As a Nigerian, to cast vote in support of General Buhari, the former President in Military Government, will amount to supporting same failed former past President in the coming February 14th Presidential election. He has had the opportunity and, time has moved forward for someone other-than-Buhari to be President. And that someone is the current President; His Excellency, Goodluck Jonathan.
President Jonathan has kept Nigerian Federation together despite provocation and Human Right violations by Boko Haram towards the non-Muslims from the South that call North as their home – as Nigerians. But Boko Haram, with bankrupt ideology of violent extremism, has been waging a war that is quickly starting to appear as ‘shooting the wounded’; a painful reminder of the civil war that is still raw in the minds of so many Nigerians at home and in diaspora.
I want simply to highlight what are at stake for those supporters of BOKO HARAM or their Standard bearer(s) in the coming Presidential Election, to know.
Consider the following costs to Nigerian Federation:
- Think of children denied education, and may remain in the darkest of the mindset possible, and suffer endless depression, with no future of progress and stability; the lost generations!
A policy of “No Child Left Behind” will guarantee better future for Nigeria and deny BOKO HARAM its usual local recruitment base. This is one positive way to limit homegrown terrorists. Education; is one viable weapon against BOKO HARAM.
- Those with health–related issues: brain injuries, amputees, drug addiction; and PTSD sufferers (those traumatized by violence and bloody massacres) – and the cost of long-term psychiatric treatment; could run into billions if not trillion dollars.
- Social and psychological concerns: rape victims and the stigma attached to it. The cost for building facilities for long-lasting rehabilitation and proper staffing arrangement; would be staggering on meager budget currently allocated to Ministry of Health!
- Relations with Nigeria’s neighbors: border disputes (toxic and frosty relationships with neighboring countries); and illegal border crossing would be very uncontrollable.
- The collateral damage done to religious communities and deep distrust generated between Christians and Muslim communities in the North. Very troubling, indeed.
The idea of promoting ‘National Reconciliation’ is very unlikely, as BOKO HARAM is not interested in any peaceful settlement. The conflict is on-going, and sectarian bloodletting which is rising, has resulted in increased numbers of victims with visible and invisible wounds.
BOKO HARAM nor its supporters and sympathizers never imagined these concerns as part and parcel of the consequence for their actions.
I have no illusions about the path BOKO HARAM is pushing our nation. The nightmare scenario, in my opinion, would mean that Nigeria would cease to exist as a true Federation whose government is democratically elected by the standing national constitution. The new government will turn Nigeria into an Islamic State, a government that shows disdain for democratic rules. And Nigeria would quickly be an incubator for terrorists. Its neighbors will become embroiled in perpetual conflict, with extremism and terrorism threatening the region.
Democracy would be replaced by Theocracy, and the law of the land will become Sharia law (as Islamic State) and no longer Civil law as in the constitution since the Independence. There will be no separation of religion and state; a critical tenet of democracy as entrenched in the Nigerian constitution.
Existing Western-based System of Nigeria’s Education would be replaced by Islamic Education. It will be very divisive, dangerous, and hateful to Christians and other minorities who are free to practice their religious beliefs.
In short, such actions have the potential to inflame mutual antagonism and distrust between Christian and Muslim communities.
Because the brand of democracy that Boko Haram is promoting, has its root in Middle East (Arab); government ruled by some clerics, will leave the country with fewer effective political institutions (examples are Somalia and Yemen). And Egypt is an unraveling example of what can happen when religion is mixed with politics; its historical contributions notwithstanding.
Without our current system of government, politics will remain chaotic, inefficient and sclerotic (non transparent).
Sadly, BOKO HARAM has contradicted their belief by their actions. Lacking experience in both domestic and foreign policies, it would be a nightmare to envision what the situation could look like – it will not only, implode but also, explode given the contradictory impulses in foreign policy; loose border activities – simply put, will be a picture of despair, to even entertain a BOKO HARAM-backed Government in power. What is happening in Egypt with Muslim Brotherhood is a graphic example when experimenting with politics and religion.
It is in the Nigerian constitution: “Church and State are, and must remain, separate”. It follows that religious freedom will no longer be permissible under BOKO HARAM-backed administration!
On Human Rights
Civil Law will be replaced by Sharia Law (Islamic Law); that would be divisive and unwelcome in areas that are non-Muslim. The application of corporal punishments that allows amputation of arms for thefts, will contravene human right clause. And inclusion of ‘Quisas’, known as ‘the law of retaliation’, (an Eye for an Eye), would amount to serious breach of human rights according to the Secular law in the Constitution.
Just as a snippet about Sharia Law: It is for Muslim or Islamic. It has a lot to do with Muslim’s and Islamic way of life. It is the moral code and religious law of Islam.
In the West, it is viewed as Medieval, as it clearly and differently applied to men and women. Not treating women as equal to men as in politics, marriage, even in driving a car (Saudi Arabia). A human right issue in reference to equality.
It is important to note that there are other Sects in Islam (Ahmadiyya, Shi’a, Sunni, Sufism), and each with its interpretation of Sharia Law.
Immigration and Border
BOKO HARAM and its activities are a magnate for ‘open border’ crossings, with loss of Nigeria’s natural border, and thus, Nigeria’s Identity. The refugee or the number of displaced people in the nation and into the neighboring countries is staggering.
Those benefiting from illegal border crossings are; criminals, terrorists, Jihadists, Islamists and some Northern Nigerian-based politicians. They follow the trails created by BOKO HARAM to enter and leave Nigeria with impunity. No control at the porous Northern Borders.
This ‘open border’ will lead to massive political backlash.
Nigeria was successful in eradication of polio disease in the past due to effective vaccine management by the Federal Health Ministry, previously. But, recently, WHO (World Health Organization) listed Nigeria with Pakistan and Afghanistan as countries with high incidence of polio disease!
The return of Polio to Nigeria is from illegal immigrants crossing into Nigeria from Northern borders. Secondly, it will be difficult to implement any ‘Reproductive Health Law’ in Nigeria due to the porous Northern border; and the Islamic Law, which views vaccination against ‘polio’ as a secret tool to sterilize Muslim women! This assumption by Islamist is not only false, but also baseless accusation.
BOKO HARAM has no concept about the shifting global economy, and has been serially wrong in wasteful policy such as its support for ‘oil refineries-to-nowhere’ (all outside Nigeria)!
These activities indeed have been breeding economic misery to Nigeria until the current government stopped the unsustainable Oil Subsidy, and closed loopholes in the export of crude oil to these ‘phantom’ refineries. It will be a rocky mistake if BOKO HARAM gets its wish. That will be a death-wish for Nigeria as a Federation.
BOKO HARAM activities; including random killings, kidnappings of foreign nationals, will discourage foreign investors and stifle innovation for economic growth and development.
And, according to Sharia law, all behavior which is neither discouraged (Makruh) nor recommended (Mustahabb), neither forbidden (Haraam) nor required (Fard); is of the Mubah, it is permissible.
Yet, BOKO HARAM contradicts the Sharia by their actions, and by the practice of radical religious politics. Its leadership lacks political heft in the management of policies and the skill to provide expanded vision on economic growth.
Such Islamic-based Government, will be unrealistic, too divisive, too weak, too inept politically and democratically. The society under such government will be much based on consumption, debt-ridden, self-indulgence, greed, social unfairness, and human rights violation.
It will always be a government that is formed by use of violence and terror and ultimately will result in abuse of power.
The nation will certainly be in a political flux; due to erosion of religious liberty, the oppressiveness of women, and wants to be immune from the imposition of Nigerian values (rule of law, human rights, religious freedom, and democracy).
The Sharia law will never serve a multicultural, multi-ethnic society like Nigeria.
The government created will be less stable, less predictable and certainly, less safe.
And for those politicians that are covertly supporting BOKO HARAM, I have just one piece of advice: ‘The sheep being led to the slaughter (abattoir) will continue to bleat bla bla in ignorance until the knife slices its throat’. This is the situation with BOKO HARAM and its supporters. Those politicians that are covertly or openly advocating for BOKO HARAM, I say to them to truly examine their own identity, nationality, patriotism. Because, this is the sort of ‘cake you cannot eat and have’ at the same time.
By Akadu, Toronto