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Is Gov. Zulum And Borno State Assembly, The True Enemies Of Nigerians? – By Thomas Uzah PhD

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The Armed Forces of Nigeria and its gallant troops fighting Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists in the northeast Nigeria, are not anybody’s weeping child. Officers, Soldiers ratings and airmen and women who are making enormous sacrifices for the peace and unity of Nigeria, day and night cannot be disparaged, ridiculed or diminished by Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum and his surrogates or proxies at the Borno State House of Assembly.

Gov. Zulum and the state lawmakers cannot subject the Nigerian Army, the brave and courageous troops in the frontlines to any myopic slight. Sustainably, Prof. Zulum has mastered the act of slight, vilification, denigration and defamation of the Nigerian Army and troops in the frontlines since he became Governor of Borno state.

Often, he unjustly upbraids troops in the frontlines in a tenor which only passes the test of a demented fellow. He has spewed every inanity in blaming soldiers and every other person, except himself, for the unabated scourge of Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorism, which only reigns in Borno state now. Suspiciously, the same Gov. Zulum has refused to tell Nigerians why Borno State remains the only state harbouring terrorists in the country in such magnitude.

Zulum has never spared a minute to reflect on his lapses and inactions for the intermittent resurgents of terrorism in his state. He delights in playing to the gallery to earn public applauses. The Governor has never harkened to the serial and consistently publicized pleas by various groups and eminent personalities to convoke a summit of all stakeholders to dialogue on Boko Haram terrorists and their nefarious activities for some inexplicable reasons. As we all know, military actions alone have never ended terrorism anywhere in the world; but Gov. Zulum has abstinately ignored the needful in such a manner that defied human reasoning.

The Armed Forces of Nigeria and in particular, the Nigerian Army, under the able leadership of the Lieutenant General TY Buratai have been doing a marvellous job in the counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts of this great nation. They have been doing so professionally and diligently, devoid of sentiments or partiality. The Armed Forces of Nigeria are not politicians, but professional soldiers and they have remained true to type for the benefit of our democracy, national unity, safety and security . It is therefore inexplicable for Governor Zulum and cahoots in Borno State House of Assembly to infuse politics into the counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts of this country through myopic and petty sentiments to score a needless point by singling out of a police officer for recognition and honour, thus dragging the image of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies into disrepute by portraying them as unworthy for such gesture.

No one would suffer any nightmare, if Gov. Zulum decides to bring his name and the exalted office he holds in public trust into disrepute by honouring the commander of the disbanded FSARS, CSP Ibrahim Mohammed. But is it inexcusable, absolute miscalculation, absurd, senseless and demeaning for Gov. Zulum to instruct and supervise the honouring of the Ex-commander of the scrapped FSARS and tie the reasons to his “enormous” impacts in the fight against Boko Haram merely to spite and slight troops in the warfront?

With this act, we hope that the Governor is not proving observers right about ethnic coloration of the Boko Haram terrorists saga. Regardless of bias and sentiments, that’s not how to slight soldiers who are spending sleepless nights in the trenches, forests and swamps of Borno state to give Nigerians peace and security and defend them from Boko Haram/ ISWAP terrorism. Quite curiously, Gov. Zulum never acknowledged the so-called gallantry of the FSARS commander and his team, while his “impactful salvaging” actions on the counter-insurgency lasted.

But Zulum only remembers to adore the FSARS Ex-commander with garlands, months and probably, years after these imaginary acts of bravery and at a time the FGN proscribed this discredited unit of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). It is a resentful misstep for Gov. Zulum to inject his pro-FSARS partisan campaigns into the security arena in his state and the Northeast at large.

Gov. Zulum can be a pro-FSARS campaigner or its apostle, but no one gives a honk. But it is not acceptable for Zulum to continue to undermine the integrity, professionalism and sterling efforts of our gallant troops in the frontlines, many of whom have paid the supreme price only to be rewarded with such callous insults from the political leadership of Borno State.

Some Nigerian politicians are truly shameless. It is confounding and infantile hypocrisy that Zulum would today chant eulogies of FSARS and their alleged effectiveness on the anti-terrorism combats. But it was only yesterday, the same Gov. Zulum blamed soldiers for the attack on his convoy; he didn’t remember to call his super-hero, the FSARS commander. Whenever Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists sneak an attack on any village in Borno, Zulum does not call his super-hero to rise to the occasion, but the Nigerian soldiers he love to hate.

And a few days ago, and before the disbandment of FSARS, Gov. Zulum who has turned a military and warfare expert, sent a public advice to the Nigerian Army, asking them to take the war to the doorstep of the insurgents. It was not the super-commander or super cop of the outlawed FSARS he summoned to the task. There is no scintilla of doubt now that Zulum knows everything hidden about the resurgent terrorism in Borno, but he is not telling Nigerians.

However, plainly, Gov. Zulum must be reminded that he knows nothing about the matrix of terrorism warfares or else, he would have recalled that Gen. Buratai launched the Super Camp strategy in the counter-insurgency operations since 2019. What is Zulum’s understanding of this warfare strategy to now mouth about taking the war to the doorstep of the insurgents? He did not give the advice to his super cop?

Some people are under the delusive illusion of knowing everything under the sun and Gov. Zulum is a classic example. It is now very discernible and glaring, Gov. Zulum’s unpretentious subversion of the counter-insurgency war. His demeaning and disreputable public howls on troops in the frontlines are carefully designed gimmicks to veil his shadows of sabotage in the counter-insurgency operations. It is not surprising that some experts are calling for a state of emergency in the state.

The Governor must understand certain things clearly. Nigerians will not tolerate myopic and teleguided politicians like Zulum to distract soldiers fighting the Boko Haram insurgency by infusing dangerous politics into security matters. Again, no one nurses any grouse against honouring anybody who works hard towards national or even community development! There is no envy of whatever hue.

But Zulum’s honour to the disbanded FSARS commander is different and drapes with insidiously destructive undertones! Certainly, there’s more to it than meets the eye in the honour extended to the disbanded FSARS chief in Borno, for his alleged contribution towards taming the Boko Haram menace. There are a few posers for Gov. Zulum and his bunch of co-travellers in the State Assembly.

Firstly, when has the Borno State Government or any of its institutions ever deemed it worthy to honour gallant troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, particularly those gallant officers of Nigerian Army and other sister security agencies in this honourable manner, for their extraordinary gallantry and sacrifices in the theatre of war against insurgency? Could it have been an oversight or a deliberate indifference by Zulum as today’s unfolding events have justified?

In truth, did it genuinely escape the mind of Gov. Zulum that this sort of selective treatment is not capable of demoralizing the gallant troops, that have continued to make sacrifices in defence of their fatherland? Really, what’s the underlying motive behind this ‘coveted’ honour extended to the former SARS Chief on the floor of hollowed chambers of the Borno State House of Assembly?

Is this so-called honour not really aimed at mocking and undermining the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security agencies sacrificing daily in the fight against the Boko Haram terrorists all these years, with the unuttered statement, but loudly expressed in the action of the honour to the FSARS commander, aligning excellence in the war on terror to the discredited and disbanded police outfit? With this publicized action and the impression emanating from it, is it not wise counsel for Mr. President to unban FSARS and deploy all its members to the warfront in the northeast, withdraw the Armed Forces and other security agencies from the Borno State?

The worse plague among a people is the politicization of serious security issues. Gov. Zulum and the Borno State Assembly have wittingly indulged in this mess. Borno communities under the menace of insurgency are really unfortunate. Whilst they look afar for the enemy tormenting their lives; their greatest enemies are in-house as symbolized by Gov. Zulum and the State Legislature. In the twosome, lies the perfect imagery of saboteurs of the counter-insurgency operations who have weaponized every instrument to ensure Boko Haram insurgency persists in the state.

Uzah PhD is head of department, Mass Communication, Kwararafa University Wukari.

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Opinion

DJ Switch And Blood of the Innocent – By Sunday Attah

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Obianuju Catherine Udeh, also known as DJ switch indeed attempted to steal the limelight when she purportedly live-streamed the incident that took place at the Lekki Tollgate some days back. I recall that she became the reference point wherein she alleged that over 78 people were killed. And as usual, the whole country went to town with this number alleging massacre, genocide against the youths and all manners of words were used to describe the Nigerian Army.

I had suspected the mischief in DJ Switch all along but lacked the facts to prove my point due to the sensationalisation of the whole event. But my time came when she recently came out to clarify issues and this time around introducing another twist.

DJ Switch has all of a sudden switched the number of people that were massacred from 78 to 15, as a fact, she stated that there was a young boy that indeed shielded her from the bullets of the soldiers and he dropped dead.

DJ Switch, in her recent outing, was a bag of contradiction and unintelligence so much so that I wondered how she was able to make a fool of the whole country and still has the nerves to further insult our sensibilities by claiming that aside from the soldiers that were at the Lekki Tollgate, there were also about 45 SARS operatives that came and were shooting at peaceful protesters.

She also stated that they carried the corpses of those that were killed and gave them to the soldiers who loaded them into their vans and drove away. I am indeed speechless because this movie that DJ Switch produced would go down in history as the movie with the highest subscription.

As a start, there was pandemonium and people were running for safety after the lights went off. There were gunshots in the air, and all others scampered for safety except the lead actor in the movie, DJ Switch whose role at the time was to be counting the number of dead bodies before her battery went dead.

It is also assumed that she has some supernatural protection that made her dust the bullets that were fired into the crowd and felling people and she was counting. And the climax of it all is the fact that she was so brave amid pandemonium to lift dead bodies to where the trucks of the soldiers were, which they eventually loaded into their trucks and zoomed off.

Again, these people that were killed are aliens that dropped from the sky with no relations or family. I also suppose Eniola Badmus was also amongst those that were dead before she resurrected.

I do think that the overarching aim was to score cheap popularity, not minding the consequences of her actions. What DJ Switch succeeded in doing was fooling everyone with fake news. I am constrained to add that probably she was amongst those conscripted by those powerful forces against Nigeria to heat the polity with falsehood, which they succeeded in doing hence the outpour of emotions from wide and far, including outside the shores of Nigeria.

This action by DJ Switch is not only despicable, it is also worse than genocide because for somebody to deliberately spread lies that is capable of setting the country ablaze and she sees no qualms with it is indicative of a motive that is worse than genocide.

We must also remember how. Radio-Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), One Thousand Hills Free Radio, incited the genocide that claimed over eight hundred thousand lives during a hundred days in 1994. I would assume that was the model DJ Switch and her sponsors wanted to adopt in Nigeria because if that wasn’t the case, how could one be able to do live streaming if indeed bullets were being fired into the crowd.

In my opinion, that was meant to spark an ethno-religious conflict in Nigeria because the overarching aim was to paint a picture of the victims as from a particular ethnicity in Nigeria and this would lead to reprisal attacks across the country.

DJ Switch indeed has to apologise to Nigerians for selling her soul to the demon in return for a plate of porridge. Not just that she also has a moral burden to tell Nigerians why she elected to spread falsehood and who her sponsors are. I think this is necessary to put the records straight.

I am afraid that the likes of DJ Switch dots the nook and cranny of Nigeria and are prowling looking for the perfect opportunity to instigate violence by spreading fake news. I think at the point, Nigerians do not need to look further for proponents of fake news because they are those who would take selfies during protests dramatising how they support a cause, but in truth, they are only acting the script of their paymasters.

The proponents of fake news are also those that would live stream events when the supposed bullets are flying around and bringing people down but them because they have the powers to dodge live bullets.

DJ Switch must as also realise that the blood of the innocent people that lost their lives as a result of her misdeeds would continue to haunt her and her paymasters. And this is what happens when people betray their God-given gender for anything else that pleases them, and when they know that evil has occupied them like a house.

Indeed the whole world was fooled by DJ Switch, whose primary mission was to cause a crisis of unimaginable proportion. I can bet that we shall soon hear from her again with regards to the number of dead persons she counted. Maybe this time, it would be 10 and no longer 15.

Attah is just trying make common sense from Abuja.

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#EndSARS: Listening to President Buhari From a Hater’s Perspective – By Isaac Ikpa

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Unarguably, a few Nigerians take President Muhammadu Buhari for granted, especially, the frustrated elites and their acolytes who are also ignorantly recruited to hate Mr. President. But there is nothing extreme about it. All over the world, leaders are hated by some and loved by others.

To this clan of haters of Buhari, they think in their narrow and shallow minds of being more Nigerian than President Buhari and so, he ought not to be Nigeria’s democratic leader. But since they are not God, Buhari is today Nigeria’s President and shall serve in that capacity until 2023, unless the King of Kings decides otherwise.

Therefore, the wailers and haters decorate him with funny epaulets such as “Baba Go Slow,” “civilian dictator,” “Jubril of Sudan,” “Mr. clueless,” and many others. But these people hardly pay attention to President Buhari’s positive sobriquets such as “Mai Geskiya” or “anti-corruption campaigner” or “Mr. Integrity.” It pains some souls that Buhari is associated with a positive virtue. But it came naturally from Buhari years of expression, strength of character and values of integrity.

Engage these anti-Buhari apostles on social media and take the position of defending President Buhari, his government and populist policies, even the beneficiaries spew terrible insults on your person. An axiom says, God protects the innocent. So, He has never abandoned Buhari for the ravenous wolves to devour. He emerges after every evil plot against him stronger and undistracted.

President Buhari addressed the nation on the aimless and continuing #EndSARS protests, which have turned violent and bloody in some states. He was not only articulate, but exuded wisdom and savvy as a leader. He spoke plainly and bluntly, but told Nigerians the gospel truth. He condemned the beastly actions of the protesters and called a spade, a spade.

The President acknowledged the democratic and constitutional rights of Nigerians to peaceful protests; but strongly abhorred the influenced violence and bloodshed trailing the demonstrations now. Of course, the reported sexual abuses of women, which has also featured in the #EndSARS protests can never qualify as genuine expression of grievances against government. The protests now reek with preconceived and executed criminalities. Mr. President is aware and such insanity cannot be condoned by any responsible government.

Mr. President was firm and resolute that national security cannot be compromised and the demonstrators must also respect the rights of other citizens to go about their legitimate businesses, while they protest peacefully. His message was clear and strong by his assertion that Government’s quick response to the five-point demands of the #EndSARS protesters should not be misconstrued as sign of weakness. Sometimes, a leader must be firm in his decisions.

But perhaps, the perpetrators and sponsors of the violence and bloodbath in the guise of #EndSARS protests may not decode the President properly because they have a devilish agenda, which must be executed by all means. But they are not men enough. They would have rather faced Mr. President directly instead of hiding under a phony protest. That’s a sign of cowardice!

But Buhari’s speech, stunned, amazed and pained his haters. The demonstrators accused President Buhari of a plethora of wrongdoings and neglect of Nigerians. The accusations were further amplified by their elite sponsors very incitingly. But the President’s speech prima facie elucidated, brought to limelight and weakened the arguments of his traducers and haters.

When he reeled out what his administration has done and is still doing for the welfare of Nigerians, particularly youths, women and most vulnerable groups, it shocks many to chilliness.

There have been subsisting unhealthy arguments and quarrels with President Buhari by political elites, the moment he declared that Nigeria’s wealth must be enjoyed by all citizens, especially the majority poor. It raised tantrums and darts were hurled at Buhari by the few elites sitting on a large chunk of Nigeria’s commonwealth. The current violent agitations by some influenced youths you in the name of #EndSARS protests stems from this background. There is an awkward mentality in Nigeria. Once a few wealthy elites are bruised, they feel their anger is representative of every Nigerian.

However, by the revelations in Buhari’s address, most of the proponents and promoters of the violent protests are already aware of the President’s overriding concerns on the empowerment of the citizens and the actions taken; but others are genuinely ignorant of it. But sometimes, its difficult to change the perception and skewed judgment of a foe against you. It is also one of the burdens of leadership.

But which former President of Nigeria can sincerely boast that while in office, and within five years, he launched Farmerman; Tradermoni; Marketmoni; N-Power; N-Tech and N-Agro? These are welfare schemes that have gulped trillions of naira. These are not tales and good-hearted and unbiased Nigerians have attested to it at various times. Some of the #EndSARS protesters are also beneficiaries.

And in the wake of the global Covid-19 pandemic and despite shrinking national revenues, President Buhari launched palliatives. Every state of the federation got Covid-19 palliatives. Some State Governments never bothered about it.

Currently, the Buhari administration is vigorously pursuing a broad-based plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within a span of 10 years; the establishment of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund. And to support it government is paying three months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small and medium enterprises; payment for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission,(CAC); a sumptuous grant of funds to N30,000 to 100,000 artisans; and guarantee of market for the products of traders. Which previous administration in Nigeria can beat this record?

Having been stunned and speechless by the President’s address, the haters and wailers resorted to launch diatribes and upbraids on the President’s manner of presentation. Some claimed, he addressed the nation belatedly; others said, his pronunciation was corrupted. Yet, others said, it was not a live broadcast, but pre-recorded speech. How these arguments are more important than the contents of the message beat the imagination.

And very funnily, some Nigerians said, he delivered the speech while sitting, instead of standing and there were those who said Buhari didn’t speak like America’s President Donald Trump. All manner of trivial things have been conjured and today, it is the main subject of discussion on social media. That’s how unserious a people could become with themselves.

But good enough, President Buhari appealed to the protesters to stage their act peacefully and respect the rights of other citizens. Unlike the unmerited badge that Buhari is dictator, he neither ordered the military to stop the protest nor frowned at the youths on genuine protests; “… but this right to protest also imposes on the demonstrators the responsibility to respect the rights of other citizens, and the necessity to operate within the law. Therefore, it is wishful thinking to abuse the law and seek protection from the same law. That is the meat of the matter.

Ikpa wrote this piece from Abuja.

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Open Letter to Nigeria Political Leaders – By Olaogun Michael Sunkanmi

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Dear Political Leaders,

I write to you as a nation builder, patriotic Nigerian, and as one concerned about the progress of all irrespective of religion, ethnic and political affiliation.

Our country’s situation has its root cause in the repeated failure bequeathed on us and possibly the coming generation by successive administrations.

Leaders’ lifestyle in any society has a direct implication on citizens, whether positively or negatively, and such a lifestyle has brought us on our knees in a sorrowful state. Shall we learn from it?

Undoubtedly, greed and self-centeredness are some of the bad cultures that characterise man’s nature from the beginning. However, it seems that of Africa’s political office holders got raised to the power of a hundred, which also has been taken as the norm by the younger generation.

The cultures mentioned above have sent the lives of many to darkness and glowing stars to oblivion. Where have these cultures led us as a people?

Having studied the lives of leaders(past and present) in other climes, most especially in the western society, have realized that they have in them the culture of self-discipline in terms of what they need but with much priority on the needs of the citizens. Unfortunately, the reverse is the case in this part of the world.
As a concerned patriot, it is important to state that it is in placing citizens’ welfare above yours that you can peacefully enjoy whatever you may have legally acquired.

Equally, the citizens you have sabotaged their destines by siphoning their commonwealth will someday rise against you and also your children.

Let it be known that there is no safe haven anywhere in this digital age. Why not just do good and enjoy perpetual peace in and out of office?

Irrespective of who we are, let contentment be a way of life we must daily embrace so that few will not be a threat to many and vice versa.

May God heal our land. Amen!

Olaogun Michael Sunkanmi
Author of If Africa Will Ever Rise and Co-Founder, Pan Africa Youth Centre for Economic and Political Leadership

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