The administration of President Goodluck Jonathan which officially began on 29th May 2011 will be coming to an end in a few days time, having reached the four years term stipulated by the Constitution. One of his promises to Nigerians when he was seeking for election to the number one position in the country was that he will liberate Nigeria from the insurgency that was pressing its way into the country. As a matter of fact, that promise was a package Nigerians were expectant of, as part of the grand promise of “fresh air” he made to them. Insurgency was a monster he inherited from his predecessor - though at an infancy stage. So as the Chief Security Officer of the country, he was responsible for the direction and dimension that terrorism took in the country within the four years of his administration.
During the four years of his term in office, if there was anything that vehemently fought against the breath of fresh air in Nigeria, it was the full-fledged terrorist attacks which engulfed the nation. The Boko Haram group came out from their oblivion with a full force and goal of wrecking unimaginable horror on Nigerians after it was repelled, suppressed, and nearly sent on extinction when it attacked police stations, churches, and government formations in 2009. But were they truly on extinction as such? This is because their silence, it appears, was only an opportunity for them to build themselves and come up stronger - a trend the Nigerian Government failed to understand and its citizens ultimately paid for it. For after the 2009 battle where they were openly defeated in the streets of Maiduguri, the Boko Haram sect started low-key operations of killing security personnel that live among civilians and some selected political officers - for reasons we cannot fully comprehend. They later came up with the use of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) which killed and maimed hundreds of Nigerians. Their 'dramatic' suicide bombing litmus test took place in the vicinity of the police chief who promised to eradicate them within the shortest possible time. Thereafter, suicide bombing became a reality that Nigerians had to live with, and one bad thing about it is that no one can be certain of the next target of a suicide bomber. Thus, all Nigerians became vulnerable.
Furthermore, the sect enjoyed an unrestrained atmosphere of tolerance and apathy. Thus, they became more daring and started attacking communities and other public places openly. In their quest to be at the helm of governance and policy making in the country by administering the sharia legal system, they forcefully carved for themselves a large territory of the Nigerian soil and made a hell of everything living thing in there, including the ones they abducted to their renowned empire in Sambisa forest. They renamed some Nigerian communities and appointed administrative heads under the grand leadership of Abubakar Shekau. Boko Haram got more deadly with time, and with their abduction of about 300 girls whose only crime was their quest for knowledge in a society where knowledge is despised, their activities got more international recognition. Not that the terrorists were holy themselves, for if it were so, then the fate of women and girls abducted to the Sambisa forest would have been anything other than sex slaves. Jonathan’s administration couldn’t locate the girls, not to talk of rescuing them.
All these and many more were done under the nose of President Jonathan as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. The argument in his favour centered on the fact that he had no military background. However, the foundation of this proposition is faulty and spurious as Government is beyond the affairs of an individual; it is an institution made up of people from different background and with diverse abilities. The National Security Adviser, Chief of Defence Staff, service chiefs, and a host of others work with Jonathan as his security team. This means he could always proffer constructive solutions towards ending the killings, maiming, abduction and destruction unleashed by the boko haram sect. His earlier attempts however, should be duly acknowledged and appreciated even though it proved abortive. These include his attempt at dialoguing with the sect, which they openly rebuffed; and the purported "assassination" of the sect's leader, Abubakar Shekau, which gave Shekau the prominence of a cat with nine lives.
Having failed for about four years in discharging his principal responsibility - the security of lives and properties - the Jonathan’s administration came up with a cover that they have been accumulating sophisticated weapons to be used in halting the activities of the terrorists. As appeasing as this may sound, it doesn’t take away from the fact that sophisticated weapons was not indispensable for ending terrorism when it was at its infancy stage; neither does it take away the fact that many lives paid for Government’s delay at accumulating the weapons. The direct casualties of boko haram felt cheated and betrayed by the government they voted into power; and of course, resorted to their only power as common Nigerians by overwhelmingly voting out Jonathan from power.
Whatever is our grievance with Jonathan and the way he handled the security situation, we should be civil enough to acknowledge that there were forces in his administration that worked against him despite being with him. However, there is no gainsaying that from February 14th 2015, the tides have turned against Boko Haram and the territories they were in control of have been liberated. Also, a reasonable number of the abductees in Sambisa forest have been rescued. The only problem at the moment is the inability of the government to sustain the recaptured territories and keep it free from the terrorists. As a result of this, the terrorists have gone back and wrecked havoc on the returnees. That was terrible, and a disgusting thing for the government to have done.
Jonathan would have handed over to the next administration a terror free Nigeria, or better still, a Nigeria where terrorism has no place. However, the terrorists announced their presence and existence with the attack they recently launched in Maiduguri and some other places. Whatever is the case, the incoming administration will not start the war against terrorism afresh - not at all; they will only continue from where Jonathan has stopped. He has tried his best, and the best has yielded well in the past few months. The terrorists have indeed received their most fatal blow in the last few months which has made Shekau dumb. As Buhari takes over the mantle of leadership, we hope that he takes Boko Haram to complete extinction, rescue our Chibok girls and other abducted women, and above all make Nigeria a peaceful nation once again. Amnesty is already been proffered by northern elders as a permanent solution to terrorism. The ball is in Buhari's court, and we hope he plays it well.