Borno: In search of a paradigm shift (2) | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Borno: In search of a paradigm shift (2)

Posted: May 20, 2015 at 12:31 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Abdulrafiu Lawal


Many have wondered why despite the killing of the Boko Haram members in their hundreds, they are able to recruit thousands on daily basis through brain washing and a small percentage by conscription. Let’s take a simple analogy . How can one explain a graduate from Borno with a good job in the oil,banking or telecoms industry  tearing  his certificate to join Boko Haram. This is like asking a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.  Surprisingly, many tore their certificates to join the sect because they had no jobs. The truth remains that the inequality in the system operated in the state created a fertile ground for groups like Boko Haram. After all, an idle mind is a devil’s workshop.

Boko Haram is an unconscious creation of Borno society. It is a product of class immobility and economic inequality. Borrowing the words of Michelle Alexander, author of  ‘’The New Jim Crow,Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness’’, it is ‘’ like an optical illusion –one in which the embedded image is impossible to see until its outline is defined’’.

There have been various attempts by some to describe  Boko Haram as a creation of non-indigenes from neighboring  states who abused the hospitality of their Kanuri hosts. This position may hold some water. The  top echelon  of the Boko Haram from Late Mohammed Yusuf to Abubakar Shekau are from Yobe state, but the majority of their foot soldiers are from Borno. They speak flawless Kanuri. Their strongholds from where they operated from within the metropolis like Bulabulin Ngarnam,Shehuri North,Gwange,Jajeri,Bayan Quarters and Dala until they were chased out in 2013 are inhabited by mostly Borno people. No doubt, following their inroads into Chad,Cameroun and Niger they have been recruiting  mercenaries, but this is not enough to push this argument.

As far as am concerned, the difference between Yobe and Borno is a mere geographical boundary caused by the military creation of ‘’the Young Shall Grow’’ state in 1991. Trying to draw a distinction between the two states is like attempting to separate the gum from the teeth. The gum being Borno and the teeth is Yobe.

In other words, the earlier the people face reality, the easier it is to begin to work out a solution. This is why Late William Golding, author of the book ‘’Lord of the Flies’’ says man has refused to accept the fact that he has evil within himself, but continue to blame his environment for all evil acts.

Back to the Shettima story,as far back as August 2010 when governor’s name was being rumored as one of the likely successors to Ali Sheriff, many questioned the fact he was not a politician and that his parents were not ‘’known’’ like that of other contenders. I have promised not to mention names so the readers can draw their conclusions. This perhaps could be another reason why at some point the choice was between Late Fannami Gubio and Mala Sheriff both relations of the former governor. If Sheriff had thrown the contest open within the establishment, Kashim Shettima will not have emerged. To date, there are some within the establishment who are still finding it difficult to come terms with the reality that Shettima is the governor and not to talk of respecting him.

Shettima’s emergence as governor in 2011 despite being an underdog is not an accident of history.  It is a design by Allah to bring light after years of darkness to the people of Yerwa. The governor must realize that the true test of his being a leader actually begins now. His re-election has placed a huge burden on his shoulders;to lay a solid foundation for the rebuilding of a new Borno where every son and daughter will realize their potential through equal opportunity. Borno is in dire need of young vibrant men and women who can take the state to greater heights and not mediocre or opportunists as witnessed in the past. Can Shettima deliver? This is a question only time can answer.


•Lawal, wrote in from Boston, United States.