By Idoko Ainoko
Peter Ayodele Fayose’s theatrics during his time as governor of Ekiti State is sorely missed. In one episode, he chanted “I am in severe pains” after an incident involving the police. However, his exit may have birthed a new entertainer, with superior larks and mastery. Even Fayose would be proud.
Today, the convener of Concerned Nigerians and self-styled activist, Deji Adeyanju is in severe pains on a scale that rivals Fayose’s a thousand-fold. His anguish bothers on how our troops have been killing terrorists like flies and ants. A bitter fellow, he is depressed realizing that the end of Boko Haram terrorism has come. His resentment is that 105 terrorists were killed in Buni Gari. He is reeling from hot metal and fire meted on the jihadists, sending them to their graves. Adeyanju is in pains because Boko Haram terrorism is going to end soon and he will be out of business.
Crisis entrepreneurs like Adeyanju are facing hard times with COVID-19 and no longer see terrorism financing as lucrative at the moment. His pockets are dry and the economy is bad. He is in pains because Nigerians are united and standing by the Army. The end of Mr. Shekau has come and Deji will continue to remain in pains till death.
Adeyanju’s pains are about to get worse. A major source of his monetized pseudo-activism is about to get vaporized as confirmed by the news that Abubakar Shekau is weighing surrender as an option in his bid to avoid being killed in battle like his followers he fooled to their death.
Since Chadian President Idris Deby learnt to turn the heat on Boko Haram terrorists after understanding that wild predators cannot be kept as pets, Shekau no longer find safety slinking into Chad, Niger or Cameroon, after carrying out attacks in Nigeria.
A military operation by the Nigerian Army after Deby’s epiphany has turned the heat on Boko Haram terrorists, once wrongly perceived as invincible by those who didn’t know better, in a way that death is visiting the terrorists faster than their daily food ration. The seriousness of the operation can be gauged by the realization that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai relocated to the battle front to direct the war from there.
The message is clear to Shekau, hence the reported overtures and his body language point to an eventual surrender. The Coordinator of the Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO), Major General John Enenche, confirmed that much as a guest on a programme on national television. Refreshingly, the position of the military is that Shekau is welcome to surrender; he will be processed accordingly to internationally accepted procedures.
Herein lies Adeyanju’s pains. He cannot begin to consider life without the field assets that he and his cohorts of fraudulent activists persistently use to harass the government of the day. He rushed to post on social media that “The Military says it will accept the offer of Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau to surrender. Buhari is the number 1 enemy of this nation.”
The import of his post is that Shekau’s surrender should not be accepted. The only display of common sense is his decision not to outline in detail how the military’s willingness to accept Shekau’s surrender makes President Buhari the number one enemy of Nigeria. His track record as a Buhari abuser has attenuated one to disregard irresponsible barbs like this from Adeyanju but the opportunity should not be lost in educating him and his ilk since they need to understand that military engagement and prosecuting a war is not the same as being bankrolled by dubious politicians to constitute nuisance on the streets and in the public opinion space.
First, let us get the downside out of the way. By surrendering, Shekau will escape the fate and treatment he visited on others. He would escape a violent end and transit into being a high value inmate in whatever facility he is processed to. There is the outside risk of a handful die hard terrorist staging attacks to demand for his freedom – but that is an outside chance for the very reason that his surrender will be treated as a betrayal by his followers so they will not want to have anything to do with him. That said, it is important to look at the up sides of a Shekau surrender.
An immediate benefit of Shekau surrendering is that there will be no last stand on his part. Such last stand fight by a terrorist leader natural comes at a huge human cost. His ISIS counterpart, al-Baghdadi had explosives strapped to his body when he was killed. Shekau still has a handful of maniacs around him and they will do their outmost to make it an expensive victory for any unit that is capturing him. Is Adeyanju suggesting that one more life should be lost when the criminal in question is willing to turn himself in?
A capture of Shekau in battle will inspire whatever remnant is left of his terror group to attempt spectacular rescue bids similar to what Adeyanju’s associates in the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) had contemplated on several occasions. Perhaps Adeyanju prefers that Shekau is captured in battle like the IMN leader, Mr. Ibraheem el-Zakzaky so that he can again take to the streets in paid protest to demand the release of Shekau. Nothing can be put past this money-driven activist once it has a currency sign next to it.
A third possibility that Adeyanju possibly prefers is Shekau being killed in battle. While this is satisfying for the average person, it is the least desired outcome for several reasons. One, the killing of al-Baghdadi made it possible for ISIS to name a replacement, killing Shekau will allow the remaining terrorists to name a new leader but by surrendering the terrorist would have naturally help kill the group he led because some of his people will surrender alongside him.
Two, a Shekau that turns himself in alive will make an interesting interview subject for investigators – revelations that will come from him are bound to be earth shaking because persons, names, roles and complicity will be revealed. This must be what Adeyanju fears, his role in the Boko Haram days of terror and those of his associates could be laid bare if Shekau were to ever surrender.
The question can now be put forward. Who is the actual number enemy of Nigeria? A President Buhari, who stomached vile insults to his person from fake activists while dedicatedly wearing down Boko Haram, through his preforming military chiefs, to a point that Shekau is considering a surrender? Or, Adeyanju, a failed activist who has suddenly become jittery because a murderous terrorist’s surrender will either expose his shady dealings with deranged killers or lead to loss of revenue for him?
The answer is as clear as day light. It will be to Mr. President’s credit that he cleaned up the mess created by Adeyanju’s sponsors. The paid activist, on the other hand, will go through life with the pain of knowing that he stood on the wrong side of history.
Ainoko is a public affairs commentator and writes from Kaduna