Fellow Nigerians let me start by saying that I hate conspiracy theories generally. The reason is simple. They are like superstitions. They are not capable of any logical, rational, scientific analysis or basis yet people have wholesale beliefs in them. They consider them to be true, even though they know they are stranger than fiction. It is almost impossible not to engage in all manner of guesswork, speculation and conjecture in Nigeria.
The rumour-mill is one of the most vibrant, and sometimes lucrative, pastimes in our clime. Indeed, rumour mongering is a national pastime at which Nigerians excel and shine in all their glory. Nigeria is a country where all tales are believable, no matter how improbable!
Please, forgive me because I’m about to indulge in some high-level conspiracy theories myself. These particular theories have risen above the realm of mere conjecture to attain the level of first faction and then reality, because of the many times they have been avowed and disavowed and the blurring of falsehood, fake news and truth that has thus been occasioned. By the time I’m done, I’m sure you will understand my predicament and appreciate my acute frustration.
Just as much as the allegations of massive corruption levelled against the Jonathan government, the other major reason he was sacked as President was the spate of rising insecurity, insurgency and banditry in most parts of the country. The abduction of the young and innocent Chibok girls from their secondary school and the way they literally vamoosed from the surface of the earth was like the last straw that broke the camel’s back and it obviously helped to quicken the downfall of that government at the polls. It was impossible not to view the government as irredeemably clueless from that moment onwards. The hype and media frenzy generated by the incident, and the blame and guilt laid at the doorstep of the forlorn, gormless and doomed government, was so huge that it soon became a global fad, with national and international celebrities and human rights activists falling over themselves to show solidarity for the plight of the girls and their helpless and hapless families.
Today, I’m now reasonably convinced that the entire melodrama was meticulously planned and masterfully executed in order for some people to paint President Goodluck Jonathan as pathetically incompetent, and the reason his government must be sacked urgently. I confess to believing the full narrative at the time, like most Nigerians, hence my almost fanatical support for Major General Muhammadu Buhari, in that sad period of our nascent democracy. I wish to express my sincere apologies once again for believing that tale by moonlight and for being amongst those who plunged Nigeria into this unmitigated disaster from which we may not fully recover in decades to come unless God decides to deliver us miraculously.
In 2015, when President Buhari assumed power, the insecurity was largely limited to the North East, around Borno/Adamawa axis. Of course, there were kidnappings, militancy and oil theft in the South South and South East, but these were not as bad as what was unfolding in the North East. If, at that time we thought that there was insecurity, it has certainly become child’s play when compared to what obtains today. Those who stoked and fanned the embers of insecurity in the North East for their nefarious political ends now realise that they have bitten more than they can chew. There is an Australian boomerang effect, and the plot and gambit has turned full circle. We are now in the situation where people are running with the hare and hunting with the hounds in order to curry the favour of the Government which seems to be shielding the bandits, insurgents and terrorists and things are simply just falling apart. It is now so bad that nobody can tell the difference as to who is chasing who, because these bandits and terrorists seem far better organised, disciplined and equipped than the Nigerian military.
As I write this, terrorists, insurgents and bandits have encircled Nigeria. While Boko Haram continues to wreak havoc with mathematical precision, in its traditional domains of the North East, other terrorists, warlords and janjaweeds have emerged in the Northwest and there are bandits in nearly every zone. They operate with so much confidence and gusto. They dare the authorities to come after them knowing, each time that there is a clash, it is the Nigerian military that is worse off with its nose proverbially bloodied!