HISTORY teaches us about past events. It answers questions of ‘how,’ ‘where’ and ‘when’ events occurred. The essence of seeking answers to such questions is nothing more than the need to reflect and avoid repeating same mistakes. In Nigeria, History was a curriculum subject before it was removed from the secondary school curricula.
About four weeks ago, around 8.00 pm to be precise, my immediate younger brother who is in his 20s parked his motorcycle at home. Few minutes after parking the bike, he received a friend’s phone call, asking him to lend him the bike to attend a reception! My brother refused to oblige the request, but promised to take him to the venue of the reception.
Despite that he is not used to going out without informing our mom, on that fateful day, around 9:30pm he went out with his bike without informing her!
The clock ticked 11:30 pm, yet, this brother was still not home. We tried his phone number which rang, but the call wasn’t picked. We couldn’t sleep till dawn, still wandering where he was! The next day, we eventually got to know that he was arrested by police patrol team on his way back home from the reception.
Around February, 2014 a deadly attack was carried out by Boko Haram terrorists at the Federal Government College, Buni Yadi, in Yobe State. About fifty students were killed in that incident. In that same year, Boko Haram invaded a female boarding school in Chibok and took away hundreds of girls.
These happened at a time the Northeastern region was faced with heartbreaking number of out of school children, the tragedy of Chibok girls abduction and the killing of Buni Yadi students.
Many parents stopped their wards from attending schools out of fear of losing them. These happened during the era of an administration that Northerners regarded as “the most clueless”.
Efforts were put in place to rescue those abducted school girls, with a campaign team known as Bring Back Our Girls (#BBG) being formed by the then major opposition figures to force the government to rescue those girls. The airwaves and internet were always buzzing with Chibok stories, yet, these efforts were not totally successful.
Later on in 2018, the same terror group abducted more than a hundred children in the same region, this time in a different state. The abduction of girls in Dapchi drew the attention of the local and international media, which led them to raise their voice at same time.
Fortunately, most of the students were rescued, but there remains a girl, Leah Sharibu, who was not released by the abductors. These and many more historical occurences occurred in a region ravaged by high rate of illiteracy, poverty and lack of social amenities!
On Friday, December 14, President Muhammadu Buhari arrived the ancient city of Daura (his home town) for a one week vacation. The president with some of his entourage arrived Katsina via a plane, and later on, was transported to Daura via a helicopter. To date, in all his trips from Abuja-Katsina, he neither used a car nor the main road. Even his trips to Daura are done through a helicopter. This is to tell us that he might not be aware of the dangers of Nigeria’s death traps (roads) and how kidnappers consistently attack road users.
Some hours after the arrival of the president, a group of armed men with AK-47s invaded a government owned school in Kankara (a town of about 180 kilometres distance away from the President’s vacation home) and abducted about six hundred students, although, later almost half of them were lucky to escape from the kidnappers along the way.
Now, compare the one night pain and fear my mother went through for not knowing the whereabout of that my brother and that of parents of the Kankara students!
In an effort to contain the situation, the governor of Katsina State ordered the closure of all boarding schools pending new security arrangement by his government. This is a time, where the education sector is trying to overcome the aftermath effect of COVID-19 lockdown on the sector.
This adds more salt to an already inflicted injury, since even the central government is not certain of how and when this ravaging insecurity would be overcome. As usual, the President only managed to express condemnation of the “Cowardly Attack”.
During the #EndSARS violence, the Speaker of the National Assembly vowed not to approve the 2021 appropriation bill until a provision to compensate people of his constituency and region that suffered loss of lives and property following the #EndSARS was included in the budget!
Last August, a day after the Beirut explosion that claimed the lives of over 300 persons and rendered thousands homeless, the Lebanese prime minister announced his resignation because he felt that as the commander-in-chief of the country, he had failed to secure the lives of his country men and women!
During the campaign tension, insecurity was the major weapon used by Gen. Buhari to oust the Jonathan government. Buhari was then quoted as saying that “Jonathan should vacate and give way to a competent hand to govern the country”.
Unfortunately, insecurity is now all over the northwestern part of the country. If history is important to our leaders, they would have adopted rational expectation theory and used what happened in Buni Yadi, Chibok and Dapchi to predict and prevent the occurrence of the recent attack of Kankara School.
Finally, this Kankara scenario is a litmus test for the president to look into history with passion to prevent future occurrence and use his power to bring in ambitious, fresh and capable hands from the military with ideas to end the menace of insecurity that is ravaging the country.