When Boko Haram was ravaging parts of the Northeast, many southerners labeled it as a conspiracy against Jonathan, claiming it was being sponsored by northern elites to undermine Goodluck Jonathan and clinch power. Talks like ‘the northern elites should call their people to order’ rent the air.
Now that IPOB terrorists are ravaging the Southeast, we expect the same consistency from those conspiracy theorists. We expect them to use the same logic to accuse Southeast elites of sponsoring IPOB in order to undermine Buhari and clinch power. And we expect calls on the Southeast elites to also call their youth to order.
But no, the new claim now is that it is the same north that’s orchestrating the insecurity in the southeast in order to avoid elections and remain in power beyond 2023. You can see how bigotry can becloud our sense of judgement and make hitherto reasonable people appear unreasonable.
The truth is, both Boko Haram and IPOB are children of Nigeria’s failed leadership, of Nigeria’s failed experiment as a nation. Unfortunately, their visions and claims are similar. While Boko Haram is working for an Islamic theocracy, IPOB is working for an Igbo ethnic Bantustan with a Judaic impostorship.
Not only that, their unraveling is also similar. Built on the narrative of victimhood and exclusion, Boko Haram rode on public sentiments to make Maiduguri unbearable for the Nigerian security. IPOB is riding on the same wave of public complicity to wreak havoc on Nigerian security in the Southeast.
In the short run, the gullible masses will cheerfully ride on the IPOB tiger as Maiduguri people rode on Boko Haram. But Frankensteins neither have a leash nor acknowledge their masters. In no time, they will begin to devour the very population that cheers them.
It wasn’t the Nigerian security that defeated Boko Haram and drove them out of Maiduguri, it was the youth that were initially cheering them or keeping silent that rose in protest and flushed them out of their hiding places. In this asymmetric and unconventional conflict, IPOB can continue to wreak havoc until the people that give them cover rise against them.
But make no mistake, as IPOB terrorists make the Southeast living hell for the security forces, they shall also receive in equal measure, living tales of extrajudicial killings, high-handedness and arbitrariness on both sides, thereby creating a vicious cycle of violence that will only prolong the suffering of the people.
In this kind of conflict, there are only two types of victims: those who are unjustly targeted, maimed or killed, and those who are wrongly accused.
A word, they say, is enough for the wise.