A famous man once said “Never criticize a man unless you walk in his shoes”. True! Another saying has it that only the person wearing a shoe would be able to know where it pinches. So when you see a babe doing ‘fine girl’ with a multitude of wigs on her head, you won’t be able to decipher the pain she is going through just by looking at her. You should probably put on the wig too to have an inkling of the pain she is undergoing.
The above illustration doesn’t work in Nigeria actually. People are so filled with magical powers that when they see you putting on Timberland boots, they can decipher the part of your toe that hurts you.
Here in Nigeria, you see a lot of QWERTY activists and POLITWEETERS (err I didn’t say Nasir El-Rufai) who shout revolution while hiding under their beds; you will see people tweeting about starting a revolution in Nigeria even when they are tweeting from Australia or from their mansions at Asokoro. Here is a country where everybody knows the solution to every national problem or let me say where they feel they know how things should be done but have failed in their roles as fathers over a family of 6.
I have always refrained from joining these bandwagon of ‘know-alls’ who hide under the ‘umbrella’ of Twitter to rain insults on the President, his family, Labaran Maku, Doyin Okupe, Reuben Abati et al. I for one believe that there is more than meets the eyes as regards Nigeria’s problems.
Ah! They are never ending, always increasing. There is a problem every week in Nigeria. Even where there is no problem, some Nigerians would always look for one or engage prayer warriors to appease God to dash us one.
Some sensational blogs and newspapers never report good news as they know that their papers sell and have more traffic on their blogs when they report bad news specifically as it involves President Jonathan or PDP… Reporting bad news is their specialty (I didn’t mention LEADERSHIP NEWSPAPERS AND SAHARA REPORTERS o).
So the problem that is ‘reigning’ is the issue of AMNESTY for Boko Haram. To be or not to be?
Today, I would cease to be the Lawyer-Corper who is still hustling to be somebody big in life before he dies, sooner or later (hopefully later). I would assume the mantra of the President, Commander-In-Chief of the Armed forces with the whole Security apparatus under me. So for now, Mr Goodluck Jonathan would take my place as the Lawyer-Corper while I assume his position as President. (Wide Grin).
I would put on his fedora hat and his shoes (thank God he has shoes now) and frame my mind like I am the president and also think like I am the President
So how would President Odekunle Ayokunle esq GCFR treat the Boko Haram issue? Bear this in mind that he wakes up one morning and he learns that another beer parlour in Borno has been bombed, then Mr ‘Lie’ Mohammed of the ACN in his normal garrulous self issues a press statement from his comfort zone in Ilorin (the press report would be addressed to have been released from Lagos) where he lambasts President Ayokunle Odekunle for failing to tackle the Boko Haram impasse.
While I am still reading that and instructing Okupe to give him his ‘dose’, Mr Rotimi Fasakin of CPC already issues his own damning statement where he asks me to resign for failing to protect the lives of Nigerians because he expects me to go around with SMGs and AK47s combating Boko Haram. While Okupe is trying to ginger so as to tackle them, Omojuwa, El-Rufai, Ayourb and other Twitter Voltrons have already taken to twitter to call for my head. I am confused.
Now, as President, my head is threatening to burst as there are many other things I have to think about (PHCN, infrastructure, noisy opposition, etc). I go somewhere quietly to think and ask nobody to disturb me. These Nigerians want to drive me mad. I am praying to God for guidance to solve this Boko Haram issue.
Bear in mind that Nigerians are divided over this subject; while those from the North see nothing wrong with granting amnesty to their ‘brothers’, those from the South are already screaming ‘Betrayal’ on my path by trying to grant amnesty to terrorists.
How would I treat the issue and what are my options?
These are my options. I would first outline the options and elaborate on them. I would leave you to choose the most appropriate.
- Grant them Amnesty
- Refuse to grant them Amnesty and instead direct them JTF to use excessive force on the affected states
- Won’t grant them amnesty, won’t ask the JTF to declare war on the affected states. Just leave things as they are
- Cry, cry and throw in the towel.
- Call for a Referendum and divide the country
Alright, let us assume as President I decide to grant them amnesty. Two things are involved
- Shekau the leader of Boko Haram would reject the amnesty, ask me to go to hell and that his group would continue the bombings
- Boko Haram accepts amnesty and there is ‘peace’.
It is VERY possible that Boko Haram refuses my offer of amnesty. Why? They are not remorseful, they have not come out to ask for forgiveness and they are still at large. We just have some Elders fronting for them (Elders acting on behalf of Ghosts). So, if I grant them amnesty and they publicly reject it, they have done 2 things
- Embarrassed my office as President
- They have said that by using excessive force on the affected states, I am justified.
Now, if I grant Boko Haram amnesty and overlook the killing of hundreds of thousands of people, what would happen? Fine there would be peace but peace that comes at a price is no peace at all. It means if I am done with my NYSC and I am unable to get myself into one of the major Lagos law firms and frustration sets in, I can also take arms against the government, gather like minds like me who are jobless and then we get ammunition, we start from bombing Ibadan, bomb Lagos, kill people and throw Nuclear weapons into the Bar beach. Then, people would shout “Grant them Amnesty o, they are our Brothers”. Elders from Oke-Ibadan where I come from would put pressure on the President and then I would be granted amnesty, paid Billions of Naira and then would go scot free after killing innocent people.
The MAD cycle would go on.
So whichever way we look at it, Amnesty is the answer and yet isn’t the answer. It comes with a myriad of luggage and baggage and it would NOT solve the problem we have at hand.
I might refuse to grant them amnesty and then ask JTF to ‘kill them all’, that is to declare martial law in the North. Bear in mind that there is no way I would use excessive force on the sect without killing a sizeable number of innocent people. Three things are involved:
- There would be peace yet no peace. I would have succeeded in destroying the North.
- The Muslim North could accuse me of trying to ‘wipe’ them off the Earth because I am a Christian.
This option is out of it. It is an open secret that the Boko Haram members live in the midst of the people. There is no way I would declare total war on them without killing defenceless women and children. And old men who are waiting to die too.
In a way, I would be declaring war on the people I swore to protect when I was taking Oath of office. I would also be contravening the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide which Nigeria is a signatory to.
Meaning I would be bundled to the World criminal court in the Hague when I am done as President and be imprisoned just like Charles Taylor.
I might choose to sit, watch and let everything go on as they are. It means Boko Haram would still continue to throw bombs once a while the JTF would still continue hunting them down, killing innocent people by doing such. That means I wont grant them amnesty and wont use excessive force.
Many things are involved
- The Qwerty activists would not allow me rest
- The Borno Elders would keep cursing me for not granting their ‘sons’ Amnesty.
- This crisis would be grossly politicized as we would see Opposition parties trying to take advantage of the situation (They have started already sef). They wont mind dancing unclad on the graves of the dead, politicize the death of people as long as that means I won’t be voted back in 2015.
I might choose to cry and cry to daddy at Oke-Ibadan and then resign. By resigning
- It means I am the epitome of cluelessness
- I have failed the Country by running when I was most needed
- I have given QWERTY activists mouth as they would say “WE FORCED HIM OUT WITH OUR E-REVOLUTION”
- I am a failure.
This is not an option as challenges are meant to be faced headlong.
I could choose to call for a referendum and divide this country, just as Sudan did recently. By so doing, this forced marriage foisted on us by Lord Lugard and his concubine would come to an end.
Well, back to reality now. I am still that Lawyer-Corper trying hard to become somebody In life. I have tried to put myself in Mr Jonathan’s shoes and I must tell you, no be small thing.
As expantiated, you all can see that NONE of the options available to him is so feasible. I feel people should chill a bit. Not everything should be politicized as some people are doing now. I am sure Mr Jonathan’s medulla oblongata is so overworked at the moment.
I have failed to pick a good option and would leave you guys to do that since most of you know it more than the person voted by millions of Nigerians.
I have tried to put myself in his position mentally and I must tell you… I am already suffering from acute mental fatigue. It is very easy to criticize or lay blames when you are not in a position of authority. I challenge my readers to get across to me, either via Twitter or the Comments box below on the way and manner they would navigate through this impasse, if they found themselves in the position of President.
Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown!
N.B: This piece is for Shola Babalola, Dr Emeka Nduma and Toba Morakinyo Esq. for being the inspiration behind this. Knock them if all I wrote up there is very bad. Give them the due praise if you love the write-up.
Follow this writer on Twitter: @oddy4real
About Ayokunle Odekunle
Witty, controversial and one to stick his neck out even when he seems to be swimming against the tide, Ayokunle is a graduate of the University of Ibadan where he studied Law. He was called to the Nigerian Bar in November 2012. In the last twelve years, Ayokunle has won many writing awards. He currently works in a top Litigation Law firm in Ibadan.