A Political Expert and Development Scientist, Tunji Ariyomi, has reiterated that insurgency in Nigeria is not primarily about religion but chiefly about power and politics.
Mr Ariyomi, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Wednesday, was also of the opinion that the abduction of the Chibok girls, as heinous as the crime is, is just a tiny bit of the huge tragedy that has befallen the nation as over 20,000 have, reportedly, died as at May 2014 as a result of insurgency.
“The Security situation is quite unfortunate but I have noticed a trend that we are looking at these issues as if they are isolated”, Ariyomi said.
“When Chibok happened people went haywire with the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign but then Chibok is just a revelation in the events that have become more or less what we could call cumulative of tragedy over time.”
Looking at the issues holistically, Mr. Ariyomi said that if Nigeria must address the problem of insurgency, it would need to review its past efforts.
“I seriously believe there are quite a number of things that we have been doing that seem not to take into consideration the characteristics of the terror we are confronting before us and ahead of us.”
He explained that there was a huge difference between insurgency, especially when it is terror driven and agitations by aggrieved individuals who might resort into violence as witnessed in the country before now.
He gave examples of the Nigeria civil war and the militancy in the Niger Delta which were grievance driven and could lead to people being brought to the table to talk about their differences with a view of solving issues with common sense.
However, insurgency, he said, is a different ball game from that. “This is different and chiefly about terror where the first thing that gets out of the window is reason and the fact that it is not motivated by any equal opportunity.”
He stated further that a solution like the amnesty given to the Niger Delta militants would not work in the issue of insurgency as it is more driven by a different set of rule. Dialogue, according to Ariyomi, would not work as well as the insurgents are more or less faceless. Therefore if the issue would be addressed, consideration must be taken on the special characteristics that make the distinction of what he described as “Cumulative terror”.
The special characteristics that make insurgency distinct, according Mr. Ariyomi, is that it is ideology driven, he said that this was the insurgents’ potent weapon and it is not principally and chiefly religious even if it uses religion as a vehicle.
“It is primarily about power”, Mr Ariyomi declared, adding that the act of insurgency in Nigeria was to make President Jonathan look as if he had lost control of the nation. “I align myself with those who believe Jonathan is the primary target and one of the reasons is to make him look incompetent and make him look out of control. That is why poor people are targeted just to show that the country is ungovernable.”
He also expressed the opinion that Nigeria would be able to address the issues if the aforementioned characteristics could be understood as other countries that have confronted insurgency of the same magnitude before. “That is why every strategy must be holistic, very comprehensive and must have different components ranging from political component, technology component, economic component (and) even subtle propaganda.”
He insisted that the insurgency in the country had been enhanced by the colour of the Nigerian system as there was division in the land, stating categorically, “We are deluding ourselves that we are one; we are not one. We are not a united people”. He added that the traits and sentiments of disunity have also crept in into the military as some of them have been compromised such that people who ought be part of the military leak critical information to insurgents which gives them an edge over the military.
On the way forward, Ariyomi maintained his earlier stance that the fight against terror cannot just be all about the military, different components must be introduced as Nigeria needs a political strategy and propaganda strategy that would address issues and negative narratives relating to insurgency.