“Defeated” and “Degraded” are words often and repeatedly used by APC folks to explain, assure or persuade Nigerians that the government is winning the war against insurgency, sometimes in comparison with the previous government. The veracity of these words or its usage, in the light of recent happenings raises several questions.
If you are in Nigeria, you will notice that these words have been used by spokesmen of the government, even the commanders at the theatre of war have mastered the usage of these words. Both words has continued to buffet our eardrums in the last 24 months with no signs of abating. In fact, the more we expect the demise of these words, the more new variations of these words emerge. In recent times, they come with strong adjective qualifiers.
Have you heard of “Technically defeated?”, have you heard of “Not Totally Defeated but Terribly Degraded?” What other variations have you heard? In fact, with the swiftness with which these words are churned out, very soon, we will wake up to hear that Boko Haram has been “chemically jeopardized,” “mechanically paralyzed,” or even “geographically incapacitated.” Does that amuse you? It doesn’t!
In as much as most Nigerians are desirous of the “defeat” and “degrade” of Boko Haram, and have continued to pray for its imminent happening, most Nigerians think that the usage of these words are premature or at best, misleading. It evokes a false sense of victory, as my friend would say.
While the loquacious folks fling the “defeated” and “degraded” narrative around town, the purportedly defeated guys goes around time causing more havoc. It’s like we experience severe punishment from the Boko Haram eachtime such narrative is put forward. May be we need to say less of it, so we don’t meet our Waterloo.
Nigerians, how else do one describe a defeated folk abducting 110 girls in one operation, without being caught? It took nearly a week to account for the number. Only God knows when their whereabouts will be known. The ammunition recovered from “defeated” and “degraded” folks that the military display on regular basis, shows that the terror group is still vicious. It shows that they still have capacity for more damage.
When you tell Nigerians that you have defeated those guys, you forgot that the Nigerian soldiers there regularly keep their families update on the situation at the theatre of war. On the other hand, the raise of budget for the war apparently shows that “defeat” is far from being achieved. What else it the budget raise for? When you are placing a fee on Shekau’s head, dead or alive, does it give an impression of a defeated and degraded group?
Sadly, the more you claim defeat, the more you impliedly suggest that you need no further help or support. The more the terrorists proves you wrong with fiercer attacks. Do Nigerians really want to hear what you are saying? Are Nigerians listening to your narrative? Do you think that Nigerians believe what you are saying? Do you think that you would need few lessons in crises communication?
There is no need for all these linguistic gymnastic. It offends our sensibilities. No doubt, it’s a difficult war and Nigerians celebrate the efforts of our troops to defeat and degrade the terrorist. When defeat of Boko Haram happens, Nigerians will not only know, but also will be the first to know. It will not require a press conference to communicate. You will not have need to say or sing it, Nigerians will see it and therefore Nigerians will sing it, and loudly too!
Indeed, I believe that Nigeria will sing that much-coveted song of victory! May Boko Haram be truly defeated and degraded. This is my sincere prayer and desire.
Chukwuezie is the Editor-in-Chief of Community Stories Nigeria (www.communitystories.ng). He writes from Abuja. You can reach him via; firstname.lastname@example.org