Waiting in vain, for a presidential phone call…

Recently in an interview, Human Rights civil activist Mallam Shehu Sani apparently stated:

“… I have repeatedly said that if President Jonathan can make a phone call to me today and ask me of one person who can solve the problem, I will give him the name of the person. And apart from the person, I don’t see the possibility of any other person whom the group can trust,” the activist declared. - Guardian Nigeria online

Mallam Shehu Sani remains for me, one of the few and respected civil rights activists in northern Nigeria and Nigeria as a whole, but in this instance, I believe he has erred and in a rather strange and dangerous manner. I urge the good gentlemallam to address this error immediately in order to kick start the potential peace he speaks about with Boko Haram.

Shehu Sani, does not appear to be one of those Nigerians looking for cheap publicity, or trying to desperately remain relevant within the Nigerian political arena.  So one must take his words seriously and assume he is indeed interested in a genuine resolution of the current Boko Haram crisis in Nigeria.
The first thing that Mallam Shehu Sani must do, is to publicly back up some of his statements from the Guardian interview with further information. For example, he alleges the government is sabotaging efforts and moves for a peaceful resolution of the Boko Haram crisis. Now he needs to name the names of those people or organizations within the Jonathan administration that are blocking the efforts to peace and let those persons now be asked the relevant questions, and also they should have the opportunity to defend their stance if indeed found to be true to all Nigerians.

Secondly, he does note that some of these “elements” within the government believe in the use of force only to bring a resolution to the crisis. Force must always remain an option to be used against those that engage in the mindless and senseless killing of fellow Nigerians. Hence even as dialogue might be a preferred and productive option, force must also remain an option and not taken off the table. As the United States is not opposed to potential and possible dialogue with the Taliban, via its new proposed office in Qatar, it maintains the military offensive against the group. It is not that different with Boko Haram.
Third, if the good mallam has a name, why does it require a direct call from the president? Has he contacted the relevant authorities like the Nigerian Police, State Security Services, National Security Adviser, et al and run into brick walls? How about the Minster of defense? Or Minister of Police affairs? All the individuals and organizations above have physical offices in Abuja, how about Mallam Sani take a camera crew with him as he makes an attempt to go in and give them this all important information. How about he go to the National Assembly and tell them what he knows over there in a closed ( as they seem suddenly like) or public session, especially as the House of Representatives, seems to enjoy being on Nigerian television for all manner of public hearings.

So the question comes back to his comments about “elements” within the Jonathan administration sabotaging the efforts to resolve the crisis. It should certainly not require an actual phone call from the president of Nigeria for the good gentlemallam to figure out a way to engage this “person” in order to jumpstart a resolution to the crisis.

Giving Mallam Sani the benefit of the doubt, possibly, this is the first salvo from him, or the next step in his plan / battle to checkmate and expose those elements within the Jonathan administration standing in the way of a peaceful resolution of the crisis. Are we to now hope that those elements will come forward and publicly rebut Mallam Sani? Or will this “threat” to expose them galvanize them into action?

As regards the meeting he claims to have brokered when Ex-President Obasanjo met with Babakura Fuggu  a member of the slain leaders family, we all recall his fate at the hands of Boko Haram. He was summarily executed. So one would have to ask, will this person who Mallam Sani knows be guaranteed not to lose their life for taking part in the mediation process?

Mallam Sani, we need more from you on this. Indeed in certain situations, it is not necessarily a good idea for the key players in such delicate matters to be known to the general public, (contrary of the madness that is Wikileaks) hence as much as we Nigerians might want to know the name of the individual, I am sure that most of us are more interested in the solution to the crisis rather than knowing the key players and how the peace came about. For that reason, as much as curious minds want to know, we do not actually need to know right now.

Your continued efforts to find a lasting peace in Nigeria will not be forgotten, and are highly commended but if you continue to leave us hanging, with such open question marks, we will have no choice but to label you one of the many rabble rousers Nigeria seems to have a plethora of in recent times.  And hence stop taking you seriously.

How about you go back to the Guardian newspapers, and give them the name of this special mediator, and ask them to pass the information on to President Jonathan? Don’t forget the president’s current spokesman was the chairman of the editorial board at the newspaper just a few short years ago, I bet you the information with get to him and the president need not give you a call. And by the way, I bet you they have Reuben Abati’s current phone number whom you can call, and who knows, he might just put the president on the line…  



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