Revisiting The Security Card In The Nation’s Politics Under Buhari By Peter Claver Oparah​

One area the opposition in Nigeria played their ill-fated but desperate politics en route the 2019 general election was security. They played the security card to the hilt in their desperate search for a comeback. Together with their allies in retired army generals, religious leaders, tribal groups, corrupt displaced share reapers, the opposition tried to create a hopeless security situation so as to turn the table against President Buhari in the just concluded presidential election. They said that Nigeria had never faced a direr security situation, even when evidence point to the contrary. They said that Nigerians are being killed in their millions, that life had been cheapened, that Armageddon had been let loose on Nigeria. They did everything within their power to recreate a state of hell in Nigeria and these were to discredit the Buhari government and shred its re-election chances. They dramatized and celebrated every mundane case of crisis as hell let loose and ensured that the headlines ripple with their noisome celebration of what they termed the breakdown of security under the Buhari government.

But, let us ponder a bit and do a little check. Is the security situation under Buhari worse than it was when he came? Are Nigerians being killed in millions under Buhari as the desperate opposition sought to impress on us, than before he came? Is Buhari’s era witnessing greater security challenges than when he came? There is no way one can answer these questions in the positive without deliberately indicting truth, fact and reality. The crux of what the opposition tagged serious security challenges under Buhari was the notorious herdsmen versus farmers clash that was celebrated far beyond its realm and effects by the opposition in cahoots with their conniving religious leaders, ethnic and tribal leaders, retired and corrupt military leaders, the displaced corrupt chieftains who were ruing their loss of exploitative power with Buuhari’s coming and of course the manipulated bigots who were frantically seduced to chorus such syndicated mantra to improve the political fortunes of their desperate masters. 

What was certain in this antic however was an attempt to slay the truth, obfuscate fact and mangle reality to benefit those that in reality, ran Nigeria to what was an intractable security miasma before Buhari came. This was a deliberate effort to swindle the entire country just for the illicit gain of the displaced political mandarins, their religious and ethnic collaborators who remained in utter pain for the loss of power with which they impoverished and subdued a well-endowed nation since independence especially in the sixteen-year period from 1999 to 2015. In the noxious herdsmen politics, attempts were made to desperate pin what had been an age-old problem to Buhari and his government and this obtains I what was actually a well-orchestrated plot to re-enact constant clashes between itinerant herdsmen and farmers so as to sustain a dubious campaign against the government. 

But then, herdsmen crisis predates the Buhari government and recorded its worst cases before Buhari came. However, these array of corrupt forces listed above managed to make it seem as if it started when Buhari came and tagged a “Fulani’ label on it to make it stick with Buhari who is a Fulani. Every case of criminality and insecurity in every part of Nigeria became a Fulani herdsmen attack and in this deliberate perforation of truth, the opposition basked and reveled as it lasted. Extensive public burials and shows were organized by a combination of these forces where high pitched sermons that incite rather than tame passions were delivered and ethnic warlords who have been angered by the stoppage of their sources of corrupt freebies by Buhari, would follow by issuing a fatwa on the government and its supporters. The press that has been feeling with bad with the capping of corrupt patronage by corrupt politicians keyed in and blew these slanted efforts out of proportion. Corrupt retired soldiers who couldn’t come to terms with the fact that Buhari ended the fonts through which they siphoned our national patrimony would follow up with moratorium on the government and incitement on the supposed victims of these clashes.

What curiously played out in the entire scandal was that as soon as Abubakar Atiku, a fellow Fulani emerged the presidential candidate of the PDP, under whose platform these nefarious forces played their deadly game, the issue of Fulani herdsman attack, suddenly screeched to a curious end and politics around it squelched. The Fulani no longer gets painted in the damned colour of a blood-thirsty vagabond that shed blood at the drop of a hat. What more, arrests made of the ‘Fulanis’ that carried out most of the purported herdsmen attack in Benue that became the hotbed of this absurd phenomena pointed to a collaboration between the state government and the attacks, even as the same state government made the most illicit capital from it. These shocking realities would have forced a curious nation to weigh in and establish the sure link between this orchestrated security crisis with the politics of 2019 but because most of the zealous instigators and perpetrators of this crisis know what they were doing, they now waited to latch unto any of the other ageless communal crises that are as old as the nation to charge Buhari with not doing anything to tame insecurity.

But then, even in the height of its mischievous usage by the damned corrupt tendencies in Nigeria, the total casualties of the syndicated herdsmen attacks under Buhari were not as much as the 5,000 people that were killed in a three-day blitzkrieg by Boko Haram in Baga, Bornu State during the era these locusts were running their ruinous affairs here and which they are seeking to re-enact. What is most troubling is that the dubious religious leaders who have fixated their evil sermon on how Buhari had killed more Nigerians have forgotten how churches worshipped with full security compliments in even the remotest parts of Nigeria during their avowed ‘peaceful’ period they are desperately trying to re-enact. Yes, it was all too easy to lie, obfuscate and slay the truth because of base selfish interests. It was so easy to conveniently forget how a chunk of Nigerian territory (an area The Economist Magazine reported was more than the size of Belgium) was firmly put under the control of Boko Haram while the satanic movement was almost taking control of Abuja, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, Niger, Kano, Kogi, and even audaciously pushing frantically down south before Buhari came. It is all too easy to forget the thousands that were killed in a Christmas day bombing on St. Theresa’s Catholic Church Madala, Abuja, the Abuja motor park, the Nigerian Police Headquarters, the United Nations Building, etc; all in the country’s capital Abuja in the period these rodents want us to go back to. Yes, it is all too easy to forget these because Boko Haram has been degraded and we can afford to play mischievous politics around the security issue.

It is just too easy to forget the thousands of churches and mosques razed by Boko Haram before Buhari came. It was too easy to forget the hundreds of thousands that were massacred by Boko Haram, the thousands that were kidnapped, among which were the Chibok School girls and that Boko Haram constituted real threats to far flung villages in the South before Buhari came. It is so easy to forget that millions were made desolate in their states and had to flee to live as internally displaced people in other states, even in the southern parts of Nigeria. It was easy to forget the multi-billion Naira ruins of Boko Haram and rant of how security had worsened under Buhari. Why won’t dubious religious leaders who no longer partake in the filthy feast from stolen wealth of the nation dubiously rant about Buhari worsening the security situation in Nigeria since they no longer worship under heavy security cover because Boko Haram now seems a forlorn and distant story? Why won’t corrupt retired military generals who no longer have a free dip into our treasury complain that Buhari has worsened the country’s security? Why won’t ethnic irredentists who had been denied of illicit flow of funds since Buhari came not seek to incite Armageddon so as to remove Buhari? 

However, in the face of the heightened antic and conspiracy of these dark forces, Nigerians especially the common masses, are not deceived on the realities of issues, especially as it pertains to what the security situation was and is and this was why they rebuffed all these antics by the rotten corrupt interests to return President Buhari with a wider margin than in 2015. Nigerians know quite well that Boko Haram that was one of the five most dangerous terrorist groups in the world before Buhari came had been reduced to cowardly fire-fighters that relish in carrying out irregular attacks on soft targets as they retreat into oblivion. Nigerians know that Buhari is doing his possible best to tame age-old cases of friction and insecurity, which were worse before he came and he certainly will win the battle. Nigerians know that insecurity in Nigeria, as in any other country, is a component part of statehood and the best approach remains to keep it in check as much as possible otherwise, they wouldn’t have existed and flowered more before Buhari came. One may ask why successive regimes in the United States have not been able to stop mass shooting in the country. Most importantly, the North East where Atiku hails from and where most of the most asinine cases of insecurity played out, know what Buhari had been able to do to the issue and which was why they massively returned votes for Buhari as against the total rejection of Atiku who is the mascot of the rotten desperate forces playing the security card in the nation’s politics.

All said, Buhari who made security one of the cardinal thrusts of his election campaign in 2015, has done so well in this regard and within a space of four years, the nation has been totally recovered from terrorist’s grips and the fearful visage of a nation totally under attack from terrorists had been tamed. Whatever the dubious mischief of a corrupt displaced opposition, their collaborating soiled religious leaders, the angry corrupt retired army generals, the hurting ethnic champions and all other forces of vice, Nigeria is far more secured than it was before Buhari came and this was affirmed in his re-election in the just concluded election. The remnant of security issues that gnaw at the soul of Nigeria are ageless and are quite in tandem with our riotous group living and is normal with any country that has the kind of chequered history Nigeria has. Buhari is doing enough to tackle and reduce these and will surely do a greater job in this regard in the next four years.
Ikeja, Lagos.
E-mail: [email protected]


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