In every society, peace is the most priced commodity because every other variables depends on it. This explains why stakeholders like the security agencies, traditional institutions and civil society organisations (CSOs) throw everything to the works to ensure peace is sustained.
However, in recent times, certain ‘disgruntled’ elements are out to shatter the prevailing peace in Nigeria by raising false alarm on the existence of an intelligence report, which purportedly advised President Muhammadu Buhari, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj Gen Babagana Monguno (rtd), that failure to rescind the decision by the presidential candidate of the APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, to select another Muslim as his running mate could plunge the country into chaos.
One of the nagging questions begging for answer is, to what ends are these elements doing this? From all intent and purposes, this is politics and mischief carried too far. Political actors must understand that they are first politicians because there’s a country. It is a clear case of subterfuge attempt to impeed the wheels of governance, which has been running smoothly under President Buhari. If not mischief, what else could be their intentions for raising such alarm?
These conflict entrepreneurs are always not happy whenever a purposeful leader emerges to fix things. In the last seven years under Buhari, the office of the NSA has been effectively coordinating Service Chiefs, leading to the modernisation of our security architecture, away from the archaic approach to hiTech. This accounted for why intelligence reports led to the foiling of high profile attacks. But a situation where mischief makers have decided to move their antics to alledging fake intelligence report is dangerous for Nigeria.
How can we have forgotten so soon how bad Nigeria’s security situation was before Buhari assumed office on May 29, 2015, warranting him to appoint NSA Mongonu? Today, Boko Haram or any terrorist organisations don’t hold an inch of our territory, unlike in the past when they captured territory, hoisted their flags and declared a Caliphate. Is Jos, the Plateau State capital, still on fire today? What about the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, where bombs were just flying?
In the ill-fated online report, authors of the fake report had claimed that Tinubu’s decision to nominate a fellow Muslim as vice presidential candidate for 2023 presidential election will destabilise Nigeria and put Christians’ lives in danger. This statement is misleading as much as it is ridiculous and baseless. If not, what’s the nexus between the welfare of Christians in Nigeria and who is in power? I stand to be corrected that there are more Churches in Nigeria than they are Mosques. Apart from the president and vice president, they are too many key governmental positions that Christians can be appointed into.
But these kind of deliberate sabotage, if allowed to go unpunished, can embolden others to issue more of such damaging, false and fake security alarms in the future in the name of intelligence report. It is on record that many countries have found themselves in precarious security situations like this. We will not forget in a hurry how the Rwandan genocide was ignited through misleading information and propaganda. Somalia was an otherwise peaceful country untill political forces decided to mislead the people. Hence, more than three decades later, these African countries are yet to recover.
Permit me to reference the bloody Liberia and Sierra Leonean civil wars, which was sparked by misinformation in the 90’s. It took Nigeria, under the auspices of ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG), to quench the fire in those countries. The question is, have they recovered economically from the effects of the wars? The resounding answer is no! The world’s newest country, South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, is in turmoil right now.
What triggered the crisis in South Sudan was simply the promotion of primordial sentiments like ethnicity and religion over merits and competence. This is the same thing these disgruntled elements are attempting to promote in Nigeria in order to plunge the Buhari-led governmemt into chaos.
It is quite necessary to drum this reality into the numb skulls of these mischevious elements that it is only the party’s presidential flag bearer that has the right to choose whosoever he deems fit as his running mate and Tinubu has made his choice in the person of Senator Shettima. Muslim-Muslim ticket is not an issue here and shouldn’t be because what Nigerians need is a leader with a large heart who can deliver the dividends of democracy to the people.
Besides, Tinubu and Shettima are two individuals who have good track records of good leadership right from their respective states as former governors and have volunteered themselves to steer the leadership boat of this country. What they should expect from us is not criticisms but encouragement to enable them deliver good leadership when they must have taken over in 2023.
Poverty or bad governance has no religion or ethnicity. Lest we forget, every candidate would choose a loyal and competent person as his running mate. Tinubu has made it clear why he opted for a Muslim-Muslim Ticket. I had stated this repeatedly and categorically that Tinubu who has been married to Senior Pastor Oluremi Tinubu for more than 40 years cannot persecute Christians. This is quite unlikely. It remains to be explained to a discerning mind how a democratically elected President, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, could become agent of destruction of the country he is elected to unite and govern.
Let me repeat like I have said before that Senator Kashim Shettima is one of the most Christian-friendly person you can find in northern Nigeria. As a governor of Borno State, Shettima rebuilt 56 Churches destroyed by Boko Haram?
For the sake of emphasis, there is no emotion in a candidate choosing his/her running mate. Political mathmatical skills have to be deployed to gain advantage over opponents. This is exactly what the APC presidential candidate, Tinubu, has done.
Contrary to the ongoing twisting, turning and standing of facts on its head, the intention is never to undermine Christians in Nigeria, or Northern Nigeria. The controversy that has trailed Tinubu’s pick is the handiwork of mischief makers who are afraid of APC’s towering chances under Buhari and are out to make political capital out of Tinubu’s choice of Shettima.
As I conclude, let me state clearly that under President Buhari, no mischief maker will succeed in their attempt to cause chaos by tinkering with the country’s intelligence architecture meticulously structured by NSA Monguno. Nigeria will continue to defy the projections of dooms day analysts who thought that by now Nigeria would have been history. Instead of disintegration into shreds and blood shed as anticipated, the United Nations, European Union, African Union and governmemts of leading countries have continued to applaud Nigeria for holding on and waxing stronger.
-Ibrahim is director, Communications and Strategic Planning, of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC)