Nigeria, time to show your face (part 1)

The country is preparing for the Presidential elections while suffering from a strong socio-economic division and its maddest result: the threat of Boko Haram

boko haramAlso thanks to the outbreak of the IS over the Western world, it looks that all the forms of Islamic terror are now catching great attention of the media and the international debate. In particular, together with the fool attacks in Paris, the 2015 has been opened with other terrible massacres in Nigeria, where the jihadist movement of Boko Haram is spreading blood and fear for almost 15 years. However, the “Giant of Africa” is ready to experience a new political season despite its complex socio-economic background.

According to the UN, Nigeria is among the most unequal countries in the world, showing an abysmal contrast between a poor Islamic North and a developing Christian South, where cities like Abuja and Lagos are pulling the economy of the country. Such inequality is also present within the relations between government and governed, where corruption and abuses have been favoring a slow but consistent rise of many sub-State movements, particularly in the North. Here Sharia law is ever more promoted as an alternative to the status quo of the “Western” secular society and the central government, through both moderate and radical ways.

In few words, that has been a fertile ground where Boko Haram could carry out its violent attacks to civilians, churches and whole villages. The objective declared by the jihadists is to eliminate all the features of a “Westernized” society which the militants do not recognize at all, not even considering themselves as belonging to the same country where their Christian compatriots live. Particularly with the acclamation of Abubakar Shekau as new leader in 2010, the escalation of kidnaps and murders has been getting extremely steep, with the result to bring Nigeria to face today one of the most challenging period in its history. The horrifying Baga massacre, where in January around 2,000 civilians lost their lives, and the widespread attacks in the North-East gave a clear demonstration of Boko Haram’s current willing to make its own fortress in that area, alerting the governments of Chad and Cameroon and increasing the doubts about the “local” character of such terrorism. And while the African Union is in vain trying to constitute a Multinational force for stemming the expansion, the next Presidential elections might give new indications on which means Nigeria’s people will decide to use in order to face such danger in front of Africa and the World.

As easily suspected, the major opponents represent the two souls of the country. On one side there is Goodluck Jonathan, catholic leader of the “People’s Democratic Party” who is running for the second mandate and well credited for having managed oil business in such a convenient way for the country. On the other side Muhammadi Buhari is the Muslim leader of the “All Progressive Congress”, a coalition of opposition parties which is focusing great part of its campaign on the widespread poverty suffered by the population and the endemic corruption of the government. In a nutshell, Jonathan and Buhari can be considered like symbols of some Nigeria’s current problems as well as possible solution for others. Nevertheless a solution for the threat of Boko Haram is naturally being asked to both. This is the clue.

(to be continued)


Walter Morana

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