The Oasis Reporters
April 18, 2020
By Col. Gora Albehu Dauda (rtd)
I am not too sure if I should describe the ongoing military operations against Boko Haram in the North Eastern corner of Nigeria as a War, however, I am only struggling not to describe it as such, given the long period it is taking our military to put the insurgency under wraps.
Nigerians are done with the half truths or outright falsehood that occasionally is pedaled in the name of defeating Boko Haram. For a fact, our military has done fantastically well in degrading the insurgents and pushing them out of their former stronghold of Sambisa and its precincts yet Boko Haram remains a potent force that only a complete idiot will write off just like that.
Why the counter insurgency war has taken this long is largely a subject of conjecture as the truth of the situation lies somewhere beyond our knowledge as civilians. The Prussian military general and theorist Carl Von Clausewitz (1780-1835) was right after all to have described war as ” an extension of politics by other means ”, Many of our country men/women are believing Clausewitz’s line hook, line and sinker.
Why should they not given the resources ploughed into the effort and the scandals that have come up as sequels ? Questions are being asked as to why this operation has taken this long which is the very reason some people are alleging government complicity in the conduct of the operations. But does it make any sense for a government to undercut her own efforts?
Prompting this essay is the rumour making the rounds in the Social Media space regarding moves by Abubakar Shekau said to be seeking a soft landing via a ceasefire and eventual surrender to the Nigerian Military. I am aware that one of the roles of the Military in Nigeria in the event of a war is to diligently prosecute such to a conclusion favourable to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
If my views were to be sought, I would not hesitate to advise our Military to vigorously prosecute the operation to its logical conclusion ( Total victory ). Accepting a ceasefire of any sort would amount in my humble view to capitulation. Ceasefires in any recorded conflict only served the interest of the weaker party to the conflict. Within the period of the ceasefire, the weaker party gains what is called a breather. The period is used to retrain the combatants and to reassess strategies, rearm/reequip, while waiting for when hostilities will restart. This is exactly what Charles Taylor and his NPFL managed to achieve during the ECOMOG operations in Liberia in the early 1990s.
That the Chief of Army Staff has relocated to the theatre of operations is strategic enough and in consonance with the teaching that for command to be effective, it must be exercised as far forward as practically possible. This move will surely embolden the fighting troops and have a domino effect throughout the battlefield.
If indeed a ceasefire is on the table, I advise that it should wait. That the insurgents recently launched an attack against a town suspecting that the Army Chief was there with the aim of killing him is the more reason the idea of a ceasefire ought not be considered at all.
Had the Boko Haram operation succeeded, what an embarrassment it would have been for our Military? The recent bloody nose the Chadian Military wrought on Boko Haram is all the encouragement our troops needed to move in for the final battle. The Military must know that Nigerians are solidly behind them as they battle the insurgents. To the troops at the front lines, your loved ones are waiting with arms open to welcome you back home.
May God Almighty grant you VICTORY. Amen.