The economy is biting hard and there are other things of concern as well. Militants are running riot down South and their activities further undermine the economy. If we think critically and with the benefits of what we see unfolding in Venezuela and other economies that were dependent on crude oil revenue, the realisation will dawn on us that there are a lot of things to be grateful for.
Security is the greatest thing we should be appreciative of. Of course, we should equally acknowledge the efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to deliver his electoral promises. Anyone familiar with the lightning speed with which Boko Haram was advancing and capturing territories prior to Mr President’s assumption of office will remember that the projection was for the terror group to have overrun the larger part of the country one year from the referenced period. Cities as far south as Lagos and Port Harcourt were already bracing for the possibility of attacks.
Those preparations turned out to be nothing more than drills as the federal government brought on board officers that have displayed unrivalled loyalty and coordination that has helped Nigeria tame what was its worst demon. The confidence the president has in his military chiefs – Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Yusuf Buratai; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and the other chiefs whose exploits in the anti-terror war is a proof of their loyalty to their boss . These are the men helping President Buhari to stage a repeat of the crushing that sent the Maitatasine insurgency into extinction.
The destruction Boko Haram terrorists left in their wake is being addressed with rebuilding efforts to which the international community, international and local NGOs, the other two tiers of government and others have pledged support and life could return to normalcy in these places in the shortest time possible. News of the military routing the extremists and flushing them out of once captured towns and villages has bolstered the eagerness of those who want to be back to their homes.
However, a lot still remains to be done. Some of the terrorists merely fled across border into neighbouring countries and they still attempt to stage back dramatic attacks from their hideouts, if only to create the impression that they still have some sting. This is an aspect that requires constant attention so that they do not continue to instil fear in people of the North-East, especially displaced persons that are eager to return to their communities. The Motorcycle Brigade established by General Buratai should prove useful in countering the terrorists’ ‘hit and run’ attack strategy due to the ease of rapid deployment and versatility in difficult terrains.
On the perception of the overall security situation, Mr President must also be scored high as troops have been able to act decisively and civilly so in the face of provocations that were contrived for political reasons. Had these provocative actions of separatists and militants taken place in the height of Boko Haram’s campaign of terror, they would have still taken second seat owing to their politically instigated origin. It is the taming of Boko Haram that has made miscreants to look like big game.
As with anything that is good, there are bound to be “haters” which has been demonstrated by the waves of attacks on the persons who are key to winning the anti-terror war for Mr President. Notably too, President Buhari has demonstrated wisdom that could only come with high intellect and experience. One must hail his judgement for not succumbing to sentiments designed to make him get rid of his strongest assets in the anti-terror war. If for nothing else, his refusal to fall for the trick of those waging a proxy war on his military aides is something that has set him aside as a master strategist.
It is equally important to stress that despite the politically motivated calls for the break-up of the country and militant attacks, Mr President should once again apply his political and military wisdom. I suggest he should mandate the service chiefs to draw from the lessons learnt in degrading Boko Haram to address these security breaches. It is not all about matching firepower with firepower; there are hidden strategies that cannot be placed in the public space but will no less solve problems in the Niger Delta. We cannot have these excellent men and not make the best use of them.
The war that President Buhari is winning is not just against terrorists and the militants being propped up with stolen funds by dislodged rogues; he is also winning against those trying to wear down his team and distract them from going after terrorists. These saboteurs are the real danger that the president has defeated for Nigerians.
Odoma is a scribe of Africa Arise for Change Network