As the war against Boko Haram intensifies, the perception that it is wedged by disaffected and jobless youths who oppose and hate Western Education is becoming pedestrian. The sophistication of the command and operational structures of Boko Haram leaves no one in doubt about this reality. The weapons deployed to commit the ongoing pogrom appear to have been acquired and brought to the war zones through a complicated network. It is hard to believe that a conflict of this magnitude can occur without a complex network of individuals and organizations supporting Boko Haram’s criminal war effort. It may be reasonably suggested that it is a political establishment serving distinct interests in Nigeria and Cameroon. In Nigeria, it has never sought ransom for the many victims it has abducted. In Cameroon although officially classified as a nebulous or illusive enemy, it has turned abduction for ransom into a lucrative business.
Boko Haram in Nigeria is a child of Nigerian history and the impunity of Northern Nigeria’s Military establishment. Armed conflict is part of Nigeria history. It is also a business which has enriched many. People including generations unborn learn from history. The savaged brutality meted on civilians and civilian objects in Nigeria pre-exist Boko Haram. These acts of impunity were some of the methods deployed by successive military regimes, most of them from Northern Generals to accede and sustain power. The ongoing slaughter by Boko Haram follows the same pattern which in 1966 led to the Nigeria/Biafra War. The underlying cause of the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Southerners, mainly of the Ibo ethnic groups in the North was never comprehensively investigated, if at all. There is no gainsaying that had the crimes been investigated, the result would have pointed to some powerful individuals within the Nigerian Military structure of Northern origin. For these, political power and control of the economy could only be attained through scapegoating communities whom they perceived as serious competitors.
The Nigerian/Biafra War was a curse on the conscience of the nation but a blessing to the Northern Military establishment. Many of these Generals made fortunes from the war and took the opportunity to entrench themselves in power. Olusegun Obasanjo like Good luck Jonathan came to power during that period as a beneficiary of the sad spoils of death. They were considered outsiders or trespassers to their god ordained power. For this reason, the country had to be made ungovernable to prove them and any person outside the North unfit to defend the constitutional order, national cohesion and republican values. Under these dire circumstances, the Northern Military establishment, their feudal and religious confederacy would step in and take back power through democratic or other means. This is the rationale of the unfolding drama in the election taking place on 14 February 2015.
The culture of impunity and unchecked state supervised criminality against civilians during military rule under the Northern Military establishment in Nigeria was unprecedented. This is the culture of impunity that gave birth to claims for Sharia States in some Northern states and coordinated attacks against Christians in Northern Nigeria. The sharia claims emerged only when Olusegun Obasanjo a Christian from the West was elected as the first democratic President of Nigeria after Military rule. The political motivation for this move using religion a lethal weapon was not lost on keen observers of Nigerian politics nor to the Southern Military establishment and politicians or even Obasanjo. The hidden hand of his military peers from the North behind these acts of destabilization was obvious. This did not happen during the military rule dominated by the Northern Military establishment so also the so-called Fulani herdsmen slaughter of Christians and burning of Christian Churches in the North and the Middle Belt.
Like the slaughter of Christians by supposed Fulani Cattle men, Boko Haram by another name occurred on the watch of Obasanjo and became a full blown insurgency under Jonathan. Surprisingly the reaction by the Northern Military Power establishment has so far been muted, timid, if any all. This raises serious questions concerning their alleged involvement or support of the war effort deployed by the government. On the contrary, many of them have been strongly suspected short of cogent proof of supporting, the Boko Haram insurgency for political purposes. This strong suspicion arises from a number of factors, among which are their unwillingness to deploy their profound military experiences to combat and defeat Boko Haram. Some of these are, their knowledge of the Boko Haram recruiting and operational environment, their access and capacity to access vital intelligence required to combat the insurgency and their proven military prowess during the Biafra war in which crimes bordering on genocide were sanctioned and perpetrated with impunity.
It has so far not been reasonably explained why retired Generals, all involved in some way in active politics would sit by while a monstrous criminal insurgency devastates their backyard and decide not to assist in the war effort by the government. The ongoing campaign for the February 14 election in Nigeria has brought one fact to the attention of even the jaundiced eye: If Buhari, a senior member of the Northern Military political establishment wins the elections, the insurgency may lose its relevance because the power this military-political establishment might have been seeking through it would have been attained by other means. Failing this, the violence will continue and the loss of life and limb will persist until other methods of attaining power supposedly to safeguard national cohesion will be laid out and implemented.