While on the campaign rounds, the APC and its then presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari condemned every move made by the then President Goodluck Jonathan, especially seeking the collaboration of neighbouring countries in the fight against Boko Haram. Buhari then described such collaboration as a ‘disgrace’. EMMA ALOZIE looks at the hypocrisy behind the campaign given the fact that President Buhari is taking the exact measures former President Jonathan took in the fight against terror
President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the release of $21 million, which is the equivalence of N4.2 billion as part of the $100 million pledge made by Nigeria to the Multi-National Joint Task Force to combat Boko Haram.
This is the second function President Buhari has performed towards the fight against Boko Haram. The first was going to confer with his Chadian and Nigeriene colleagues in order to find a lasting solution to the worries of terrorism.
The announcement by President Buhari that he was going to Chad in search of solution to Boko Haram problems elicited a lot of reactions from Nigerians who viewed it as the height of hypocrisy as the then opposition All Progressives Congress, APC and its presidential candidate then, General Muhammadu Buhari lampooned President Goodluck Jonathan for seeking the collaboration of Nigeria’s neighbors in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists.
Prior to the election, the APC presidential candidate then described it as a disgrace for Nigeria to depend on her neighbors to combat Boko Haram. “It’s a big disgrace for Nigeria. It is now Cameroon and Chad fighting the insurgency more than Nigeria. We will build the capacity and Nigeria should be able to secure its territorial integrity,” Buhari told Reuters on February 6, 2015.
Also delivering his paper at the famed Chatham House in London, General Buhari painted a gory picture of the insurgency and condemned what he described as Nigeria’s dependence on her neighbours for the fight.
“Boko Haram has sadly put Nigeria on the terrorism map, killing more than 13,000 of our nationals, displacing millions internally and externally, and at a time holding on to portions of our territory the size of Belgium. What has been consistently lacking is the required leadership in our battle against insurgency. I, as a retired general and a former head of state, have always known about our soldiers: they are capable, well trained, patriotic, brave and always ready to do their duty in the service of our country.
“You all can bear witness to the gallant role of our military in Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur and in many other peacekeeping operations in several parts of the world. But in the matter of this insurgency, our soldiers have neither received the necessary support nor the required incentives to tackle this problem. The government has also failed in any effort towards a multi-dimensional response to this problem leading to a situation in which we have now become dependent on our neighbours to come to our rescue,” Buhari said then.
Arising from the above, many Nigerians found it reprehensibly hypocritical for the APC and President Buhari to still toe the same line of the fight they abhorred and criticized while President Jonathan held sway.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP described President Buhari’s trip to Chad and Niger as indicative of the fact President Buhari and the APC have nothing to offer. “The APC must understand that the hallmark of democracy is freedom of expression and opinion, particularly on governance issues; inalienable rights of all citizens guaranteed by the constitution and which must not be denied them under any guise whatsoever.
“Though we had decided to give President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party sometime to settle down, indicators show that the APC is not getting its bearing right and the PDP as a party that has nurtured and sustained democracy in the last 16 years, we cannot fold our hands and watch our nation drift towards dangerous undemocratic paths”, the party said.
Coming in defense of the President, APC through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said President Buhari should be commended instead of vilified. APC said that any solution to the crisis brought about by Boko Haram must be regional in nature as it has now assumed a regional dimension, affecting many countries in West Africa.
“Besides, it said since terrorism has assumed a global dimension, no nation, not even the superpower United States, can fight the growing menace alone. This is why even in our days in opposition, we advocated a regional solution to the crisis,’’ APC said.
The party said President Buhari’s trip to Niger and Chad, two of the countries worst hit by the Boko Haram insurgency, showed that he
understands the regional dimension that the insurgency has assumed, and that for any effort by Nigeria to yield positive results, it must seek the cooperation of its neighbouring countries.
Also, in a couple of days, President Buhari will be off too Cameroon in the same search for Boko Haram solution, which contradicts the campaign promises of the APC and the president. During their numerous campaign tours, the party and the president promised to end Boko Haram insurgency by the end of July. However, based on the numerous diplomatic shuttles of the President, which was the same thing ex-President Jonathan did, the July deadline may after all not be feasible.