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Opinion

Gumi Is Wrong. War Can End Banditry

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By Mahmud Jega

The widely disseminated statement by Kaduna-based Muslim cleric Dr. Ahmed Gumi titled “War has never been a solution anywhere anytime” is too sweeping to be true. He was referring to the Nigerian Army’s recently stepped-up campaign against bandits in Zamfara and other north-western states, which he says will not end banditry. He said only negotiation and a peaceful settlement with the bandit leaders will do.

For starters, it is not true that war has never resolved any issues. It may not be ideal but throughout human history, nothing resolves contentious issues quite as conclusively as victory on the battlefield. The early Muslim community in Medina managed to survive and to ultimately triumph over their Meccan enemies because of a string of military victories at Badr, Uhud, Khandaq and conquest of Mecca in 629AD. More recently, Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grand Armee was only stopped from total conquest of Europe by military defeats in Russia in 1812 and at Waterloo in 1815.

Ten years ago I attended a meeting in Abuja where colleagues who were urging the Jonathan Administration to negotiate with Boko Haram claimed that every war in world history ended up at the negotiating table. I raised my hand and said that was not true. World War Two, the costliest war in human history, ended in 1945 when the Axis Powers accepted the Allied Powers’ demand for “unconditional surrender.” The famous picture of American 5-star General Douglas MacArthur facing Japanese commanders aboard the USS Missouri in August 1945 was not negotiation; it was to accept their surrender.

Nigerian civil war did not end through negotiation. Commander of 3 Marine Commando Col. Obasanjo had accepted Biafra’s “field surrender” in January 1970. He then took Biafran Chief of General Staff Phillip Effiong to Lagos to see General Gowon, where he read a speech and declared, “Republic of Biafra ceases to exist.”

Not only us. American civil war ended in 1865 not with peace talks but when Confederate General-in-Chief Robert E. Lee surrendered to Commanding General of the Union Army Ulysses Grant at Appomattox. Same way, Chinese civil war of the 1930s-40s ended when Mao Zedong and the Communists rode into Beijing in 1949 and declared the Peoples Republic, while Marshal Chiang Kai-shek and his Kuomintang fled to Taiwan.

A little further back, Sokoto Jihad wars of 1804-08 were resolved on the battlefield. Danfodio did not sign any treaty with Sarkin Gobir because Jihad forces sacked Alkalawa and the kingdom fell. So did all other kingdoms in Hausaland. The vicious Kano civil war of 1893-4, Yakin Basasa, ended when the Yusufawa completely routed Sarki Tukur’s forces, pursued him to Katsina and killed him. In 1903 when British forces captured Sokoto, Lord Lugard read a proclamation to the blind Waziri that “the Fulani in old times under Danfodio conquered this country. It has now passed to the British throne by conquest.” [Never mind the historical inaccuracy]. Don’t be fooled by their modern-day posturing; the Brits didn’t negotiate with us.

When rebels take up arms against the reigning authority, they should better ensure that they have sufficient force to defeat it, or else they will bear the terrible consequences. As Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers, Colombia’s FARC rebels, Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army, Sierra Leone’s RUF, Mozambique’s Renamo, Russia’s Chechen rebels, Spain’s ETA, France’s Corsican separatists, Italy’s Red Brigades, Germany’s Baeder-Meinhof and Japanese Red Army all found out. Right now, Syria’s ten-year civil war is winding down, without any peace treaty because President Bashar al-Assad, with Russian, Iranian and Hitzbullah help, has defeated the rebels that took up arms against him.

It is a different matter if rebels manage to chase out the government, such as when rebels killed Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, Ethiopian rebels that chased out Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991, Somali clan lords that drove away President Siad Barre in 1991 or more recently, the Taliban that drove the US Army out of Afghanistan. A military coup, such as the recent one in Guinea, falls into the same bracket. When Egypt’s General Abdulfatah al-Sisi sacked Muslim Brotherhood’s elected president Mohammed Morsi, jailed him and crushed the brotherhood, there was no need for negotiations.

Sheikh Gumi’s insistence that government must negotiate with the northwestern bandits is unreasonable and impractical. To begin with, the bandits have no political agenda. All they have are a litany of excuses, that they have been marginalised in Nigeria, so they resorted to crime. They are very much like the Janjaweed that terrorised eastern Sudan 15 years ago, ronin of 19th century Japan, or India’s notorious “Bandit Queen” Phoolan Devi.

If it is a matter of redirecting national resources to them in order to ameliorate their community’s marginalization, I have news for the Sheikh. In 1992 when the IBB regime made many concessions and signed a comprehensive agreement with ASUU in order to end its crippling strike, newly-arrived Education Minister and top constitutional lawyer Prof Ben Nwabueze promptly repudiated the agreement in January 1993. He said it was a “valid but not binding” pact for government to negotiate away its sovereign right to allocate resources based on an agreement with a section of its citizens. So, any deal with bandits to channel resources to them is valid but not binding, according to Nwabueze.

In any case, unlike Boko Haram, the bandits have no centralized leadership that government can negotiate with. The recently unveiled book “I am a bandit” by Danfodio University, Sokoto historian Dr. Murtala Ahmed Rufa’i identified 26 bandit groups in Zamfara’s Maradun Local Government alone. Truly, unlike Boko Haram, bandits are not trying to take over the government and run Nigeria. Their aim is to establish several hundred lawless fiefdoms all across the region where they can kill, rape and pillage at will. That is worse than Boko Haram, if you ask me.

Please don’t mistake me for a war monger. Since 1991, I have aligned myself with a statement that the late Talban Bauchi Dr. Ibrahim Tahir made before a judicial commission of inquiry on the Tafawa Balewa crises. He said whatever your grievances are, it is insurrectionary to attack a police station even with stones, and government is entitled to respond with all the force it can muster.

Americans make a distinction between a “good” war and a “bad” war. They say World War Two and invasion of Afghanistan are good wars while Vietnam and Iraq are bad wars. In other words, if a war is forced upon you and you have no choice but to defend yourself, that is a good war. Attacking other people in the name of imperial conquest, “anti-communism” or false claim that they have WMDs is a bad war. Both Boko Haram and bandits attacked the Nigerian state and its people. Fighting them off with all the force the Nigerian military and security forces can muster is therefore a good war.

This is not a war of choice. It was forced on us. If Nigerian Army, after many stumbles, has now assembled enough force to destroy the bandits, by all means we should support them. We should only remind the Army to minimise collateral damage, respect human rights of even the bandits, and make the operation snappy because the closure of markets, petrol stations and GSM service is very costly for the civilian population. We pray for the soldiers’ quick victory and their safety.

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Opinion

The heat is on, the daggers are drawn

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By Adamu Aminu.

Sequel to the petition lodged in by the seven Kano, APC stakeholders led by Senator Malam Ibrahim Shekarau [Kano North] to the national headquarters to investigates the state party on what they termed as leadership failure to carry all the divergent interests along.

As contained in the 7-man undersigned petition letter sent to the national headquarter, the embattled stakeholders cried out in a foul manner of what they called empirical, underhanded, ingenuity of marginalization from all party affairs.

The stance taken by the stakeholders [breakaway members] has brewed resentments and nailed them to the cross of party outrage, to the extent of branding them with a new sobriquet as “Banza literally Bakwai” literally means as “7 inglorious bastards”

Well, this kind of political tug-of-war isn’t peculiar to the Nigerian model of politics.

A politics in Nigerian usage is publicly known not only as a game of numbers where those the majority emerges victorious, but also a game of survival, rivalry, mistrust, backstabbing, seeking for supremacy and craving for power at any cost.

This at a swords points rivalry within or among the opposition parties usually emanates as the clock commences ticking fast to the days of general elections.

The time when the incumbent power holders blindly scrambles for seamless relevance to keep one’s afloat within the fortress of power, in fear of being dumped, mired deeply under the dustbin of political irrelevancy.

While the aspiring ones will be striving to grasp the mandate at any cost – for a reason – to get a sense of bonafide citizenship within the ranks of frontline beneficiaries.

Therefore, since the party Congress is closely around the corner, the daggers are brought out of their sheath, the demarcated line is drawn.

Some questions need to be asked as follows;

a. What is the status of the embattled members who lodged in pa petition to the APC national headquarter?

b. What’s their political future if they didn’t or not allow to partake in the state party Congress?

c. What are the measures taken by the party national headquarters towards reconciliation of the breakaway members and the Kano state APC?

d. If none of the above questions was affirmative, what would be the future of APC in Kano in the forthcoming general elections?

Does it mean the two Senators and couples of the house of representatives members haves or haven’t a role to play in the bid for APC in Kano emerge successfully in the 2023 elections?

Whatever the case may be, time always came along with fair judgement.

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Opinion

Muhammad Usman: The Change Maker

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My name is Muhammad Usman, I am 17 years old and lives in Kano State. I am a Child Right Advocate, Poet, Youngest Humanitarian, Researcher,Sidra Bangladesh Ambassador in Nigeria.
My passion to humanity is driven by the menaces that Almajiri children/ Orphans encounter in life such as lack of access to education, health amenities and social welfare.

I remember when I was 12years old I always used to ask my parents about almajiri children and street children who live in my community. Some of them were my age mates while some are below my age. I always think of there future and the hardship they may encounter in their life.

I have started thinking of the ways through which I will contribute to the betterment of Almajiri children/street orphans.

In 2019 I have organized an enlightenment program with the title “Almajiri Is Also A Child” the program is aim at sensitizing people about the important of helping almajiri child and ways through which we can aid in reforming the system.

In my effort to contribute and motivate young people like me I also introduce an initiative in my school which actualized through working of enlightening and inspiring students.

Moreover, i was able to impact lives especially Almajiri children through feeding projects and education programmes. My program title “Almajiri Iftar Food”
was among the huge program that impacts 500+ almajiri’s here in Kano state.

In 28/3/2020 I realized that I can’t make change along or impact the lives of less fortunate I have to partner with some young people that have the zeal to contribute to this goal. So, I form a charity organization
called “Young Developers Foundation” this is a charity foundation that aid in helping and reviving the lives of Almajiris and Street Orphans.we are eligible to lunch a lot of projects which include: Orphans Skill Acquisition Program, Recap On Your Future Skills and many more projects.

Challenges
Lack of support from some of some of my family relatives.
Misunderstanding From Close Friends: some of my classmates and close friends are misunderstanding my aim in serving humanity. most of them believe that I just want to get fame on media and be proud of.
These and many more are some challenges that I faced in humanitarian work but one thing that always inspired me is my parents support me 100%.

Achievement
Social Media Manager @ World Voice International.
Campus Ambassador @ IMUN (4weeks internship).
Certificate Of Completion On Employee Stress And Wellbeing online course by UK SCHOOL OF BUSINESS MANAGEMENT.
Certificate On Media Journalism By Reuters.
Certificate Of Appreciation By Sidra Bangladesh.
Ambassadorship From Sidra Bangladesh.
Certicate On Critical Thinking By Educlick.
Certificate Of Completion On Business Innovation From Jobber man.
Skills
Critical Thinking Skills
Leadership Skill
Presentation Skill
Being in activism field has made me sharpen and broading my knowledge in different field.
When I feel like giving up I used to tell my mind this quote ” I can do spirit” it always ginger my mind.

I praise on my efforts, i believe that what I am doing people who are 20 years older than me can’t push themselves to do. i inconvenience myself and the several “enjoyments” youths of my age should validly be embracing.
I have amazing plan’s that I think when used will accelerate a progress to the development of my nation but sometimes when I came up of those ideas I get discouraged because the authorities that are capable of implementing such stuffs did not respond to me. just recently I have this idea of creating a software which will enhance the smooth running of many business ventures in Kano state but I wasn’t giving the right opportunity to build up the idea.

In a nutshell, this how I run my life and this is level of success that I have gotten.

Protecting the right of children and humanitarian work is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if need be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.

©Muhammad Usman
11/10/2021

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Opinion

Roses tinted promises, hard-hitting realities

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By Adamu Aminu.

The time crept so past. What’s is done, has been done. Six years out of eight is enough for the discerning to make a fair judgement.

Those who have confidence in the leadership capabilities of the present crop of leaders have many reasons to rejoiced.

While those who felt disappointed by how the polity is moulded and shapes to the likes of a few have many justifications to cry and writhing.

To the few, running an affluent living on the power corridor have every reason to think, perhaps in a self-deceptive mode, they are the luckiest and the national resources is their patrimony.

In the polity where national resources are scoops deeply by few with Caterpillar shovel and give superficially to the malnourished populace with a teaspoon.

While the majority, the sidelined, the downtrodden and the masses wallowing in penury and tribulations, which attested that commoners were not less than subservient to the dominance of the few.

Some of the key promises made by the gap-toothed leader during the last campaign to the victory include insecurity, unemployment, economic recovery, inflation and fighting corruption from stem to stern, among others.

The question is which one among the aforementioned challenges brought down to its knees within these years?

Down to the state level, most of the pledges and promises made during electioneering campaigns, are seemingly sugar-coated and merely lips-serviced.

Despite all the proclamation of resuscitation of education and health care system, none of them patronizing public schools or hospitals within their states.

Wards enrollment in foreign universities and also going for health tourism to cure even for a mild infection is what’s all about.

Where are the promises being made to improve education and healthcare that will cater for all and sundry?

Of course, the return of President Buhari in 2015 sends jittery down the spine of political pirates, which is reminiscent of his hardline brand of governance in a short-lived 20-month of his military administration.

Which indicated the Messiah has returned to salvage the nation – as he was previously seen and thought like a Tiger, feared for his nigritude in past.

But now seen as a scarecrow – frightening from afar, but harmless at the close range, just for his timidity and indolence when it comes to stamped his hammer at the appropriate time for the misdeeds.

Despite the foregoing, President Buhari still holds the trophy for being a man with integrity and transparency, who is universally known for not upholding the tenets of thievery from the public coffers.

With all the pledges he made to fight corruption in all its ramifications, but his party has glaringly become a haven for those who are overtly ambitious to elevate their self-worth.

This happens at a time, the common man is grappling to survive in a nation sandwiched between economic depressions fuelled by a deluge of debts, currency devaluation, unemployment, hyperinflation and insecurities.

Inarguably, the pledges made to deal with the scorching waves of terrorism and other forms of insecurity were at the top of the scale of preference during the electioneering campaign.

Even though the attacks were relatively subdued, but later catapulted to armed banditry in Sokoto, Zamfara, Kebbi, Niger, Katsina and Kaduna states respectively.

This has turned out to be carnage In the affected states in which dozens of people are massacre, hundreds fleeing their homestead almost daily.

While in the Southeast heightening fears resulted from security breaches from militias in were treated with a pinch of laxity.

What would be the hopes of the people from the arm-bandits riddle states, with regards to the promises to safeguards their lives and properties?

At the time, when a high-profile, glitz and glamour wedding of first Son and Bichi Princess took place in Kano, without considering to make the event low-key to mourned the innocent souls massacre by bandits.

What does that portray in the minds of the surviving victims who will think that this happened under the government of their dreamt Messiah? promises to protect their lives and properties?

And apart from that, even to revamp the economy as vigorously pledged with punching-fisted in the air during the campaign is now appears to be a mirage.

People should forget and look ahead. What wasn’t achievable in six years, can’t be achieved in less than a couple of years to come.

To be truthful, the hard-hitting reality is the majority of Nigerians are in severe poverty due to a malnourished, ailing economy.

Anyway, all that’s done has been done. Thanking God for what one’s have is the viable option, and is much better than groaning for what one’s longing for.

But, People are fed up with the brim of penury.

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