By Richards Murphy
Harun Elbinawi is a victim of his own lies, a casualty of the hatred that consumes him from within. In his latest treatise, “Secret Testimony of Sheikh Zakzaky proof that President Buhari behind #ShiaGenocide:” that desperate cry of a demented soul pleading for redemption is unmistakeable. The incoherence of the claim made in the said article is a vista into the working of a mind whose all past mistakes are playing everything that could have been done differently in slow motion on a loop, a lesson in how individual fantasies cannot substitute the relevance of state.
In the said article, he futilely tried to roll the Kaduna state government, Boko Haram, the Nigerian Military and President Muhammadu Buhari into one entity that is supposedly hounding the Shia sect and their outlawed extremist group, the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN). In the same piece he was wishing that the world practically legitimizes the right of IMN to get away with just any crime its radicalized members fancy.
Elbinawi’s failure in fusing the stated entities into a component whole is instructive in proving that an enemy’s enemy is not necessarily a friend and for him to accept that Boko Haram has design on his group calls for one to look at the flipside of the assertion. For Boko Haram, a group that contends for the most evil set up with Daesh, to label IMN and its leader – Sheikh Ibraheem el Zakzaky as evil should make one at least routinely question the sect’s play at being the victim. It was that addiction to victimhood that must have prompted the article in the first place since nothing in it is new.
Even its timing is suspect because it coincides with a time when IMN’s ally in the south-east of the country, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPoB), went into hiatus having been exposed as a sham – its leader Nnamdi Kanu was merely defrauding those gullible enough to believe he would spend all the money they donated to him to procure weapons as canvassed. Prior to Kanu becoming a fugitive from justice he was all over the place cursing and damning just about anyone that is patriotic; in the space of this period nothing was heard from Elbinawi or the IMN. But the moment Kanu ran away to escape answering for his crime, enter Elbinawi to keep the hearth warm and sustain the campaign of making the government of Nigeria look bad. It is a plus for this alliance that Muhammadu Buhari happens to be the President, who coincidentally has no space or tolerance for nuisance that they are.
It is pointless massaging Elbinawi and his handlers’ egos by attempting to clarify his wilful distortion of events around the December 2015 IMN misadventure in Zaria. A competent panel, the Kaduna State Judicial Commission of Inquiry into the Zaria incident, has properly investigated the issue, submitted a report and a White Paper issued based on that report. Responding to Elbinawi’s alternate narration of that incident would amount to helping him validate inaccuracies to dislodge the report of the panel, which his group shunned because they know they had no case to present. Had the Kaduna state government pursued the recommendations of the Commission to the letter, Elbinawi as a leader of the sect, albeit its intellectual wing, would possibly be in some jail spending a remarkable portion of the remainder of his natural life there.
What must not be allowed to go unchallenged however is this attempt to harass Nigerians into opening the gates for extremists to again roam freely to harass the rest of us. He suggested that his leader, el Zakzaky, has explosive revelations to make before the Presidential Investigation Panel to Review Compliance of The Armed Forces with Human Rights Obligations and Rules of Engagement. As always, the same axis that had always complained about not being given fair hearing is attempting to step forward and is already creating excuses like “Why secret testimony of Sheikh Zakzaky?” to evade answering for its crimes. If the head of el Zakyzaky’s legal team was allowed to meet him, whereupon he got directives to draw up a memo of IMN’s account of events, then the lawyers have enough facts to publish already even if their client testifies in camera. What then is the noise about?
If the first half of Elbinawi’s piece was confounding in its hallucinatory qualities the other half bothered on comical and further reveal the hands pulling the IMN gloves in recent months. The entire crux of the writeup was reduced to permutations for the 2019 General Elections with soundbites from failed politicians that are eluded enough to contemplate a come-back when ineffectiveness got the electorate to sack them in the first instance. He should have had more initiative not to mention the PDP in currying sympathy for the IMN because the corruption superintended by that party killed more Nigerians than all the other factors put together.
Elbinawi copiously quoted former President Goodluck Jonathan’s jaundiced take on the polity. Had he dealt with the Boko Haram menace firmly, the way IMN extremists were quickly put in their place under the current dispensation, Nigeria today would not be dealing with terrorism on the current scale. As opposed to Jonathan’s shallow position cited by Elbinawi, it is to the credit of the present government and its committed military that the country is with one less terror organization by preventing IMN’s quest to launch a Boko Haram styled insurgency.
Since this IMN mouthpiece is apparently still confusing the issues, it would not be wrong to point him in the right direction since he may yet find redemption for his tortured insides. Terrorism, even the version that some scam artists describe as ‘moderate’, is now passé. For example, the same international interests that initially facilitated Daesh have later committed resources to root its fighters out of key cities they once held.
The international community that Elbinawi is expecting to come colonize Nigeria are the same ones watching Spain contain Catalan’s independence bid, which they have christened ‘an internal affairs’ of Spain, so at what point would IMN’s crimes spill beyond Nigeria’s internal affairs to become Iran’s headache?
There are many other pressing issues bothering truly patriotic Nigerians that Elbinawi is welcome to make intervention in without dragging the country back with his IMN keening and those are what he should focus on.
Murphy, a security strategist wrote this piece from Calabar, Cross River State.