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US Trip: Dissecting Buhari’s Blame Game

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“Unwittingly, and I dare say, unintentionally, the application of the Leahy law amendment by the US government has aided and abetted the Boko Haram terrorist group in the prosecution of its extremist ideology and hate, the indiscriminate killings and maiming of civilians , in raping of women and girls, and in other heinous crimes. I believe this is not the spirit of Leahy laws. I know the American people cannot support any group engaged in these crimes” – Muhammadu Buhari.

The above remark credited to President Muhammadu Buhari, which he reportedly made in the course of delivering his speech at the United States Institute for Peace (USIP) during his four-day visit to United States of America recently, has brought to the front burner the question of who between Nigerians and Americans are in the actual sense the people aiding and abetting the Boko Haram terrorist group in the prosecution of its extremist ideology and hate (?).

Buhari and Obama
Buhari and Obama

But, meanwhile, before going the whole hog of dwelling on this clearly contentious issue, it is important to state the obvious about the foregoing remark credited to President Buhari. As the saying goes, there are things a woman is made to understand about her husband which she is invariably impelled not to communicate to him. Likewise, the obvious that General Muhammadu Buhari knows about the reluctance of the United States’ government to sell arms to Nigeria – ostensibly arising from the purported constraint imposed upon her by the Leahy law – is best likened to a fact a woman knows about her husband which she is impelled not to disclose to him. But, conversely, when and where a woman decides to be foolhardy by divulging such an apparently delicate fact to her husband, it then becomes incumbent on her to take full responsibility for whatever that comes with her foolhardiness.

In like manner, instead of unnecessarily recanting and/or denying the conspicuously implicit indictment of the people and government of the United States of America over the issue of aiding and abetting the activities of the Boko Haram terrorists through the so-called application of the Leahy law, President Muhammadu Buhari should rather come out fully and be courageous enough to take full responsibility for his snide but obvious indictment of the American government, rather than creating a serious rejoinder job for his spokesman – Mr. Femi Adesina.

Though one really sympathizes with Mr. Femi Adesina over his currently tedious and extra-ordinarily onerous task of speaking for President Muhammadu Buhari – whose recurring verbal blunders and total lack of diplomacy have tended to compound the work of his spokesman all the time – it must be emphasized (at least for the sake of Adesina’s untenable defence of his principal’s latest gaffe) that it is only sheer hypocrisy or a deliberate attempt at mischief-making laced with petty sentiments that could make anybody to downplay the purport of President Buhari’s indicting allusion hurled at the people and government of the United States of America on the issue relating to Leahy law vis-a-vis the allegation of aiding and abetting the Boko Haram insurgency.

However, contrary to President Buhari’s perspective on the US government’s “unintentional” support for the Boko Harm insurgency via the strict adherence to the letters of the Leahy law, it needs not be belaboured that Nigerians appeared and/or still appear to be much more guilty of this kind of indirect attitude of aiding and abetting the terrorist activities of the Boko Haram sect than the seemingly infinitesimal amount of guilt being obliquely apportioned to President  Barack Obama and his compatriots.

To begin with, and going down memory lane a little, it will be too early for Nigerians to forget so quickly that one of the contributory factors that brought about the abysmal rise in the activities of Boko Haram insurgents was not unconnected with the highly unbecoming attitude of the people and leaders of the Northern Nigeria which dates back to the inception of the fundamentalist group. Apart from the widely reported “ungovernable” proclamations of the Atikus of this world, the wild allegations concerning the Igbo-Niger-Delta conspiracy theory against the North as levelled by the Nyakos of this planet, the Biafra-revenge thesis as harboured and postulated by a section of guilt-minded Northern elements, as well as the unfounded Jonathanian war-against-the-North  school of thought, other Arewa invented postulates abound which directly and/or indirectly aided and abetted the gory activities of the Boko Haram sect to the point of the dilemma we have found ourselves today.

More so, not even the widely reported assertion of Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, the erstwhile Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, at some point, about the sect’s activities could be forgotten. As senseless and useless as everything about the Boko Haram sect is, it still boggles one’s mind that Alhaji Tukur could reportedly be quoted in media as saying that the war being waged against the Nigerian state by these sons and daughters of bitch, was basically for justice. In fact, there is no gainsaying that this is part of the unguarded utterances which has always aided and abetted the sustenance of the   Boko Haram malady.

Whereas it is the norm in other climes, or in sane societies, for the populace – rulers and the ruled alike – to unite in the common fight against the terrorists (irrespective of ethnic, religious, political or ideological differences of the people/countries concerned), ours in Nigeria is well observed in the very opposite, as we have witnessed in the recent past. In this regard, it will be recalled that the All Progressive Congress had, before its recent Presidential victory, tended to blurt out all manner of words capable of being construed as disguised support for the Boko Haram insurgents. And until lately, as it were, if it was not the case of the  All Progressive Congress criticising the then PDP-led Federal government over the proscription and designation of the Boko Haram sect a terrorist group, it would be the issue of Alhaji Lia Muhammed, the spokesman of the APC, alleging that the same personnel of the Nigerian military whom we still have on ground today were reportedly killing “innocent” citizens in the North and thereby working beyond  the limit of their rules of engagement and committing human rights abuses in the process. And even making the matter worse, General Muhammadu Buhari, now the President of Nigeria, was reportedly throwing a tantrum at the then government of President Goodluck Jonathan because of the latter’s principled refusal to grant the Niger-Delta kind of amnesty programme to members of the Boko Haram Islamist terrorist group.

Yet here we are, in the final analysis, attacking the seemingly innocent Senator Patrick Leahy, the main brain behind the Leahy law in the United States of America. Much as it is most unfortunate and roundly condemnable that Senator Leahy could be referring to the personnel of the Nigerian Military as “murderers and rapists” for the simple reason that these armed patriots did their job of killing the Boko Haram terrorists and other sister vermin ceaselessly unleashing mayhem on the hapless people in Northern Nigeria, the truth is that, going by the events of the recent past in our polity, Mr. Leahy could safely be said to have taken this antics from where it was left by the Leaderships of the All Progressive Congress, the Northern Elders Forum and other hitherto disgruntled and unpatriotic elements that had cast all manner of aspersions on our Military and its personnel.

Indeed, it is a pity that the same yesterdays’ men and women who indulged in all manner of name-calling with a view to ridiculing the Nigerian Military during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan are today complaining about the US government’s unbecoming attitude, thinking that the latter would have been that foolish to forget their politics of double dealing, the ignominious aspect of their immediate political past or perhaps embrace them with a categorical promise of instant supply of arms ammunitions.

All said, the bitter truth is that if the US government could refuse to sell arms to Nigeria on the grounds of the frivolous allegations of human rights violations levelled against our responsible Military under the watchful eyes of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who is well known for his strong aversion to bloodletting, one wonders how the opposite could be feasible in so short a period of time that the mantle of leadership of the country has just been exchanged with elements having some questionable democratic antecedents that make it somewhat difficult for them to be trusted to remain impervious to proclivities towards  aggression or violation of the fundamental rights of the citizenry.

Onyiorah Paschal Chiduluemije, a Journalist, writes from Abuja

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