by Favour Afolabi
The last time an American President promised to get “those that committed terrorism on the Homeland” by all means necessary, here is what it took the Nation to achieve that promise:
- Another 11 years before killing Osama Bin Laden, and indeed under another President other than the one that made the promise.
- “During the Iraq War, 4,475 U.S. service members were killed and 32,220 were wounded; in Afghanistan, 2,165 have been killed and 18,230 wounded through Feb. 5, 2013.”
- “Among service members deployed in these conflicts, 103,792 were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) over the period 2002 to December 2012. Over that same period, 253,330 service members were diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) of some kind.”
- “As a result of battle injuries in the Iraq War, 991 service members received wounds that required amputations; 797 lost major limbs, such as a leg. In Afghanistan, 724 have had to undergo amputations, with 696 losing a major limb.”
- “As of February 2013, between 17,000 and 19,000 civilians have died as a result of the violence. The total number killed in Pakistan may be as high or higher than the toll in Afghanistan, with NGO estimates ranging widely between 18,000 and 49,000 deaths. In Iraq, over 70 percent of those who died of direct war violence have been civilians. Iraq Body Count conservatively estimates that at least 134,000 civilians have been killed in direct violence due to war between the invasion and early March 2013. If trends continue, another 4,000 or so Iraqis can be expected to die in 2013 from continued violence. In addition to the direct consequences of violence represented by these numbers, thousands more Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis are falling victim to the dangers of a battered infrastructure and poor health conditions arising from wars. In the case of Iraq, excess deaths indirectly resulting from the war add several times the 134,000 civilians killed directly by violence.,” etc
- “For example, the “Costs of War” project, based at Brown University, estimates that the total monetary cost — including long-term veterans care — of the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan may eventually total as much as $4 trillion.”
And the list goes on since ‘the budget and war sessions’ are yet to be fully closed based on that same promise made by George W. Bush on September 20, 2001 [listen HERE]
Well, I spent the entire night and morning reading comments from Nigerians about what they largely agree to be ‘the decisive speech of Barack Obama’ as regards the Boston bombings, and of course as I expected, they didn’t disappoint me one bit – they were very true to type – using the ‘oratorical finesse’ of the US President as the yardstick to measure what they consider to be the ‘clueless and directionless leadership’ that our own President has provided Nigerians on the subject of ‘Homegrown terrorism/Boko Haram/Ansaru, etc.’
And of course, they came out really punching – doing the usual ‘oranges v apples comparisons’ – imagine ‘our educated elites’ measuring:
I. ‘A war on terrorism being waged by the US government [and indeed other allied Nations] on foreign soils other than theirs largely against nationals from other nations to protect the US homeland and that of the allied nations’ to another
II. being fought ‘on the Nigerian homeland within the geographical space of the nation against some rogue nationals from the same homeland who are killing have killed thousands of citizens within that same homeland almost in a civil-war like setting.’
These same folks who were the ones that used to say “Ah, GEJ has come with another press statement again o, na so he go dey talk, he no go do anything” after any of the Boko Attacks are the same ones now suggesting “ehen, If na GEJ now, e no go talk, see the way Obama is being firm,” these same guys that criticized OBJ when ‘he committed genocide on 3,000+ lives in ODI village while being decisive’ are the same ones now claiming that ‘GEJ is too mild and indecisive on the issue of Boko Haram’ even though these same people have also carried placards elsewhere stating that “the JTF is being too excessive in seeking out Boko Haram” and are never ready to commend these Nigerian soldiers who are daily losing their lives by waging wars against these bunch of bandits!
These same guys who keep suggesting that “the FGN should have used intelligence to seek out these Boko Haramites” are the same people that refused to appeal to the communities up North led by their traditional, religious and political leaders to help in volunteering information to the security forces in quenching this madness – so I beg o – is intelligence sourced from the bare land as though a farmer was seeking crops to grow from same? No be human beings go provide intelligence? If such people choose to give moral support to these dissidents by keeping quiet, how much more intelligence can be secured from these communities thereby? Or are these same guys suggesting that this same President is in full knowledge of this same intelligence but is holding same close to his chest to be used very soon as political capital to be spent as he seeks office again in 2015 irrespective of how much more his image and legacy is tainted with this continued insurgencies? Would anyone be so stupid to deal himself such a fatal suicidal blow?
I guess it is increasingly becoming very clear that as Dr. Doyin Okupe stated the other day – “the only crime Mr. Goodluck Jonathan has committed against some Nigerians is that he won the 2011 elections” – or let me add in my own words “that he ventured to accept being nominated as VP to the late President Umar Musa Yar’Adua whose unfortunate death led to him becoming President in the very first place prior to him winning the 2011 elections.” Or perhaps his real crime is that he chose to pursue his political career on the platform of the PDP? Perhaps if he was a member of the APC, he wouldn’t have been suffering this much level of disdain from our self-appointed-unelected leaders of public opinion within this polity?
For I truly cannot understand this level of Intellectual Dishonesty that is now being perpetrated within this political space against this man’s administration – there are simply too many people that are so willing to distort the facts against his government; and even tell outright lies, completely with no shame, all in a bid to paint this Man as “a cold, calculated, evil yet clueless tyrant” – anything that can get public sentiment to be swayed against him leading to the 2015 elections would work – you don’t need to crosscheck the information, once it has been dropped on a hourly basis, all you need to do is consume it; and you are in trouble, if you dare do some research to prove to these same audiences that they are being inaccurate with their personal presentation of the issues at stake for you will be nailed to the cross of public emotions and shot in broad day light there and then!
So my parting questions here would be – how exactly is the historical situation of the United States even in the light of the Boston events of yesterday even remotely similar to that of the precarious situation currently going on in Nigeria on this same subject of terrorism? Would the modus operandi to deal with these two scenarios ever strictly be the same? Would the display of ‘public oratory’ by the respective leaders of these two Nations ever be tantamount to providing automatic solutions to the challenges faced by these Nations at critical times as these ones?
Why would the same US government that has come out to support President Goodluck Jonathan on the suggestions of granting Amnesty to Boko Haram be the same one promising to go after terrorists that have attacked their own homeland as they have done in the past with the attendant monetary and more importantly, human costs as earlier enumerated within this writing?
Perhaps I can help out with an answer to this question – because unlike many of Nigerian public commentators, the Americans know and understand that they are not dealing with the same brand of terrorism that we are faced with and they know that both of them should be dealt with and treated differently – and there again is the answer to all those who have kept shifting positions on the way to have this issue resolved in Nigeria, whose only consistency on the matter has been with them being anti-any-of -the-current-position-of-Jonathan’s administration on the matter.
They should once and for all come to understand that this current mood of this administration to consider a peaceful resolution to this menace is not borne out of cluelessness or weakness or political gain but is based on experiences garnered by this same Goodluck Jonathan and others around him while being lead members of the teams that helped in resolving the Niger Delta militancy crises – these current directions must be based on the needed to exhibit political expediency to move the Nation forward at this time, away from increasing the body count already suffered which is said to be totaling 3,000 to 4,000+ lives depending on the sources of such figures.
Political leadership should not always be based on ‘being cheaply populist’ or swimming with the tide of popular public opinion, some decisions would naturally have to be taken by the few among us who ever get the rare privilege to become the President of the Nation that would not necessarily be celebrated today but later in the future as President Umar Yar’Adua has been so celebrated even in death today for the milestone he helped the Nation attain as regards the many years of injustices done to peoples and environments of the South-south for several years even before he became President; decisions which at the time he was taking them were not particularly popular with these same public speakers which they nevertheless came to congratulate him for.
Yet , today that same legacy which many Nigerians have come to thank the late President for now seems to the very one that some of these Nigerians see so determined to rubbish and tarnish, all in a bid to be able to say “Amnesty failed then and it would fail again” telling you that there is no end to the desperation of these lot to defeat the good intentions of this administration; well, look no further if you seek the singular largest population of hypocrites gathered together within any part of the map of the world, chances are you are a national of that country which Wikipedia list its capital city to be of the coordinates of 9°4′N 7°29′E!
Favour Afolabi is President at Viva Real Estates Company; he is a consultant to several infrastructural development projects in Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija