse still anchoring campaigns on terrorism. I challenge Sen. Aji to tell us what he did to end the bitter terrorism in Borno state, even when he was very close to the Presidential aide in the capacity of an Adviser.
Sen. Aji’s verbal eruptions are unconscionable and completely in dissonance with common sense. It is strange for him to think that, we have forgotten this so soon, that he was an integral part of the clan of leaders who brought terrorism to us. They ensured that, we were rendered completely prostrate before terrorists until the Buhari’s Presidency came to our rescue.
May I remind Sen. Aji once again, that terrorists have not just been degraded, but also defeated. What we are experiencing in the Northeast, Borno inclusive is the fruitful clearance operations, to rout out remnants of terrorists, conducted by the Nigerian Army.
I have no doubt that Sen. Aji is now back, to politically benefit from the prevailing peace and woes of our people in Borno state, as well as other states in the region, which were formerly under the firm grip of Boko Haram. But it can only be sensible for Aji to use a new narrative to hoodwink the people during campaigns, than resort to the terrorism narrative. And to sufficiently underscore his ignorance about terrorism, Aji does not even know the new song in town on terrorism. He does not know that the focus now, is how to solve the enormous humanitarian crisis confronting our people occasioned by terrorism.
A sensible leader should be thinking of ways to launch and initiate schemes to develop the hundreds of thousands of unemployed youths. They are the people he abandoned after series of unfulfilled promises and a failed representation, which only catered for his personal gains.
Neglect of youths was one of the reasons that exposed them to the temptation and mercy of the recruitment machinery of terrorists, who freely recruited them for such evil and atrocious acts. He shall please himself to launch schemes that would keep the youths meaningfully busy and halt any further recruitment of the youths by insurgents.
Let Sen. Aji know that he is free to wake up from his slumber at any time, after dodging his own people, when they needed him most. But he cannot use Boko Haram to re-launch himself into political limelight. It is an old gimmick and it won’t work. It is distasteful and inconsistent with reality. Terrorism has been defeated by President Muhammadu Buhari and it will never rise again.
Abba wrote from Opposite Status Hotel, Lagos Street, Maiduguri.