“They wrote, in the old days, that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in the modern day there is nothing sweet and fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason”. Ernest Hemmingway. (VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS p 267).
Just for a start, let me very quickly point out one of the consequences of the increasing declaration of impending war by sages and fools in Nigeria; for no other reason than the fact that I am an economist. And, “The economist, like anyone else, must concern himself with the ultimate aim of man”, said the father of classical economics, Alfred Marshall, 1842-1924.
We are a “rich-and-poor” nation; meaning that seventy percent of our people need not live in poverty. But, all our leaders, without exception, especially since the discovery of oil at Oloibiri, had conspired to make themselves rich and the vast majority of us poor.
It has never been worse than now. Unfortunately, war threatens the little we have built up as well as the potential for future growth by putting a halt to new investments and encouraging capital flight – which often means divestment. So, before the noise gets louder, government, first, and those proclaiming imminent war, must be made aware of one of the most devastating consequences of their pronouncements. War means destruction, of what had been built the stifling of the potential for further development. Whatever else does not happen, when war occurs, it will set us back indeterminable number of years.
Now let me provide a short list of important individuals who have mentioned the possibility of war; not just because they are high profile, but because they represent demographic blocks whose common belief in the possibility of war, if continued could result in a self-fulfilling prophesy engulfing the rest of us. Let me state, up-front, that I hope and pray that our situation in Nigeria does not degenerate to another war.
It will be too devastating for words. Unlike the 1967-1970 Civil War, this will be a war without front lines. In virtually every zone of Nigeria, there are ethnic, communal conflicts which are just waiting for a total breakdown in government control to erupt into all out sectional wars. To state that the security forces are overwhelmed is to state the obvious, and, perhaps to understate their perplexity and loss of control of the situation in Nigeria today.
Even, the village idiot now knows that genocidal individuals, pyromaniacs, and mindless destroyers now have the advantage over the security forces and peace loving Nigerians. Open any newspaper, any day, anywhere in Nigeria today and the most constant news report starts with “Gunmen kill…….”.
Until a few months ago, the Federal Government would respond to such incidents by promising to ensure that the “perpetrators are brought to book”, or words to that effect. Today, Reuben Abati just announces that government condemns the killings.
Even they now know that it is now totally impossible to bring to justice all the perpetrators of murders and genocide. All those who have died since 2011, for various reasons, have died “like dogs for no good reason”. That is bad enough.
The reason we are inching closer to the brink of war is the most frightening part of all. It is difficult enough when a government is faced with war from a declared enemy threatening the corporate existence of the nation. It is quite another thing when the government and some of its top government officials, and political allies, are double agents fighting on many sides of the multiple wars.
When President Jonathan announced, in his characteristic “innocence”, that there are “Boko Haram members within the cabinet”, without at the same time launching a security manhunt for those spies within high government circles, he had done more than enough to undermine the efforts of the Joint Task Force.
I challenge anyone to go and read any book about the operations of the CIA, KGB or MI5/MI6, and you will discover that the first task of the nation’s top security officers, starting with the President or Prime Minister, is to track down the enemies within the corridors of power.
Each spy in the cabinet is worth more than 10,000 armed men; because he could get up to that number of the armed forces and civilians eliminated by providing vital information to the enemy. The minute Jonathan felt that he had spies in his cabinet is when he should have dissolved that cabinet. Otherwise, he might as well invite Boko Haran leaders to his cabinet meetings….
OKAH CONVICTION: BLAMING THE JUDICIARY UNFAIRLY
“When all think alike; none thinks very much”. Walter Lippmann, 1889-1974.
Perhaps on no other subject, in recent history, has the media, especially the print media, been so overwhelmingly wrong than on the blanket condemnation of the Nigerian judiciary for the failure to convict Okah and other alleged terrorists. For once, respected columnists, regular contributors and whole editorial boards simply allowed heads to go to sleep while sentiments took over.
Otherwise, it is difficult to imagine why so many, ordinarily lucid individuals should have fallen into the trap of accusing the nation’s judiciary of not convicting individuals who had not been brought before a Nigerian court of law for their cases to be decided. I even suspect that the, mostly successful, attempt to shift the blame from the Executive branch to the Judiciary must have been master-minded by the former in order to escape public criticism for its failure once again.
The first question to ask any of those blasting the Nigerian judiciary is: has Okah been brought before any Nigerian court to be tried? The answer, of course, is NO. So how can any court in Nigeria be accused of not convicting Okah when he is not accused before them?
The second question is the more interesting one and it is the one that exposes the ignorance, mischief or rascality of the Nigerian media on this issue. Why is Okah not an accused before a Nigerian court and why despite the fact that there is sufficient evidence to link him to the crimes, for which he was convicted in South Africa, the Federal government of Nigeria did not request for his extradition to face trial here?
Admittedly, that is a long question. But, try and split it and you will begin to understand that the Executive branch of the Nigerian government, because somebody has something to hide, never wanted Okah in Nigeria. He knows too much about those who master-minded all those kidnappings, bombings, oil pipe line vandalisations and acts of sabotage, for which amnesty was granted, than to be allowed to state them in the Nigerian court.
More to the point,Okah could not possibly be convicted in Nigeria for the October 1, 2010 bombing in Abuja because the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, had damaged the prosecutor’s case irredeemably. The President as Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, C-I-C, is also the nation’s Chief Security Officer.
Jonathan is on record – electronic, print etc – shortly after the blast, in which several people lost their lives, stating categorically, that MEND was not involved, that “we know those who are behind this”; or words to that effect. Even a fresh graduate of the Nigerian Law School would have had no difficulty obtaining a “no case submission” after what the President said (I am straining myself to be polite). In fact, it is the Presidency which has made it impossible to prosecute the case and without prosecution, a court cannot just declare someone guilty just to please the mob which the media has become in this instance.