El-Rufai, Boko Haram apologist, political opportunist or verbal contortionist? Your call!

By

Noel A. Ihebuzor

I visited my archives and found a rejoinder I wrote to this article by Malam Nasir El-Rufai. It is still worth reading for two reasons. The first is the persisting BH scourge which has been marked lately by the increasing savagery, mindlessness and bestiality of their attacks. The kidnapping of innocent schools in Chibok and the earlier slaughter of school children outside their dormitory represent the high point of this campaign of sadistic and mindless savagery. The second reason to read the article again is related to recent attempts to firm up, embellish and market a four variants model of Boko Haram by Mr El-Rufai. How solid is the evidence for such a model? How good is a model building that picks, chooses and stretches evidence at the whims of convenience? What levels in frequency of occurrence justify inferences and conclusions on which such a bold four variant models is built?  Such questions are worth asking as the country struggles to separate fact from fiction and facts from faction-driven twists and distortions. Model building is a serious business and is different from an exercise embarked upon out of spite and bitterness and in a style characterized by malicious flippancy. In its present form, Mr El-Rufai’s four variants model is not very persuasive. Its intentions are not to clarify issues but to obfuscate and to divert attention and public wrath from the sponsors and apologists of BH. The reader will recall that Malam El-Rufai had in the recent past, with plenty of characteristic indecent haste, given great publicity to an interview granted by Dr. Davis which had suggested, by implication, that Gen Ihejirika was a BH sponsor. Gen Ihejirika has since replied and the reader is advised to read all three sources – the Davis interview, the El-Rufai uncritical publicity blitz of the same and the General’s Response and make up his/her mind as to where truth, sanity and decency lie.

Click here for the El-Rufai article – and read my rejoinder below. At the end, ask yourself this question, in consideration of the said article, my rejoinder and recent outbursts by Malam El-Rufai whether we are dealing with a BH apologist, a political opportunist, a verbal contortionist or simply with a man in acute need of help.

=========

This is a very revealing write-up. Though well researched, the findings of the research are selectively used and herein lies its major flaw. Malam El-Rufai may not want to be seen as apologist and spokesperson for the BH but this is the impression that stays with one as one goes through much of this article. Let me illustrate with one or two examples.

I will be drawing excerpts liberally from the write up by Mr Nasir El-Rufai (NER for short in the rest of this comment) as I make my long comment, with advance apologies to NER for any plagiarism.

NER describes BH as peaceful in origin. But read below -

“In April 2007, Sheikh Jaafar was murdered in cold blood while praying in his mosque in Kano by assailants that years later turned out to be suspected members of a sect to be known as Boko Haram, operating out of Bauchi State”.

Can such a group be correctly described as “largely peaceful”. Largely peaceful should be made of more peace conducing acts!

NER affirms “Many in the North see the patent inaction of the authorities as the advancement of a sinister agenda to destroy an already near prostate northern economy through occupation, militarization and disruption of socio-economic activities. The federal government has done nothing to deny these or indicate otherwise, and the state governments have acquiesced to the cavalier attitude of the Villa.”

This is mischievous, inaccurate, unhelpful and is deliberately crafted to further incite a section of the country against the rest. NER knows that action has been engaged and is on-going yet NER finds it convenient and expedient to the advancement of the agenda he defends to deny these.

NER also tries to distinguish between what he calls variants of BH – “Many of us believe that there are at least four variants of Boko Haram – the real BH and three other fakes – sponsored by the government, politicians and criminal groups – that use the brand to advance their own self-centered agendas”. Questions for NER – who is this “Many of us” and where is the evidence base for this belief? Unless substantiated, such sweeping statements are simply exercises in sensationalism and are very unhelpful.

NER says nothing in this write up of the consistent targeting of symbols or institutions of Christianity by the BH. This is a deliberate omission that weakens the credibility of his analysis of the causes of the BH terrorism. Rather, NER is at pains to point out greater northern and Muslim casualties as a result of BH terrorism. Here, he creates the unfortunate impression that his primary concern is with the lives of northerners and Muslims, a focus which I believe betrays a mind-set we should all condemn. One also notices with great concern the very subtle manner NER tries to elevate BH terrorism to the level of an insurgency challenge.

NER appears to know what does not motivate BH and can thus advise those thinking of an amnesty type program to go back to the drawing board! To what does NER owe this knowledge?  Yet NER recommends dialogue and “honest discussions” between government and BH, and with that the implicit that either that there have not been such dialogues or that discussions that have taken place so far have not been honest!

NER’s section where he mentions the Maitatsine is particularly worrying since it could be read to mean that persisting difficulties with unearthing BH in the north could reflect surrounding community acceptance and admiration of this group. If this is true, then there is indeed great cause for worry. If it is not then NER’s “the current situation in Kano and Borno States is one in which the military occupiers are killing more innocent people than Boko Haram, which injustice is creating resentment against the Army” should be read as unfortunate attempt at creating resentment against law enforcement agencies carrying out a difficult national assignment against a terrorist group that vanishes into and blends with the crowd.

NER’s last paragraph reads like a recommendation and endorsement of terror tactics and he achieves this through very crafty paragraph editing. The paragraph commences with an argument that military solutions alone against terrorists do not work, and then shifts to a case for government to act to stop the loss of lives and to deliver a country that works for all. He then ends by urging government to bend over backwards to make this happen. Implicit in all of this is that things are not working well for portions of the country who are now up in arms. This way, NER hopes to reposition and brand the BH terror campaign as a crusade for social justice and not as a manifestation of religious fanaticism, extremism and intolerance which has now been tapped into by a bigoted political elite. And by the way, is the implied threat in NER’s last sentence really necessary?

The unasked question

By 

Noel Ihebuzor

 

We came to the chattering room. 

we asked questions. 

flashes and smiles flashed

their Switches timed to perfection

and the question not asked
spoke of us the loudest! 

 

 

That unasked question

spoke, in silence so salient, strident

shattering the chattering dribble

of hollow voices of hollowed men

revealing their charter, their complicity

with a principal with no principle.

SOYINKA’S OPINION OF BUHARI AND HIS PRESIDENTIAL DREAM

SOYINKA'S OPINION OF BUHARI AND HIS PRESIDENTIAL DREAM.

What political future for a man with such a past and whose entire hopes are pinned on the amnesia of the present?
(Text excerpted from @omoyayinka)

Half of a Yellow Sun – The movie

Noel Ihebuzor:

Hmmm. Now, I am hooked!

Originally posted on Ikhide:

Once upon a time, beautiful men and women rose as leaders to embrace the awesome promise of an emerging nation, Nigeria. They were poets and soldiers, intellectuals and doers who mesmerized the world with beautiful words and crisp uniforms – and proceeded to take the promise apart brick by brick with graft, incompetence and civil strife. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s epic novel Half of a Yellow Sun about Nigeria’s anxieties and the ensuing civil war spoke to the heart of that broken promise in a unique and mesmerizing way. Half of a Yellow Sun is a beautiful book that should be required reading in every classroom, so that we may never forget. Many years ago, I was so taken by it, I wrote a cringe-worthy review in which I gushed aloud my hope that the book would be turned into a movie.

My prayers were answered, there is a movie and…

View original 412 more words

Top 10 Picture Books for Activists in Training by Mathangi Subramanian

Noel Ihebuzor:

A must read!

Originally posted on Nerdy Book Club:

Here’s the thing grownups constantly forget about childhood: sometimes, it sucks. Kids all over the world face poverty, war, bullying, discrimination, and oppression. Being young doesn’t protect you from the pressures of adulthood. It just gives you fewer ways to deal with these pressures, not to mention less control over your life.

But here’s the other thing grownups constantly forget about children: they’re smarter than us. Most of the time, they’re also stronger, more hopeful, and more creative. I’ve met kids all over the world who greet each morning joyfully despite the fact that they don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or where they’re going to sleep that night.

Although I constantly encounter diverse, fiercely optimistic children in real life, I hardly ever see them between the pages of children’s books. Too often, stories for young people feature protagonists whose sanitized adventures occur in immaculate suburban neighborhoods…

View original 795 more words

TOP TEN WAYS TO TURN YOUR CLASSROOM INTO A HOTBED OF ENTHUSIASTIC READERS by Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller

Noel Ihebuzor:

Useful Tips for Parents as well esp 1, 2, 4, 9 and 10.

Originally posted on Nerdy Book Club:

We are intermediate grade teachers who have learned over the years that there are practices that get kids excited about reading.   We tried to rank them but decided they were all equally important.  We can’t imagine eliminating any of them, so these are not in any particular order.

1.  Know your kids.

Did Katie’s hamster die last night?  Is Michael upset because his parents are getting a divorce?  If you know your kids, you can connect readers with books.  LOVE THAT DOG may help Katie express her feelings about her beloved pet.  BIGGER THAN A BREAD BOX may help Michael see his parents as people and forgive them.  Books speak to our students.  Keep students in mind when you read books.

2.  Read aloud EVERY DAY.

We know there is not enough time in the day for all you have to do.  But don’t give up reading…

View original 1,116 more words

19th Sunday Ordinary Time – Readings, Reflections and Prayers

By 

Noel A. Ihebuzor

Love, peace, truth, kindness, justice and faith, key elements in our life and journey on earth are mentioned in the readings for this Sunday. Easy to say words, but often difficult to actualise in our daily existence. Though mostly lived in society and in the company of others, life is a personal search for meaning and self actualisation fired by a vision that drives our mission and purpose on earth. In our search for meaning and for what is good, we end up searching for God, our creator and the author of all that we are. We usually search for God in the big events of life and in so doing lose the many opportunities to see Him, to meet Him and to engage with Him in the more simple events where His presence may be found – in lonely places, in the face of our neighbours, in the stranger looking for love, in the cry of a child whose parents have been killed in airstrike, in the battered wife looking for protection and in the lonely drunk dazed and lost. Yes, we miss such opportunities because we forget these unforgettable lines – whatsoever you do even to the least of these brethren of mine, that you do unto me. 

And faith too. We profess it like Peter, perhaps even more profusely. Come the least wave, the slightest suggestion of a storm, of an upheaval and we sink. And we scream our faith to the roof tops but do not match these with good works – James 2 is an inconvenient read…..but “too much talk is not good for evening mass” – So, let me end this short sharing with prayers for us all

  • May you find God in the simplicity of ordinary day to day events;
  • May you meet God in the quietness of small moments;
  • May truth and kindness meet and unite in your life;
  • May justice and peace embrace, kiss and fuse in our lives;
  • May our faith give you courage to walk on troubled waters and not sink;
  • May faith be our bridge over the troubled waters of life;
  • May your faith be revealed through and matched by your good works;
  • May love, truth, kindness, justice and peace fused as one become our operating software;
  • And may we see the kindness of God and be granted His salvation.

HAPPY SUNDAY, HAPPY WEEK and may God bless you.

Noel

 


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