Boko Haram: Time To Win The Peace, By Abubakar Abubakar
There is a moment that is gathering momentum that I totally subscribe to wholesale. It is the concept of winning the peace in Nigeria's northeast following the sacking of Boko Haram terrorists from Sambisa Forest. The terrorists' half a decade of madness left behind devastation beyond what those living in the areas have ever witnessed in their living memory. 

In the wake of the Nigerian Army capturing Sambisa Forest, the last stand of the terror sect, which is effectively winning the anti-terror war, people begin to talk about winning the peace in that region and by extension the country. 

There are also those that are talking about how it is impossible to defeat terrorists. When given the chance to further articulate their assertion, it turns out that they are fixated on dealing with terrorism using models that have been tried without success elsewhere. These groups of people fail to reckon with the unique approach adopted by the Nigerian Army, under Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai as Chief of Army Staff (COAS). 

Whatever the arguments that these sets of people want to come up with, it is better to be innovative in dealing with the challenges of terrorism, which has its peculiarities in Nigeria. If the Army captures or kills the last of the terrorists and we decide to remain in mental shackles then terrorism would remain a problem. This is what makes it imperative that we begin to think as stakeholders about how to come in and make impact now that the Army has done the larger part of the work. 

This is what makes the idea of winning the peace an attractive one that we must pursue to a logical conclusion if the ravages of Boko Haram terrorism must be put behind us especially for the younger ones, who must face the rest of their lives without carrying around too much of the scars of what they have been through. 

The task of winning the peace and stamping out the last vestige of Boko Haram lies on the people and their leaders in the region, particularly in Borno state where the terrorists' scourge is worst. They must consequently acknowledge that the task ahead for them is to win the peace if only for their people. 

A good starting point is for northeast political stakeholders to prevail on the factional Boko Haram leaders, Abubakar Shekau and Abu Musab al-Barnawi as well as their fleeing commanders and fighters to surrender now. The additional leverage offered by the intensified global onslaught on their major franchises in the middle east should be brought to bear since security experts have predicted that it is weakening – so Shekau and al-Barnawi should be made to realize that no help would come to their decimated numbers from the previous sources. 

A second approach is to cut off all uncanny support for those connected to Boko Haram in any capacity – fighters, strategists, financiers, pursers, propagandists, recruiters, sympathizers and just anyone whose association with the terror sect helped to make it deadly. What recent events revealed is that people unwittingly keep Boko Haram in place because of filial considerations that means people protect the group's members whom they first see as being family before being terrorists. But cutting off support for such errant family or clan members may help them see the folly of their association while depriving the terrorists the resources needed for regrouping. 

Once people can talk their relations into jettisoning the terrorists' ideology it should help isolate Shekau and al-Barnawi and further pressure them into giving up on any thoughts of regrouping. That should heighten the likelihood of them either submitting for processing and reintegration or they will look for other places to ply their evil wares but definitely not in Nigeria. 

Winning the peace further entails dispensing of the less than desirable behavior and sentiments that provided the fertile soil for terrorism to take root. Stakeholders in that geopolitical zone must accept the reality that any gain from exploiting Boko Haram as a tool for any purpose would be short term while the backlash would be even more devastating now that the terrorists have had the taste of defeat. 

Those in position of trust have roles to play. At the height of the insurgency, poverty was widely blamed for providing Boko Haram with tens of thousands impoverished youths as a pool to recruit from. The pressure on the economy from several factors has making poverty a more pressing issue than ever. The political class must therefore for once apply funds for what they are meant for so that by tackling poverty they starve terrorists of recruits. 

We must also dispense of the culture of political correctness that makes it possible for people to preach extremist views without fear of repercussion. Clerics that teach hate should be sanctioned and that works only when "powerful people" in government are not providing cover for such Boko Haram recruiters.

Even coming up with fresh ideas on how to finish off the remnant of Boko Haram will contribute to winning the peace. It is something that stakeholders in the northeast cannot afford to leave for others to do for them. Boko Haram was a national plague but the horrors of its destructive days were felt most in that particular region for which the stakeholders were blamed either for not doing enough when it mattered or for being part of the problem for petty reasons. This is what makes it imperative that stakeholders drive the process of winning the peace while repudiating any form of backing to Boko Haram and other Nigerians will pitch in their support.

It is therefore inimical to the collective interest to seek political, religious or even economic capital by supporting Boko Haram to regroup. That would not be winning the peace. If the capture of Sambisa Forest can be likened to cutting off the head of the serpent now is the time to incinerate its carcass just to be doubly sure it will not play any hydra trick on all of us.

ABUBAKAR is Chairman, Planning Committee of North EAST Mega Rally for Peace, Writes from Damaturu.

BREAKING: Military Jet Crashes, Top Army General, Others Die
Authorities in Cameroon say a helicopter fighting the Boko Haram insurgency has crashed on the border with Nigeria, killing six people including the commander of this central African nation’s troops.

The a top general in charge of Cameroon’s fight against Islamist militant group Boko Haram died in the crash on a patrol mission, the government said on Monday.

Midjiyawa Bakari, governor of the far north region of Cameroon, confirmed that General Jacob Kodji died on Sunday evening near the village of Bogo while on an inspection mission. Three other top officials and two crew members also died.

The crash happened on Sunday evening in the Bogo district of the Far North region, where Cameroonian troops and a regional task force have been fighting the Islamist group for two years.

A multinational force has been fighting Boko Haram extremists who have expanded their deadly insurgency beyond Nigeria and into neighboring countries in the Lake Chad region.

General Jacob Kodji was commander of the 4th joint military region and head of a counter-Boko Haram unit called Operation Emergence 4. Three other officers also died in the crash, the cause of which was unknown, the government said in a statement.

Boko Haram is based in northern Nigeria and launches frequent cross-border raids in a bid to carve out an Islamic caliphate. Its eight-year insurgency has killed more than 15,000 and displaced two million people in the Lake Chad region.

Boko Haram’s six-year insurgency in North-eastern Nigeria has led to the death of some 20,000 people, destroyed more than 1,000 schools and displaced more than 2 million people.

The insurgency has kept about one million children out of school in Nigeria, forcing more than two million people to flee their homes, particularly in the three neighbouring states, according to the UN children’s agency.

Boko Haram has frequently targeted crowded areas — such as markets, places of worship and refugee camps — in suicide bomb attacks across northeast Nigeria and in neighboring Cameroon and Niger.

APC Govs In Fresh Unanimous Plot To SACK National, Chairman, Oyegun, Tips Ex Colleague As Replacement
Blueprint - Indications emerged yesterday that the governors on the platform of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), may have concluded plans to pass a vote of no confidence on the current National Working Committee (NWC) of the party.

It was also gathered that the Chief John Oyegun leadership was not ready to hold a National Convention any soon, contrary to a press statement put out last week, for fear of being sacked.

Blueprint gathered that some of the governors involved in the plot have, however, begun a serious search for possible replacements of the current NWC members of the party.

A dependable source and a senior member of the party’s Board of Trustees (BoT), who pleaded not to be named in print, said most of the APC governors, had lost confidence in their representatives and Oyegun’s general leadership style.

Already, the source said, “the current NWC had breached the party’s Constitution “which clearly states that National Convention must hold within every two years, but the reverse has been the case.

“Most of the current national officers are having one issue or the other against their governors. In Imo, Rochas Okorocha is not in the same camp with the National Organising Secretary, Osita, who is representing his state. In Kano, the current National Treasurer is a
core loyalist of Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, which Governor Ganduje is not comfortable with.

“The same thing in Edo, the current National Chairman cannot continue to enjoy the support of Governor Obaseki because of the former governor’s interest in the same seat.

Go to Kaduna, Governor El-Rufai has lost confidence in the APC National Vice Chairman, Inuwa

Abdulkadir, and the list goes like that. So, the current NWC members know these facts and they are just buying time.”

When reminded of the move by the party to hold National Convention in April, the chieftain who dismissed the statement, said: “It is only a tree you will tell that you are going to cut down and it would still be standing and waiting for you. The NWC members know that some party members are not happy with them, and would not risk to convoke the gathering of the party that would lead to their ousters.”

Chairman of the Progressives Governors Forum, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, had revealed during a visit to the party secretariat in the thick of the crisis between the NWC members and the National Leader of APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, that the party leadership was in need of

However, in a statement issued by the new APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Bolaji Abdullahi, last week, the party said the decision to hold National Convention not later than April, this year, was one of the outcomes of the NWC’s meeting which held last week at the party’s national secretariat in Abuja.

The statement added that the processes leading to the National Convention would begin with the congress to fill vacancies in the state party structures across the country.

“The vacancies to be filled occurred principally from political appointments, deaths and resignations. The Congress to fill the vacancies would be followed closely by another Congress to nominate delegates into the mid-term non-elective Convention of the party.

“The Congresses will be followed by the National Caucus meeting, and finalised with the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party, which will consider and set the dates for the National Convention, which is expected to hold not later than April of 2017.”

On Oyegun’s possible replacement, it was gathered that the former Governor of Edo state, Adams Oshiomhole, had intensified efforts to become the number one party member.

It was gathered that the former governor’s Special Adviser on Media, Kazzim Afegbua, was at the party secretariat last week.

Although his mission was not known, a source said Afegbua, who was SA (media) to Oshiomhole, took time out to move round the party secretariat and some offices.

In a chat with journalists at the weekend, another chieftain of the party at the state level said: “As you know, some persons are angry with the National Chairman and these are people who are supposedly to finance the party.

“They believe that if Oyegun is removed, they can continue to finance the party and this is what some NWC members would like to see happen in the party.”

Goodluck Jonathan
A diehard supporter of Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and a former minister of labour and productivity under the previous administration, Joel Ikenya has switch political loyalty from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ikenya, who is from Taraba state, told journalists on Monday, January 23 in Jalingo, the state capital that his defection was informed by the inspiring achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.

“My reasons for decamping from the PDP to pitched tent with the ruling party are based on the many achievements the president have recorded within his first one year in office.

“The success he achieved in restoring peace to the troublesome North-East zone alone is something we cannot shy away from no matter our political party differences.

“Buhari’s fight against corrupt practices is also one of the major factors that motivated me to dump my former political party to the ruling APC,” Mr. Ikenya said.

NAN reports that the former minister has now pledged his total support and that of his supporters President Buhari in order to lead the nation to greater heights.

“My supporters and I will support Mr President because a close look at his appointments will show you that no region benefited from his appointments like the North-East.

“I want to use this platform to call on citizens from the northeast region to put aside sentiments and support the president in reciprocity for all the good things he has done for us,” Ikenya said.

Ikenya's defection follows the declaration of ex-Senate president Ken Nnamani that his former party PDP is now dead.

Nnamdi had also defected from PDP to APC at the weekend and made this declaration on Sunday, January 22 at his Amaechi ward, Enugu state after joining the APC.

2019: PDP In Frantic Move For Rebranding, Considers Name Change; As Prof. Jerry Gana, Agbaje Hold Secret Meeting With Ladoja In Ibadan
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, the Chairman of the 85-member Peoples Democratic Party Strategy Review and Inter-Party Affairs Committee, Professor Jerry Gana, on Sunday, met with a former governor of Oyo State and national leader of the Accord Party, Senator Rashidi Ladoja, behind closed doors.

Gana who was in company of the 2015 governorship candidate of PDP in Lagos State, Mr. Jimi Agbaje met Ladoja at Ondo Street Bodija residence in Ibadan and engaged in a meeting that lasted for three hours.

The duo of Gana and Agbaje were received by Ladoja and his political associates among whom were Senator Femi Lanlehin; Barrister Bayo Lawal; Chief Bayo Lawal; Professor Tunde Ayeleru; Hon. Fatai Adesina; Mr. Nureni Adisa; Alhaji Bashir Lawal and Dr Nureni Adeniran.

The visit came about two months after the governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, sent a delegation of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), led by Ambassador Bianca Ojukwu and a former Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, to discuss third force arrangement with Ladoja in Ibadan.

Speaking with journalists after the meeting, Professor Gana said his committee, having sat for close to two months, decided to implement one of the key recommendations which was to “touch base with prime movers and genuine democrats who were solidly part of the PDP.”

It would be recalled that Ladoja dumped PDP in December 2010 in the wake of the division that tore the party apart in the build up to the 2011 general election in which he ran for the governorship of the state under the banner of the Accord Party.

The elsewhile Minister of Information, stressed the need for all genuine democrats to unite and rescue Nigeria from the ”ineptitude of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2019 general election.”

He noted that Ladoja and other democrats across party lines in the country needed to come together in the interest of sustainable democracy, peace, security and good governance in the country.

“We are here to really convey our good wish to Senator Rashidi Ladoja who, though is a key leader in Accord, is one of the founding fathers of the PDP. We are touching base with genuine democrats, those who really wish democracy well in Nigeria. We have come with a very clear message that all democrats must unite,” he said.

Asked if the PDP could attract leaders of other opposition parties to fuse into it in view of its leadership crisis, Gana said the crisis in the PDP was being blown out of proportion, saying that 95 per cent of the party’s leaders were on the same page.

He expressed optimism that the pending judgment of the Appellate Court on the leadership tussle in the party would clear all doubts about the authentic leadership of the party.

He added that the PDP would be re-invented after its committee submits its report and recommendations implemented, but declined to comment on whether the name of the party would be changed.

Our correspondent learnt that one of the proposals put to Gana by Ladoja camp was the need to change the name of the party to attract “genuine democrats.”

Photo Of 'Dead' Buhari Watching Aide On ChannelsTV Interview From UK Holiday
Wickedly rumoured to have died, the presidency has released pictures of President Muhammadu Buhari holidaying in the United Kingdom.

The latest pictures have further laid to rest the media reports that the president was dead.

There was palpable fear and confusion in the country during the weekend when report cropped up in a section of the media that the president has passed on at the age of 74.

However, the presidency while describing the report as unfounded, said Buhari was alive and enjoying his holiday.

To further confirm the report that the president was not dead, presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina on Monday morning released some pictures of the President watching him (Adesina) as a guest on Channels TV on Sunday.

In the pictures, Buhari was spotted donning a black kaftan and a black cap in a palour while watching Adesina on Channels Television.

He wrote on his official Facebook page, “As he holidays in London, President Muhammadu Buhari keeps abreast with events at home. On Sunday, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, was guest of Channels Television. President Buhari also kept a date, January 22, 2017.”

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