Boko Haram War not Politicized, Army got stuck in Politics, or Nigeria Army become politicians

It is patriotic of every citizen to support and encourage our military in the trouble time. Also, one of the patriotic obligations is to hold our military leaders accountable and call for transparency, diligence and high-level commitment in a turbulent period. It is a common practice in all democratic setting for citizens to ask questions and in some instances express disappointment and anger when things are not going right.

When Super Eagles play very well, everybody jubilates but when they mess up, everyone becomes a coach. Therefore, the Nigerian Military leaders should learn how to relate to the public in a civilized manner to warrant public support for their operations. In response to the claim by the military authority that BH war has been politicized, the war is not, Nigeria military got stuck in politics.

Unfortunately, Nigeria military has embraced politics in place of professionalism.  In recent time, responses from the Army has been hostile and more political than being professionals. Nigeria Military should give Nigerian assurance not a threat!

Towards the end of the year 2018, Boko Haram group have renewed the attacks, and have captured more territories in the North East of Nigeria.   The governor of Borno just confirmed the worsening security situation in the State.

The group successfully employed the deception tactics and got enough time to prepare and built capacity for three years. Nigerian government paid a considerable amount of money in the form of ransoms to the group with the hope that the dreaded group will abandon the fight.

On the other hand, the Nigeria military was running out weapons, overwhelmed with domestic issues and deep necked into politics.

As at the time the BH relaunched its attack, the military planners and politicians were caught flat-footed.  The sad story of today is that soldiers are slaughtered every day, and the leadership is confronted with the low morale of the frontlines men.

In place of threat, the present situation warrants a  fresh strategy and new design to enable Nigeria army to mitigate the ongoing threat.

Need for a change of Guards

On the side of the government, a new approach requires the turnover of “key players” in the ongoing war. The government must inject new ideas, new people, process and technology to win the war against terror.   A need exist to enhance capability in the science of intelligence and preparedness to win the war against terror. A country that lacks a culture of preparedness cannot mitigate the threat of terrorism.

Public Diplomacy

Nigeria military must do everything to win public sympathy.  Meanwhile, Nigeria Military leadership continue to threaten the citizens and brandishing whoever dares to criticize the ongoing operation as an enemy of the people. In the last few months, the military has spent much time and money on propaganda, falsehoods to launder the image of the agency.

On the other hand, Boko Haram is changing its strategy with the new “public diplomacy” that excludes the civilian population as the primary target of attack. Instead, the group has intensified its attack against poorly prepared and ill-motivated soldiers and military infrastructures. That explains why the group has seized the act of bombing Churches, Mosques and public places as it was in 2014.  BH is desperately looking for public sympathy with the plan to portray the government of Nigeria and the Army in a bad light to lose public support.

The year 2019 is an election year, and It seems Nigeria military planners could not read this sign.

Instead of using the threat of arrest against citizens who expressed concerns, Nigeria Military should appeal to Nigerians for understanding. It is better to show the citizens what you are doing to win the war than using lies and propaganda to create “alternative reality.”

It is not about President Buhari; it is about the terrorists who are determined to curtail our freedom and imposed their will on us. We have to collectively stop them before they stop our existence as the most populous black nation on earth.

The main issue is citizens cannot help the government until Nigerian military leaders deconstruct their mind that the occasional criticism from Nigerian taxpayers is not about demoralizing our service men but make them better. Our frontline soldiers who are inadequately equipped, denied allowances and poorly trained have no voice. The people remain their voice because the ongoing war is not against only military or Buhari/APC but the war against Nigeria. Nigerian military must defeat BH and win the war.


Oludare Ogunlana, Ph.D., a Counterterrorism Analyst writes from Washington DC


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