Book Haram, Mallam El-Rufai and conspiracy theorists of Northern Nigeria
Exclusive USAfricaonline.com commentary by Nkem Ekeopara.
Special to USAfrica multimedia networks, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of Nigeria360, IgboEvents, UNNalumni, and CLASSmagazine Houston. Follow USAfrica at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfrica247 and Twitter.com/Chido247
USAfrica: Some key members of the northern Nigeria elites led by Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the indicted former Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprises and former Minister of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory
(Abuja), have started spinning conspiracy theories about the Boko Haram bombings in Nigeria.
Like millions of other Nigerians, I am worried. I am worried that in their familiar method of denying and telling lies about the Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1970) even up to the passage of General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, a new set of distortions are growing.
As someone who had lived in the Middle East where conspiracy theorists are rife and have indeed made enormous impact, especially in the way their average citizen perceives the role of the United States in Muslim societies, I fear that someone like El-Rufai who uses his inflammatory commentaries to spread his conspiracy theories about the activities of Boko Haram is indirectly swelling the ranks of those militants and fundamentalists willing to, violently, “do God’s work” in Nigeria, especially northern and middle belt of Nigeria.
Following the continued spilling of innocent blood in churches in Northern Nigeria, the
Northern Nigeria elites and others sympathetic to radical Islam first started using “poverty” to justify the activities of the jihadist Islamic sect Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad widely known as Boko Haram.
Having failed in their gambit to use “poverty” to justify the massacres even though some Western countries bought into this lie, they have started positing conspiracy theories. Now, they are saying that Christians are the ones orchestrating the bombing of churches. Absurd!
When they are not blaming the Christians for orchestrating the bombings, they are blaming
the advocates of a Sovereign National Conference.
Sometimes, they even insinuate that the United States intelligence community who about a decade ago predicted that Nigeria will seize to be one country by 2015 are responsible for the bombings. These conspiracy
theorists shamelessly continue to engage in their art even when the evil doers themselves come out to claim responsibility after each cowardly, but bloody act. Soon, they will start blaming independent and strident voices that have in very concise terms said we should honestly admit that the idea of one Nigeria is doomed and therefore, rather than sustaining it with the blood of innocent people, we should peacefully proceed to its dissolution.
I think it is not only infantile for any northerner to say that anyone or group other than Boko Haram is responsible for the bombings, but wicked to input that those behind the bombings are out to destabilize the North and cripple its economy. If the truth must be told, those who held the North back are the likes of El-Refai who having obtained the best Western education and positions of influence in government, failed to use it to take their Muslim society on a progressive path.
Preoccupied with allocating oil blocks in the Niger Delta region to themselves; creating more states and local governments in their area, and putting northerners in every important position in the country when they ruled Nigeria for 37 years out of its 52 years of its existence as an ‘independent’ country, they forgot that the secularization of Nigeria was in the long term interest of the North.
Instead of doing this, what we saw was former military head of state of Nigeria, then General Ibrahim Babanginda taking Nigeria into the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) without even mentioning it to the Chief of General Staff (the country’s vice President, a christian Easterner), Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe; it led to the resignation of Ukiwe.
We saw a Yerima Sani Ahmed as governor of Zamfara State decreeing Sharia in his state in contravention of the Nigerian constitution no sooner than he assumed office in 1999. And, we saw the subsequent adoption of Sharia in quick succession by eleven other Northern states. This led to about 3,000 deaths and extensive destruction of investments of mainly the Christian community in Kaduna and Plateau States in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010.
Also, we saw a former military ruler of Nigeria from the north, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (rtd.) who in 2001 called for a total implementation of Sharia across Nigeria and urged Muslims not to vote for anyone who would not protect their faith; a primordial sentiment he again expressed strongly and repeatedly during his campaigns in the North in the 2011 election.
Today, they have in their hands ideologues who want a government based on Koran and an end to Western-style educational system that most progressive Muslim societies such as Turkey and Indonesia have used to better the lots of their people. And here they are, trying to look elsewhere for the satanic group they vicariously created. They are afraid that more than ever before since the ‘end’ of the Nigeria-Biafra War (1967-1970); hence, a real possibility now exists to dismantle this monstrous British construct, which was put together by Lord Luggard in 1914 primarily to sustain the North and enrich the British Empire with the wealth of Southern Nigeria. Now, more than ever before, a real possibility exists to minimize the only thing
that guarantees their privileged existence- ‘one-Nigeria.’
El-Rufai and the northern elites who are engaging in conspiracy theories should abandon that path, start listening to the voices of reason, quit making excuses for Boko Haram and seriously rebuild their communities.
Anything less than the above is tantamount to chasing an elusive shadow. •Ekeopara is a columnist and special correspondent of USAfrica multimedia networks and CLASSmagazine Houston. He is based in Nigeria.
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USAfrica: Ikemba ODUMEGWU OJUKWU’s farewell in Aba, today February 28, 2012, reflected a fitting tribute, historically meaningful celebration, proper regard and deserving appreciation of the greatest Igbo, in my opinion, to have ever lived (like him or hate him).
I SALUTE Aba (aka Enyimba city), the robust and fearless town I was born, bred and raised, for giving the Ikemba, our Ochiagha, Gburugburu, Oka oburu uzo, dike na ndu ma n’onwu, mgbadike anyi, a hero’s farewell.
To the Ikemba, may your valiant soul rest in peace and dignity.
We will, and I, Chido Nwangwu, will never forget to continue to tell my generation and the next about your towering courage through tempest and thunder; through sorrow, pain, tears, blood….
•Dr. Chido Nwangwu, Founder & Publisher of USAfrica multimedia networks, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; and recipient of several journalism and public policy awards, was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn.
• For seasoned insights and breaking news on these issues, log on to USAfricaonline.com and USAfrica powered e-groups including Nigeria360 at yahoogroups and USAfrica at googlegroups. Follow us at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido and Twitter.com/Chido247