By Suleiman Umaru
When the six north eastern states governors of Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe met on Wednesday , Mach 3, 2021, at Bauchi, the Buauch state Capital, it was ostensibly to rub minds on the rising insecurity in the region and the way out.
He meeting which is rotated among the governors of the region, was said to have been hosted this time around by Bala Mohammed, a ne -time Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, are and now the governor of Bauchi state. The governors , according informed security sources wer no longer finding it funny about the insecurity in the region caused by the Islamic Fundamentalist Group, BokoHaram and the Islamic state Of West African Province, ISWAP, insurgents which had drien out investors and killed agriculture in the region which is the mainstay of their economy. The meeting may have given the governors the opportunity to collectively cry out to President Muhammadu for help to end the escalation of the activities of the Insurgents in the region.
The governors could not understand that ‘’despite the exploits and sacrifices that had been made by the Nigerianmilitary between 2009 and now, nothing appears to have changed fueling speculations making the rounds that there are people who are benefitting from the crisis and thus, would not want an end to it.
The aggrieved north east governors noted that ‘’the spate of attacks and kidnappings in the various states in the region, particular, Taraba, home state of Lt. Gneral Theophilous Danjuma, a one-minister of Defence in the recent tme bear eloquent testimony to the need ‘’to rejig the security architecture currently being deployed by the government to counter the insurgents’’
This may have informed why the governors had pleaded with the Katsina state born Nigerian President to do everything within his powers’’to end the ravaging insurgency in the region to enhance development’’. The governors, however, believe that one way the government could easily tackle the myriad of security Challenges in the region and the country at large is for the Nigerian President to consider it as a matter of necessity to seek the approval of the National Assembly for the Creation of state police.
Recall that Nasir El-Rufai, a former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, and now governor of Kaduna state, which had been under the constant attack of the Bandits over the last six years, had been at the forefront for the creation of a state police becuause of the increasing insecurity in the state.
It is interesting to note that the north east governors had stopped short at saying that the Authorities have failed to tackle the country’s insecurity Challenges, noting that many people have resorted to self- help to beat the insecurity in their various states as the government could no longer do so.
There is no gain saying the fact that the governors had lost hope of the Buhari led All Progressive Congress, APC, government restoring normalcy in the region that they have called on the retired army General ‘’to seek the military support of the neighbouring West African and Central African countries’’ to end insurgency in the region
Babagana Zulum, a professor and governor of Borno, a state that had produced Tukur Buatai a Lt. General, rtd, and the immediate Chief of Army Staff, who held the office for over six years, and now a confirmed Non Career Ambassador by the Senate,’’ came , saw but could not conquer the Insurgents’’.
Zulum, the Borno state governor , who had been the Champion of the government hiring mercenaries to support the Counter-Insurgency war in the region may have taken advantage of the governors Forum in Bauchi, to push forward again his suggestion to be adopted by the governors of the region as their position.
Hear him: I want to use this opportunity to call on the Federal government to seek support from the neighbouring countries of Chad and Niger with a view to providing a joint action that will look into the possibility of ending he crisis in the region. The Borno state governor who had repeatedly called on the Nigerian President ‘’to consider the possibility of employing mercenaries believes that it is the only possible way to bring the crisis in the region to an end since all other options had failed.
The Borno state governor, who incidentally was the Chairman of the north east governors Forum, had in November 2020, submitted six recommendations to the APC , led Federal government on how to win the war against BokoHaram and ISWAP Insurgents which included engaging the services of mercenaries as well as the immediate recruitment of youths to the military to boost its strength. The Professor believes that the engagement of the mercenaries from Chad, Niger and Cameroon, will help to clear the remnants of the Insurgents in the Lake Chad region and the Mandara mountains.
In a related development, the Leadership of the Opposition PDP, may have read meaning into the Nigerian President declaration of Zamfara, described as the home state of the Bandits in the north west geo-political region, as a ‘’no fly zone’’ which is tantamount to a declaration of state of Emergency as a clever way by the ruling APC , to forcefully take over the governance of the state’’.
The Party which had ruled the country for an interrupted 16 years with the emergence of the BokoHaram Insurgence in the north east, home region of Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice President and Presidential Candidate of the PDP, in the 2019, Presidenial elections in the country, had accused ‘’the power –mongers in the APC ,of plot to undermine and subvert the democratic order in Zamfara state’’.
The party had said that the ruling APC, had hatched out the plot to give Nigerians the impression that Bello Matawalle, the PDP governor of the state was ‘’to blame for the failure of the ruling APC, to contain the rising insecurity in the state and the entire north west geo-political region ’’.
The Opposition PDP had said that the plot by the APC Leadership to derail the Matawalle Administration in Samfara state did not start in one day. The party noted that I hadt started in 2020, after the Supreme Court, the highest ruling Court in the country, handed over the governance of the state to Matawale as the authentic winner of the 2019, governorship lection in the state.
The plot, may have heightened, according to an informed source after Matawalle refused to bow to pressures from both official and unofficial quarters to dump the Opposition PDP and join the APC, the General’s party and who incidentally is from Katsina, a state in the north west.
Many believe that the party leadership I the region may have piled up pressure on Matawalle o decamp to the ruling APC, to ensure that only the APC would be in control of the governance of the seven states in the region: Sokoto, Kebbi, Zamfara, Kauna, Katsina, Kano and Jigawa, in order to speak with one voice On national issues.
The six APC governors elected under platform of the APC, may have seen Matawalle as a bad influence in the region and therefore the plot to force him out of office with the support of the Federal might, political analysts had said.
The Zamfara governor who had been under intense to throw in the towel and join the APC, may have read the handwriting on the wall that he has volunteered ‘’to resign to ensure that there is peace in the state. Appearing on Channels , a non-partisan private Television station, Matawalle, had said that he is intimidated by the Nigerian President ‘s declaration of a ‘’no- fly zone in Zamfara’’.
In an emotional outburst , he had said, ‘’ I am ready to accept any solution that will bring security in the state’’, noting that if it requires his resignation he will not hesitate to do so. He may have told those that cares to listen that he is not intimidated by the retired army General declaration of no- fly zone in his home state, Zamfara as he is not power-hungry.
An aggrieved Matawalle had said that his resignation from office will give him a moment of rest, stressing that he has never had a good sleep, since he won the victory at the Supreme Court as the duly elected governor of the sworn in in 2020 and sworn in by the state Chief Judge. Matawalle’s major worry was that only his state was single out for the n-fly zone restriction order by the Buhari government, an indication that it was a policy taken in bad faith as he was never consulted.
He may have spoken the mind of the PDP leadership when he said that the flight ban ought to have been extended to Kaduna and Katsina, and Niger, home home state of former military President Ibrahim Babangida, a retired army General that are also experiencing the same security Challenges faced in Zamfara.
But given an insider information on why the government took the decision to make Zamfara a no-fly zone , Babaga Munguno, a retired Major General and National Security Adviser , NSA, who incidentally is from Borno, a state in the north east geo-political region disclosed that ‘’it was part of the government efforts to tackle the security Challenges in the state’’, an indication that Matawalle, has failed as the governor of the state