For all it may be worth, Saturday December 24, 2016 saw to the fall of the dreaded Sambisa Forest to the superior firepower of the Federal troops. As a highly elated President Muhammadu Buhari himself announced to Nigerians the routing of the terror sect, Boko Haram from its stronghold, Nigerians from all walks of life hailed our gallant troops for the feat. We at The AUTHORITY join millions of our compatriots to celebrate our Armed Forces, the Police and the Civilian Joint Task Force for the success of Operation Lafiya Dole in the crushing of Camp Zero and capturing the symbolic flag of the sect. Yet, for us, we believe the euphoria should end there. Even as winning the war does not tantamount to winning the peace, we believe the war itself has not been won not until we reflect on what brought the war about and our collective failure to unite against the insurgency in the first place. The APC-controlled central government should not make the mistake of calving a fief for itself or making any political capital of the purported fall of the Boko Haram sect. While we urge Nigerians to give our soldiers a pat on the back for a job well done, our political class should bury its face in shame.
We recall that in 2013, in the wake of the move by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan to outlaw Boko Haram, a section of the political class, especially the opposition hue, which incidentally is ruling the country today demonstrated its lamentable lack of political sagacity and sophistication. No sooner had Jonathan announced the ban on the organisation variously described as a terrorist group due to its mode of operation and monumental havoc on lives and property than politicians who took pleasure in deploring any action taken by the government, went to town condemning the decision. Nigerians were ghastly at the infantile and vulgar antics of those who tried to manipulate a development that posed a threat to the corporate existence of Nigeria for cheap political goals.
At a time when terrorism was abruptly ringing down the curtain on a remarkably carefree and indubitably uncharacteristic era in modern Nigerian history, it was unthinkable that those who claimed to be more patriotic than other Nigerians could openly support such a murderous enterprise. We recall that amidst the heat of the 09/11/01 attack on the South Tower of the World Trade Centre, Americans were fused into incandescent unity despite ideological, religious and political differences in condemning and combatting the attack. But it is worrisome to note that in Nigeria every threat to our nation from whatever angle is subjected to banal political expediency. If it was not the repeatedly troubled and self-destruct then ruling party, the PDP, trying its coarse hands on scaremongering, it would be any of the opposition parties brazenly trying to oppose everything imaginable action of the Federal Government.
Indeed, the argument from certain quarters then that the Boko Haram sect was not registered and as such could not be banned was as barren as it was spurious and fallacious. Trapped in a tightening vise of insecurity, Nigerians were beginning to guess that the sponsors of the murderous fantasy might not be too far to seek. They began to wonder whether the Mafia organisation that threatened the peace and security of Italy many decades ago was a registered outfit before the Italian government declared war against it. One of the strategies to contain a monstrous organisation is to outlaw it. Therefore, to fight Boko Haram legitimately you must first proscribe it so that anyone that identifies with it could be seen as enemy of the state. This is what the APC was kicking against in 2013 not knowing that it was just a matter of two years for it to become the ruling party. An organisation whose members kill and destroy lives and property does not need to be a legal entity before it is proscribed. Those playing politics with Boko Haram were trivializing our national security.
It is disturbing that the security agencies have not been able to expose the sponsors of the group and unravel the enigma embedded in their operations. It is now we understand that drumming support for Boko Haram either directly of indirectly has grave consequences for our economy . While we commend the level of political maturity exhibited by the leading opposition party, the PDP for showing solidarity with President Buhari and the military for dislodging Boko Haram from Sambisa Ferest, we note that there is an alarming lack of sincerity on the part of the political class. Members of the ruling party, the APC, are yet to manifest a better intellectual and emotional bearing and creative approaches to our national challenges. If in victory you are not showing magnanimity and contentment to the defeated, would you have set the whole country ablaze if you had lost the election? The fall of the Sambisa Forest should therefore be seen as an opportunity for sober reflection. Why did we come to this sorry pass? How do we stop creating a dangerous class that would ultimately challenge our future? How do we identify a common enemy and stop playing politics with it? Is the Boko Haram roundly defeated? If yes, how do we win the peace and prevent another vicious group from posing a threat to our national or collective existence?