The past week will remain a reassuring reference point in the annals of Nigerian security operations that first surprised the world by sensationally retrieving Nnamdi Kanu, the nation’s most wanted fugitive leader of a violent secessionist cult, from foreign hideouts before forcing the other tribal separatist provocateur, Sunday Igboho, to flee from a lightening raid on his home, abandoning his cohorts and a cache of assault rifles, ammunition and fetish objects. These operations are a pointer to the gravity of wilful threats to the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Nigeria and the absolute necessity to nip them in the bud.
It is most instructive that this spectacular performance of the intelligence community occurred when the propaganda of national pessimism had become an epidemic, riding on the remorseless fixation with doomsday depictions by partisan opposition, ethnic champions and their media megaphones. Pulling off such a breath-taking international intelligence operation and smoking out an “invincible” local war monger in a couple of days was a dazzling display of sophisticated operational strategy that must have aptly sent the appropriate signals in the language of the outlaws.
Apart from the obvious lesson that rebellion and terrorism do not pay, there are many other telling inferences from the shocking and awesome recapture of Nnamdi Kanu and rattling of Sunday Igboho by Nigeria’s security and intelligence services, dramatically demonstrating the dexterity of the proverbially long arm of the law which sooner than later, catches up with those who would rather circumvent constitutional procedure in pursuit of aspirations and even unleash violence in the process. Such uncivilized conduct invariably becomes the nemesis of the “independent” republics should they ever realize their self-serving schemes.
The ultimate import of these operations is the vindication of the critical institutions of state which have remained resilient and resolute in their sworn allegiance to uphold and defend the Nigerian state against all existential threats. The “collaborative efforts” of the nation’s security and intelligence agencies which achieved the feats was a fortuitous reminder to the loud minority of self-imposed politically-ambitious urban “stakeholders” who are quick to write us off as a “failed nation” from which they will “break away” whenever they are outside the corridors of power, that indeed Nigeria is greater than their myopic misgivings.
More crucially, there are Nigerians whose “ambition” is patriotic eternal vigilance and commitment to protect and uphold the sovereignty, law and order for continued peaceful co-existence of the silent but loyal majority of citizens. Citizenship is unconditionally anchored on not having any other country to call your own – or to escape to for refuge after making Nigeria “ungovernable”. But for the unwavering focus of the rank and file of our security, intelligence and defence institutions on the larger picture of territorial integrity, indivisibility and sovereignty of our dear country, the forsaken fate whimsically wished upon it by those political predators interested only in reaping without sowing, would have been a tragic history long ago!
We must see the ethnic geo-political and their motley cliques of “non-state actors” hiding their ulterior mercenary missions with the civil society mask in their true colours as mere rabble-rousing fronts for failed politicians who use them to convert election defeat into a “mandate” to grapple for getting recycled back into power. They obstinately oppose smooth development in the name of political opposition to any government, by constantly contriving caustic criticism and deploying destabilizing disinformation loaded with fake news, hate speech and incitement on private and social media. In their desperation, Nigeria becomes dispensable!
How have ACF, NEF, Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, Middle Belt or Niger Delta pressure groups contributed to stem the tide of insecurity in the areas they claim to be representing? All they do is fanning embers of disunity, intolerance and separation. It is a mark of their duplicity and diminishing relevance that characters like Nnamdi Kanu, Sunday Igboho and bandit groups have practically pushed them aside and turned them into clueless spectators. It is an ominous pointer to what will become of their “republics” if (God forbid !) their separatist –secessionist blind ambitions are realized.
It is high time our over-crowded constituency of ambitious politicians come to terms with the reality of the futility of their notoriously anarchic do-or-die approach to being in government, especially at national level. There is no denying that their relentless desperation to occupy political office at all cost is the most despicable catalyst of geo-political acrimony, insecurity and instability in the country. It is also responsible for the predatory practice of opposition politics motivated by uncompromising rivalry and tendency to undermine the elected government which further heats the polity and impedes democracy and development.
Unfortunately, all the desperation and acrimony is seen to be the result of inordinate ambition to access the spoils of elective office through corrupt practices at the expense of good governance and delivery of dividends of democracy. The elevation of self-interest and other clannish objectives over and above national interest and public good amounts to a great disservice and negation of leadership attributes. Partisan differences in a democracy should be moderated by a common commitment to promote unity, peace, development and progress of the people. Electioneering should not entrench bitter rivalry or be extended beyond campaign season so that positive partnership can be engendered to ensure success of the popularly elected government. Abandoning national interest and public good is as bad as waging war against the country.
It is therefore timely as a re-affirmation of the dependability and indispensability of our indefatigable and patriotic security and intelligence national assets that Nigeria recorded such an internationally-acclaimed feat in capturing a major fugitive enemy in a robust riposte to the unfounded mischievous rating as a failed state. The patriotism and zealous devotion to preservation of the territorial integrity and maintenance of law and order of the security agencies is bore out of keen appreciation of the inalienable right of the majority common people of Nigeria to peaceful coexistence, law and order to make a living and raise families.
From all indications, this is just the first salvo in a forthcoming decimation of insurgents and terrorists as the Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari decisively declared : “whoever wants the destruction of the system will soon have the shock of their lives. We’ve given them enough time… we will treat them in the language they understand.” The cool and comfortable appearance of Nnamdi Kanu in a trendy designer suit speaks volumes of the “soft touch” applied in capturing and bringing him back to court by the security agencies, thus providing further evidence of the genuineness of President Buhari’s acclaimed transformation to a democrat, especially when compared to the “cargo treatment” deployed in the failed capture of late Umaru Dikko by the then military government! Due commendation must go to the security agencies for these astonishing accomplishments that remind us of their being there for Nigeria –even when we think they are not.
Maduka writes from Awka