Boko Haram: Last Gasps of a Killer Group
[ALLAFRICA] Back to Boko Haram! All thumbs should be pointing skyward for Nigerian troops who must be commended for rising to the occasion. Unused to counter insurgency and unfamiliar with fighting urban guerrillas, Nigerian troops have, under three years, succeeded in containing and localising Boko Haram.

There should be no surprises on the day Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, is captured. Of course, he will appear sober, as most gangsters are wont to be and probably in disguise: no long, unkempt beard, no over sized chewing stick, no turban and probably spotting a French suit. Despite an increase in serial killings, he no longer appears to be in control of his group which is in complete disarray.

They may continue to target prominent and not too prominent northerners and continue in their unislamic practice of bombing innocent people in their places of worship but truth is that they have come to the grim realisation that they cannot win their misguided war. They have reached the end of the road and are desperately clawing at straws in their bid to avoid the deep blue sea. One instance of clawing at straws is the 19 January attack on the Amir (Emir) of Kano, Dr. Ado Bayero.

Northern Nigerians have serious issues with their traditional rulers and many wish to see traditional institutions abolished. Many see traditional rulers as part of their problems because most of them have been compromised: they do not speak for their people and have teamed up with politicians who mindlessly corner the common wealth. Some traditional rulers are happy playing court to politicians who come calling with bags of ill gotten wealth, and simply turn a blind eye to the many atrocities committed by the politicians.

Some of the juiciest government contracts are reserved for traditional rulers who see nothing wrong with indulging in monthly federal allocations that should be used to provide infrastructure for communities. Of course, their children pick some of the best jobs in the land without having to break a sweat. It is now an open secret in many communities in northern Nigeria that voters remain undecided until traditional rulers decree who they should cast their votes for.

Having failed to use religion to rally the people to support their wrong-headed campaign, Boko Haram must have reasoned that exploiting this genuine anger of the people against their traditional rulers would do the magic. This thinking informed the failed attempt on the life of the Shehu of Borno last year as well as the attack on the Amir of Kano, two traditional rulers who should feel genuinely insulated from allegations of greed.

Like the failed bid to exploit religion, the attack on traditional rulers is a desperate change of tactics, a counter-productive move that has further widened the gulf between the people and Boko Haram. Aside the usual Allah ya isa or God dey, or such invectives as azzalummai which people employ to describe their traditional rulers, very few right thinking Muslims and Christians of northern Nigerian extraction, despite their genuine anger imagine that killing traditional rulers is part of the solution to the many problems of the north.

Of course these are polluted, hateful and hate filled times but despite the madness of the moment, many northerners do not imagine that killing innocent Nigerians, Muslims and non Muslims, in their homes, in market places or at their places of worship or killing policemen, be they Christians or Muslims, is the way forward. Only criminals who read their religious books upside down do.

Like a bad dream, Nigerians will outlive the ongoing madness. The attack on Dr. Ado Bayero was probably intended to be a game changer. A punch drunk boxer will gasp for breath to muster all effort in the hope of landing a killer punch to turn the tables against a better prepared and more determined foe. That is what Boko Haram's daredevilry of 19 Januaryrepresents.
Posted by: Fred 2013-01-27