Commentary: Boko Haram and Their Presidential Candidate
There is uncertainty in the air today. The ghostly wind of 2015 powered by the supposed United States prediction of the end of Nigeria is feared to be blowing in an increasingly more realistic manner – too real to be ignored – especially by the frightened segments of the Nigerian population who expect more of the mass slaughter of innocent souls staged by the aggrieved supporters of the failed Congress for Progressive Change [CPC] presidential candidate, General Mohammadu Buhari in 2011 to repeat itself in 2015. To the frightened non-Muslims, 2015 poses another chance for the aggrieved killers to present ‘their’ candidate against the President in a rematch.
As a caveat, it is not news why the political and/or religious miscreants and hired thugs took to the streets in the several northern states of Nigeria to simultaneously commence the slaughter of southerners and non—Muslims. The reasons behind the slaughter is one most Nigerians prefer not talking about for fear of reigniting the ugly and volatile nature of our unionship – along with the underlined structured and historic injustices. The reason is not farfetched. The leadership in the north professes the ‘born to rule’ mantra – that will see them forever rule the country for as long as Nigeria remains with the present geographical makeup. Anything short results in mass uproar and bloodshed – as in 2011.
The main quandary points to whether the simultaneous slaughter of southerners and non-Muslims across the several states in the north were orchestrated? And if they were orchestrated, who managed and financed the orchestration? Was the simultaneous slaughtering in Kano, Bauchi and other northern states merely spontaneous? And why did the ‘spontaneous’ slaughter continue beyond the Election Day? Was it being fanned? Who was fanning it? Could it have been either of the then presidential candidates [President Goodluck Jonathan and General Mohammadu Buhari] that were managing the violence?
Better yet, who may have promised bloodshed on Election Day? And who among the then candidates called for a halt in the ongoing slaughter? Were the culprits ever brought to justice? Could the culprits be the same as the dreaded Jihadists who parade themselves today as Boko Haram? Could they have been working for their candidate, the boko haram candidate? What will be their mission come February 14, 2015? Will they still work for their candidate as in 2011? Who is the Boko Haram presidential candidate?
In one of the campaign thump speeches by one of the presidential candidates in 2011, he spoke in one of the popular northern vernacular languages, calling on his highly emotional followers who were gathered in their thousands at a stadium in one of the northern states, to kill anyone who tries to stop them from getting their wish. To an impartial observer, the speech had a striking resemblance to that of Shekau, the leader of the dreaded Jihadist group, the boko haram – in its tone and promise of bloodshed.
The speech which was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube and made available to many online newspapers, shocked many southerners who had never seen a presidential candidate speak with such a ‘Jihadists’ and/or violent language. As the same candidate ranted on, he held what appeared to resemble a spear up in the air to depict the mood of his speech and his seriousness to inflict harm on his political opponent and supporters. This was while the other presidential candidate canvassed the many regions of the nation in 2011 telling sad stories of his elementary school days being shoeless and cashless.
Between 2011 and 2015, the killing fields expanded from the mere post-election day slaughtering to full fledge killings on virtually daily basis across more northern states. But these killings were more different. They were labeled differently. The killings were tagged. They were Boko Haram – and not mere supporters of any particular political candidate. Their new label afforded them a new independent identity – with an independent ideology. But did their quest to hoist a particular presidential candidate really change?
It will be a foolish exercise figuring out if their determination for a particular candidate has waned – because the identity of the Buhari supporters who killed and maimed in 2011 may never be known. It would also never be known whether those killers were the same violent killers of today who now go by the name boko haram. It would remain uncertain also whether they were already members of the boko haram prior to the killings of 2011.
So as the 2015 presidential contest draws nearer to the February 14, 2015 date, the noxious fears of 2011 also draw ever so near to the nerves and spines of many southerners and non-Muslims – of what is to become of the unidentified killers who’s previous actions have shown their propensity to wreak havoc and cause bloodshed should their choice candidate not be declared the winner of the contest.
Deciphering the identities of these unknown killers has, in effect, become the most puzzling task that continues to threaten the might of Nigeria and her resources, and most importantly her people. It is a sad reality but for the President of the federal republic of Nigeria and the wary security agencies, untangling this potent quagmire remains germane. So long as the true identity of the 2011 culprits, their masters and political leaders remain unmasked, the true identity of Boko Haram and their masters will remain but a fleeting illusion to be pursued and never attained.
Previously published by Union Newspaper