16th February, 2015
The statement credited to the National Security Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan, Sambo Dasuki, that Boko Haram insurgents would be crushed within six weeks seems weighty. And for this, it is imperative for him and other security chiefs to match their words with action to show Nigerians that this is not just another political propaganda.
Speaking with a foreign news agency, Dasuki was quoted to have boasted that the on-going multinational offensive against the insurgents would be productive. He said collaboration between Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigerian military forces to combat the insurgency in the north-eastern part of the country would achieve the desired result soon.
The National Security Adviser and other security chiefs in the country had earlier championed the call for the postponement of the elections by six weeks to enable the security forces battle the insurgency. INEC Chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega, who initially resisted the postponment, shifted ground when it became obvious that maximum security for the safety of his staff and the electoral materials cannot be guaranteed. The elections earlier scheduled to hold on 14 and 28 February have now been re-scheduled to hold on 28 March and 11 April.
The postponement of the elections and this statement really expose the level of unpreparedness of the Nigerian military for election duties. And this explains the reason it has been impossible to combat the Boko Haram menace in the last four years. Nigerians are perplexed as to what tactics the Nigerian military will deploy in the next six weeks to defeat this scourge. If they had four years to tackle the menace, yet they could not succeed, what is the assurance that in six weeks they can do the unusual?
Many Nigerians are bothered that few days to an all-important election that has become a house-hold discussion since last year, Nigerian security forces claimed they wre not ready to provide adequate security. This was a national disgrace and an international embarrssment. This would definitely affect the image of the Nigerian military negatively. If it were to be in a country where things are ideal, Sambo Dasuki and all the security chiefs would have resigned to save the image of those offices they occupy.
With the support of the multinational forces, we hope that the National Security adviser and his colleagues would see the need to get things right this time because all eyes are on Nigeria. We also hope the disloyalty and corruption that have eaten deep into the fabric of the Nigerian military would not infect the multinational forces that have joined the fight against Boko Haram.
The 2015 election is crucial to Nigeria’s survival. For this reason, it is pertinent for the Nigerian military to realise the centrality of its role in defending democracy rather than allowing itself to be used by politicians to derail it. The military should know that its actions or otherwise could either make or mar this country. It should toe the path that would allow history to be kind to it rather than judge it harshly.