Between Zulum, the Military and the People
By Kabir Nizam Baba
AREWA AGENDA – The Military, Police, Civilian Joint Task Force, Hunters and Volunteers on one hand and the government of Borno State under the stewardship of His Excellency Professor Babagana Umara Zulum on the other hand have both made deliberate, colossal and comprehensive contributions by their concerted efforts and sacrifices to bring an end to the menace of insecurity under the guise of insurgency and terrorism which bedeviles the Northeastern part of Nigeria. With Borno State been the receipient of the hardest hit for over a decade now.
Between June and September 2019, Borno State government was reported to have donated 160 patrol vehicles to volunteers and the security agencies. Early January this year, after commending the military and other security agencies for their sacrifice in battling Boko Haram in the state, the governor donated 70 Patrol vehicles to the Nigerian Army, Police, Civilian JTF and hunters to support the fight against insurgency.
In February 2020, the governor declared Monday, February 24th, as a special fasting and prayer day against Boko Haram terrorists. This was to add to the efforts of the military and volunteer forces. For it has proven over time that certain vices need spiritual interventions to make the human efforts yield any result.
In March 2020, the governor visited the Brigadier Maimalari Barracks to sympathise with the military, particularly the families of the dozens of slain soldiers killed during an attack earlier on at Gorgi village in Yobe state. He further donated half a million Naira in cash to each family, directed that a list of all widows therewith be compiled with each identifying a small scale business and a bank account so that the govt can transfer startups for them.
Recently on July 29th, the governor’s convoy was attacked en route Baga town. Calling the act a sabotage, the governor publicly blamed the command structure of the military for the “embarrassing” scene. Even at that, the governor promised to supply 6 bulls and other food stuff for the Soldiers and officers to celebrate their Sallah festival that was three days away.
The most recent epic event mentioned above gave birht to a perennial controversy, or if you like it, perennial lines of reasoning such that a camp believes that the governor’s public outrage upon the men of the military is absolutely and utterly unjustifiable so much so that they think it is ultimately capable of straining the hitherto imperfect relationship that exists between the two ‘entities’ which may eventually set them at loggerheads.
According to them, what the military and others at the Frontline need is motivation and cover as against the disparaging and depreciating remarks they receive. This, so that what remains in them of the abysmally low morale won’t be washed down the drain. For we’ve recently witnessed with dismay, how some of these brave men have succumbed to an inner pressure to submit their resignations from the service of the nation in hundreds. Men, women and officers of the armed forces, civilian joint task forces and hunters deserted the comforts of their families and homes, trade their lives, good health and freedom, exhaust their youthful ages for all of us, including his Excellency, to have the serenity and peace we all yearn.
The other camp on the flipside reasons that the governor’s comments are in line, and should be applauded for that. Asserting that as the chief security officer of the state, the governor is abreast with reports on the state of affairs and is more practical with ‘realities’ by his often unannounced visits to the arena.
This camp believes that the turmoil has overstayed its welcome and the time is ripe for its departure forever. It is their opinion that the pragmatic approach and hands-on-deck style of the governor is what the nation needs to tackle the abyss of security bedeviling it. They put forth the proposition that chief security officers and relevant authorities should take the pain of visiting the arena themselves to corroborate (and ascertain) the reports and briefings on the successful manhunts, backlashes and technical developments they are fed with in their offices. Of course not the behind-the-desk, observant, report-consuming type. The camp opines with vim and vigour that the governor is doing just that, and more positive results await the approach.
The current writer is at best, a distant observer who follows on the events as they unfold. Hence, he finds it beyond his competence to take a stand, talk more of voicing it out through this medium. Notwithstanding, he feels that the reader may incisively desecrate the above arguments, flesh the skeleton of the one he finds most logical with more cogent reasons, marry them with his wealth of experience and finally take a thoughtful position.
It is my hope and prayer that those at the helm of affairs in our nation find and employ the best surmounting approach to timeously and wholly get us out of the woods to the peaceful nation of our melancholic craving. For I have long subscribed to the hackneyed adage that when two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers!
Kabir Nizam Baba writes from Bauchi State
Arewa Agenda is a Publication of Young Writers from Northern Nigeria towards Peaceful Coexistence and National Development through positive narratives.