They returned to town like holy gangsters. They rolled in a wave of vans, laughed like cynics, brandished guns like an army of occupation, were hoodless in bravado and heedless of time in their reconquest. They did not fire a gun, but the town’s ears still echoed with their shots not long ago. Those shots that crippled the town, cowed any resistance and spirited away the nubile girls were enough memory. The people remembered them as warning shots when the outlaws returned.
The Boko Haram goons at least deposited a huge number of the girls. But they acted as though they came to do the town folk a favour. They even took time to evangelise, preaching with the unblinking eyes of perverts. They were God’s impresarios. The Dapchi people waved in gratitude and some witnesses say the locals saw them more as heroes than our own soldiers.
They fell in love with their conquerors. This is not strange. Rape victims have been known to adore their abusers. Like in the novel Season of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim where a woman falls for a robber in the north. Nigeria is an example. The British conquered us. Today, we worship the ground they walk on. We buy their clothes, their cars, their architecture, worship their gods, mimic their accent, flaunt their language, crave how they sing, where they sleep, how they govern. So, why should we expect a different attitude from the Dapchi people when their tormentors came calling again and returned their daughters they abused.
Before the federal government takes credit, we should remember Mama Boko Haram who early gave us a hint of negotiations. Some conspiracy analysts begin with that. How come she quickly spoke with them and how quickly the girls have returned. The defence minister promised two weeks, and within a week they were in their parents’ bosoms. They also say, the soldiers were allowed out of town so the girl heist would work like a clock.
They say it was all planned by the Buhari government to ridicule the Chibok girls fiasco and lift PMB as a rescue-in-chief. In an election season, what a blast! But is that enough argument? I am not buying. Those who peddle such conspiracy theories are giving this administration too much credit.
It takes a quality of subtlety, sleight of hand and despatch to pull off such a plan. This administration does not have such qualities. This is the sort of thing we expect of a government with a James Bond temperament. This is a stiff-necked administration. They don’t play sly. They go straight. They lie with sieves in their mouth; the truth leaks as they speak.
If they organised the heist, it would mean they asked the soldiers to leave town, left the girls at school, cleared the Buhari way for the goons to take the girls away. It would also mean they are that mean to their girls. This administration may stumble, may say the wrong things about herdsmen, and allow a clannish, perfidious sense of entitlement to fester. But I don’t see them working with the Boko Haram Group. It is a tendentious fantasy.
Some past soldiers earn such cynical credits. The gap-toothed general, of course. He could have been accused, even if he could not do it. The tag, Maradona, reflected a circuitous sense of scheming. The Buhari crowd does not do circles.
They did not do circles in the case of the Maina Scandal when the truth blew open like an offence of a GSS2 schoolboy. Neither the defence of the ever-bumbling attorney general could save the matter. Only a team that lacks cunning declares IPOB a terrorist group but not the herdsmen and their supporting groups.
It is saying nothing about ethnic entrepreneur Kanu’s whereabouts whereas his colleagues are choking behind bars. The government can abide contradiction without blushing. It rolls behind bars the zealots of the Shiite Group in the north and locks up EL Zak Zaki even though we claim we are in a democracy. The idea of the rule of law is touted almost daily and with meretricious grandeur by spokesman Lai Mohammed.
It is this sort of administration that will lie that it paid nothing to Boko Haram when international sources that know even said how much was paid. And only such an administration will show nervousness about it by arresting a journalist to disclose a source of information. They did it as though afraid that their close-knit circle had been infiltrated by newshounds.
They also locked up former national security adviser and kept him behind bars. Everybody knew that it was against the law to keep a person in captivity when a judge has ruled against it.
So, the Buhari administration does not really commit its sins like a James Bond. They quickly get caught. They are not capable of this sort of sleight of hand. They carry their hypocrisies on their sleeves.
We have seen such things in the past. Recently, Obama plotted Osama’s execution. Obama is an intellectual. He also paraded his cabinet with subtle persons. He goes through serpentine routes. When the Bay of Pigs failed, many could not doubt that a man like John F. Kennedy, who confessed his love for the James Bond novels, was behind the attack on Castro.
Richard Nixon did not like the Chilean leader Allende and worked his exit. His chief envoy Henry Kissinger said in character: “we cannot fold our arms and watch a country go communist because of the irresponsibility of its citizens.”
Reagan was a swooping hawk. He invaded Grenada and took responsibility for it, and he expected the world not to believe him when he said he wanted to preserve American lives. His successor George Bush kidnapped Panama strongman Manuel Noriega. What do you expect from a former CIA chief?
Disguise is a great feature of such moves. As a Jacob you must play Esau without getting caught. I am sorry, they don’t have such a Jacob. Meanwhile, let us wait for the release of the other girls, including the Christian faithful Leah Sharibu.
Wild, wild Nigeria
Theophilus Danjuma speaks with a sort of regal air, his eyes popping always as though about to issue a command. He carries the awe of a general that has, however, been diminished over the years because of what many know about his forays into filthy lucre. A business man and general do not mix nobly. Yet when he speaks, he whiplashes the wavelengths like the command on the walkie talkie. He did that last week when he delivered a vote of no confidence on an army of which he was once a chief. The army he led to foment a famous killing around Ibadan and despatch a government in the centre. He even after retirement became the exponent of army coups after they happened. He became a sort of general emeritus, a model in rebellion and paradoxically in discipline. In social circles, some saw him as a soldier and gentleman.
When he said the soldiers are no longer neutral and everyone should take care of themselves, he delivered perhaps the most devastating blow on the government on this issue. I had wondered why it had taken this long for the man to speak. He spoke with fire and disdain, and he made it clear that we have lost confidence in the ability of the army to defend us. They are trading with our security and peace. The implication of what he is saying is that we should all arm ourselves if the army is looking the other way. He is advocating a balance of terror. If I am armed, you will think twice about coming to my home or neighbourhood. It may be your death march. Clinton armed the Muslims against the Serbs to end the Bosnian war. The Itsekiri-Ijaw bloodbath did not end until the Itsekiri built up their formidable arsenal. The Cold War did not boil over because of mutually assured destruction. No party was going to survive a war. So, the armouries were big but mute.
Danjuma was warning that the scenario of everyone to himself would foment a wild, wild Nigeria. Better to avoid that. Wild, wild west in the U.S. afforded everyone a gun and a battle. It was a Nietzschean world where the superman won. If that happens here, we might as well say goodbye to Nigeria. Danjuma’s warning should be heeded before the curtain falls.