BEING TEXT OF SPEECH
DELIVERED AT THE LATTER RAIN ASSEMBLY
ON SUNDAY THE 20TH OF JULY, 2014.
FOLLOWING THE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT ON GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI – RTD.
SCRIPTURAL TEXT: PSALM 120: 1-7
1In my distress I cried to the Lord, And He heard me. 2 Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips And from a deceitful tongue. 3 What shall be given to you, Or what shall be done to you, You false tongue? 4 Sharp arrows of the warrior, With coals of the broom tree! 5 Woe is me, that I dwell in Meshech, That I dwell among the tents of Kedar!6 My soul has dwelt too long With one who hates peace. 7 I am for peace; But when I speak, they are for war.
Fellow citizens of our great country,
Good Morning, God bless you all.
Recent bombings in our nation had taken a different dimension from the previous ones that many of us have become unfortunately accustomed to. Shockwaves went across the nation like fierce wind of a hurricane. But for the timely intervention of God, gathering this morning would have been nearly impossible. I can only hope that this is a wake-up call to our government as well as all men and women of goodwill in our nation, who must now rise up so that together we can deploy all our resources to stop the blood-thirsty lunatics among us dead in their tracks.
It was the German theologian and Lutheran Pastor, Martin Niemoller who wrote the often quoted lines here under to the complacent onlookers as Hitler’s Nazis unleashed terror and destruction upon the human race, starting with the Jews: He wrote and I quote:
“First, they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
As we speak, our nation is on the brink of chaotic dismemberment due to the diabolic orchestration of complex forces manifesting in the gruesome activities of a heinous sect. Bombs are detonated nearly every day, killing in numbers ranging from one to scores and injuring many more. Some others have been slaughtered, indeed, butchered, with reckless abandon. By available statistics, between April 2010 and June 2014, terrorism has been the cause of about 6,000 deaths in Nigeria. This year alone, a conservative figure of over 2,500 are reported to have been killed by the activities of Boko Haram. Villages have been overrun, thousands have been displaced and have fled their homes and communities, women and girls have been abducted, residential houses and places of worship have been attacked and leveled or burnt to ashes. Village life has ceased in Nigeria. Boko Haram has reportedly taken over most of northern and central Borno and has dared the government by erecting toll gates on international highways and collecting toll fees from road users who are lucky to be spared. (See Leadership Newspaper of July 21, 2014: BOKO HARAM DARES FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ERECTS TOLL GATES.)
To the naive, uninformed and insensitive spectator this is a “northern problem”. Many thought so until the bomb blast that targeted the United Nations building in Abuja killing or wounding Nigerians from across the country and indeed people from around the world setting the stage for subsequent attacks including the two Nyaya bombings and the Emab Shopping Plaza incident; many thought so until about a year ago when the first bomb went off on a bus in Sabon Geri Bus Park in Kano state carrying passengers headed for the South, mostly the South-East, setting the stage for more of such, including the one that occurred this past week. Many thought so until the reported arrest of 486 “suspects” of Boko Haram in Abia State, allegedly including an unnamed “kingpin” of the sect. Many thought so until the Boko Haram sect claimed responsibility for the attacks in Apapa, Lagos after an attempt by the government to dub them mere “explosions”. Unfortunately, and naively, many still think so.
But for what could only have been an act of God, because God is always one step ahead of the devil, because of his commitment to the Nigerian project and, perhaps, in answers to unending intercession -particularly by those who are called by His name, this past week might have marked the beginning of the end for our nation for, if the attack targeted at General Muhamadu Buhari and his entourage on Wednesday, July 23rd 2014 had succeeded, the hatchers of the Nigerian disintegration agenda would have been smiling home to the bank by now. The enormous goodwill and massive following enjoyed by the General among the tens of millions of disadvantaged northern youths for whom he has become a messianic symbol, would have transmogrified into the unguided and uncontrollable fury of a vengeful army whose target would not be without political and ethnic colouration. Invariably, this would have sparked up a corresponding reaction of violence from an equally militant antagonistic young population from across the Niger. One needs not be a political analyst to see that such a scenario might have culminated in the demise of our nation. Therefore, those who wallow in pleasurable complacency, who like Nero, fiddle while Rome burns, because they think disaster is far away, must arise from their complacency before it is too late, for it is at their doorstep already, as it is written in
Amos 6:1 – 7 (NKJV).
1Woe to you who are at ease in Zion, And trust in Mount Samaria,
Notable persons in the chief nation, To whom the house of Israel comes!
2 Go over to Calneh and see; And from there go to Hamath the great;
Then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms? Or is their territory greater than your territory? 3 Woe to you who put far off the day of doom, Who cause the seat of violence to come near; 4 Who lie on beds of ivory, Stretch out on your couches, Eat lambs from the flock And calves from the midst of the stall; 5 Who sing idly to the sound of stringed instruments, And invent for yourselves musical instruments like David; 6 Who drink wine from bowls, And anoint yourselves with the best ointments, But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. 7 Therefore they shall now go captive as the first of the captives, And those who recline at banquets shall be removed.
This necessitates the question, “Have we been speaking? Indeed, in line with the mandate upon us, we have been speaking. We spoke out when our nation was held in the grip of state terror – when terrorism was the weapon, not of faceless psychopaths deploying urban guerrilla tactics and ending up in diabolic self immolation, but of ambitious men in government whose dreams, drives and delusions plunged them into brutish dictatorship that terrorized every opposition:
In 1993, long before our nation became the playing field of a maradonic demagogue whose “hand-of-God” goal overthrew the mandate of the people, we went ahead and declared to the nation the counsel of God, “SDP will fail, NRC will lose, be cut – off and swallowed up! The military will fall. Verdict ’93, our God reigns.”
When the nation was taken over by the fat cat who swallowed up the SDP and NRC pieces of meat, the dark-goggle wearing combatant who brought state terrorism to an unprecedented height, outdoing his predecessor in the detention and elimination of perceived enemies, just before he consummated his evil plot to kill his captives, we declared to the nation, “just before the killer will kill, the killer shall be killed – expect the night-before miracle”.
When the nation was deceived into a transition programme hatched on the altar of blood to balance the equation of the death of a usurper with that of the owner of a mandate, we did not hesitate to declare the counsel of God even when we were misunderstood. According to the word of the Lord, we told the nation, on March 7, 1999 “Rejoice not yet, oh land; for your joy will be temporary. I am bringing your judges, your rulers, your prophets, your princes and your governors to my threshing floor; after I thresh them, I will restore to you a permanent joy. Obasanjo is not your messiah, he is King Agag and the prophetic axe will come upon his head before May 29, 1999.”
When we were mistaken for kill-joys because we interrupted the popular drumbeat and rather danced to a distant drum as we spoke the counsel of God, we did not adjust our dance in line with the popular rhythm. Instead we went ahead and declared again the divine counsel by telling the nation what would befall it if it went against divine counsel. We declared in May of 1999 before the swearing in of the perceived messiah rescued from prison that if by acts of commission or omission Obasanjo is sworn in as President of Nigeria, three evils will befall the nation:
- The revival of the occult that will wipe out the lives of many young people.
- Corruption will reach its peak and
- Family life will disintegrate in Nigeria.
But the nation’s political prognosticators mocked at us as they rejected the counsel of the Lord. So did some prophets of Baal who gathered in Abuja for thanksgiving service for their temporary victory on the 30th of May 1999.
It is needless to state that what we are faced with today is the fruit of that rejection of divine counsel. However, that is not the point today. The point today is that we have been speaking and in our speaking, we have consistently remained on the side of God, on the side of truth.
As our nation struggles in the stranglehold of this multifaceted monster called terrorism whose form and structure seems so complex and confusing that many do not understand what is going on and as men’s hearts fail them for fear so that they refuse to speak, or alternatively, choose political correctness, so that they do not become targets, we have not stood by. Rather, we came out to declare “War on Terror, War on Terrorists and War on their Sponsors!” Even now, we shall not only speak as God gives us utterance, we shall stay consistent on the side of God.
When men’s hearts fail them for fear or when they seek a certain favour from two opposing camps, the temptation is to take to political correctness. In the first instance, men, fearing for their lives, refuse to call evil what it is but, instead, give it euphemistic pseudonyms. This is what we do when we describe the barbaric and pshychotic destruction of lives and property as agitations or religious bigotry. In the second instance, to be politically correct is to be like the politician who was asked by journalists his opinion on a certain policy, “Sir, do you support this policy?” His response was, “Well, some of my friends support it while some of my friends are against it”. “What about you, on whose side are you, for or against?” the journalist insisted. “If you insist, said the politician, I am on the side of my friends”. But as for us, we are nation builders, not politicians. Therefore, we choose rather to be prophetically accurate than to be politically correct and we cannot stand by and watch our nation teeter helplessly on the brink of disintegration. Therefore, despite the threats, we shall still speak, knowing that the Lord, who has sent us, is our sun and shield, a superior covering in the day of battle, We shall speak with wisdom and pinpoint accuracy with words fitly spoken like apples of gold in settings of silver and our speech filled with grace and seasoned with salt, shall proceed from a heart that is incurably optimistic about our future greatness as a nation
A. ROOT OF TERRORISM
Let’s get to the brass tacks. It would be inaccurate to gloss over the truth that there is a religious dimension to this problem.
All over the world, radical elements among the sons of Ishmael have been seen to take to jihadism. From Osama Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda to the Taliban in Afghanistan, from Al Shabaab in Somalia to Al Qaeda in the Maghreb, from Hezbollah in Lebanon to Hamas in Palestine, and more recently, to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). However, God has prepared the world for this eruption of violence among the sons of Ishmael. Genesis 16 tells us of the nature of Ishmael, whose name means “God listens” and who, indeed, was the first person ever to be named by God. In Genesis 16:12, we are told,
“12He shall be a wild man; His hand shall be against every man, And every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.”
The root of religious conflict in the world today is the battle of the children of Abraham – between the seed of Hagar and the seed of Sarah. Whereas the world has come to its wits end as to how to resolve this age long battle of the seeds, we know and we have declared it in this house, that God, having chosen Isaac, as it is written in Genesis 21:12 “for in Isaac, your seed shall be called”, has a plan for Ishmael. That plan is revealed in Genesis 17:20, where God said to Abraham,
12“And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall beget twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation.”
In the year 2010, during our series titled “The Making of a Great Nation”, we expounded this plan when we reminded the church that we cannot wish Ishmael away. God has a plan for the sons of Ishmael and, in due course, He will reveal Himself to them. Many sons of Ishmael may have taken to violence in reaction to seeming exclusion and rejection as recorded in the accounts of Genesis 16 and Genesis 21, but, to show that Ishmael is part of God’s redemptive plan, He ensured that Ishmael returned to bury Abraham together with Isaac as recorded in Genesis 25:9. Herein lies the solution to the Middle East crisis and to the battle of the faiths all over the world. It is not given to politicians. It is given to the sons of God for whose manifestation the whole world is waiting. (Romans 8:19) Nevertheless, it would be naïve to reduce the monster we are confronted with in Nigeria to religion.
In order to win this war, we must embark forthwith on accurate diagnosis. There is a fundamental difference between the traditional religion of Islam and the radical Islam of our day – a totalitarian ideology like its predecessors in the twentieth century, communism and fascism. While traditional Islam is a historical set of beliefs that brings purpose and unity to millions of peaceful worshippers around the globe, radical Islam is altogether a different thing. It is not as much as religion as it is a psychosis.
Don’t get me wrong. All religions must be vigilant against radical perversion, as Christians learned for instance from the medieval Spanish inquisitions or the Salem witch trials.
But to confuse the radical with the righteous in any religion or lump them together, is a tragic mistake. It can only produce a tactical error in dealing with the attendant terror.
It is now clear that most followers of Islam are as revolted by terror as Christians and others are (and in some cases, are likely to be attacked and killed by terrorist).
So for emphasis, let me reiterate once more that what is happening in Nigeria is not about religion. It is sheer psychosis! Like General Muhmmadu Buhari said in reaction to a horrific video allegedly posted on the internet by Boko Haram, these are “misguided persons masquerading as adherents of Islam”
B. OPPRESSION AND INJUSTICE
We will not also ignore the fact that at the root of the escalation of the Boko Haram crisis was oppression and injustice. It is a fact of history that oppression breeds societal upheaval. The summary execution of the Boko Haram’s former leader, Mohammed Yusuf in 2009 provided the soil of martyrdom for the nurture and growth of the sect. But to reduce the sect’s activities to a reaction to injustice would be sheer naivety. Apart from being a senseless transfer of aggression, taking to suicide bombing to redress perceived injustice is cutting off the nose to spite the face. This is not a reaction to injustice. A terrorist is not a mere criminal, he is an unlawful enemy combatant and must be treated as such.
C. ZONING DEPRIVATION
Some have said that the escalation of terrorism is the fallout of the loss of the North in the political equation after the death of Umaru Musa Yar’adua and the subsequent 2011 elections. If this were the case, then perhaps the attempt to restructure the nation with a view to encourage fairness would have sent a green light to the aggrieved that dialogue could solve this problem. At least, the National Conference 2014 has recommended the zoning of political offices and the management of an occasion of the death of a president in such a way that no zone is disadvantaged. This would have, at least, calmed frayed political nerves. Stakeholders would then wait to see what the outcome of the conference would be. The worsening of the situation and the targeting of northern political icons show that this is more than sectarian grievance. In line with the notion of a northern grievance, some mischievous Nigerians especially from the South, sought to link General Muhammadu Buhari to Boko Haram despite the fact that he had been identified by the sect as a potential target. Now that he narrowly escaped death in a terrorist attack, cynics, seeking to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it, have said that the chickens have come home to roost. Balderdash!
D. ECONOMIC DEPRIVATION
Furthermore, there is indeed the aspect of economic deprivation. The truth is incontrovertible that corruption breeds violence. President Jonathan may have sincerely tried to separate corruption from stealing or violence to underscore the fact that what is happening in the North is much more than the rage of the poor but an evil orchestration by those who seek to undermine his government or who are plotting the disintegration of the nation. However, the truth is, corruption, in its nature, breeds inequality and widens the gap between the rich and the poor until the day that the poor have nothing to eat but the rich. Conspicuous consumption by the greedy Northern elite and their collaborators in the South, who are united only by one thing – the collective loot of the Nigerian State and who, together, form a quorum in the coven of political witchcraft – can only breed an army of the distressed, the discontent and the debtors who will run to a David if they find one or to a devil if they find none or if the David they have found is driven from the political space such that they are left in disarray. In that state of disarray, they become a ready army for the devil that seeks to strangle and snuff life out of the David. If they can be sufficiently brainwashed by that devil, they would rise up even against the David under the command of a sinister General pretending to be a statesman. That is the parable of what you saw on Wednesday July 25th. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. You may wonder why I speak in parables or if this is not being politically correct, but I say unto you, No, it is not. Like my Master who sent me, I speak in parables because it is given unto the children of the kingdom to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven but unto the world it is not given (Matthew 13:10-11). But it suffices us to say to every sponsor of terrorism that blood spilled in a land will not be atoned for except by the blood of the one who shed it.
These factors – political, economic, social injustice and religious may have provided breeding grounds or even thrown up willing recruits but behind this problem is a complex structure – that the intelligence community must unravel and drain the lake, so that poisonous fish and serpents may die. Until you drain the lake, all the fish cannot die. Their Source(s), Strategies, Sponsors, Supporters, Sympathisers as well as their Safe Havens (Sanctuary) and foot solders must be identified, discomfited and eliminated.
WHY: TERRORISM IS THRIVING
- Failure of intelligence; tracking opposition rather than criminals and the enemies of the state.
- Palpable Governmental incompetence.
- Weakening of the armed forces.
- Internal conspiracy.
- The sinful silence of the stakeholders – especially trado-political class
- International conspiracy.
- Government declaring peace first of all; apologizing for the murder of Mohammed Yusuf
- Political: Righting political wrongs; and creating an atmosphere of political inclusion rather than exclusion.
- Strategic: Updating and strengthening military capability
- Socio-economic – creating jobs and enhancing welfare to discourage recruits
- Diplomatic – government engaging the international community and seeking meaningful collaboration with our neighbours.
In closing, I cannot but agree with ALAN BIBLE who said “no nation, no matter how enlightened, can endure criminal violence. If we cannot control it we are admitting to the world and to ourselves that our laws are no more than a facade that crumbles when the winds of crisis rise”. We all must be crystal clear about the fact that terrorists are not mere criminals, they are enemies.
To fight them, we have to know how they think. The terrorists who scheme against us follow the ideology of the Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, the Karlmax of Islamic Extremism whose writings which are the intellectual foundation of the movement, include the following tenet: “A Muslim has no nationality except his belief”. If that is the case, the radical Islamist can have no loyalty to any nation. He is loyal only to the jihad that plots to establish an Islamist theocracy or religion – run government. This is the root explanation of why the war on terror is infinitely more complex than any prior war, in which opposing nations typically fought each other on the battle fields. Terror, by contrast happens at home and quite unlike a civil war, there are no clear boundaries, it is a war without borders. We have to fight them here, there and everywhere. At the Sambisa forest and every one of their safe heavens within our nation till we annihilate them. (for further reading – Please see: A simple Government by Mike Huckabee: Chapter 9: “Bullies on the playground understand only one thing “pp 145 – 166 published in 2011 ).
It was Benito Mussolimi who said, “there is a violence that librates and a violence that enslaves. There is a violence that is moral and a violence that is immoral, and if I may add a foot note that, if and whenever a violence that enslaves is unleashed wheresoever, a moral counter measure, the superior violence that librates must be vigorously released.” After all, The kingdom of God suffers violence and only the violence can take it by force. When the bullets are real, we do not need toy guns or toy soldiers, we need capable soldiers and superior weapons of WAR. No nation can win the war against Terror with Kids gloves.
While we mourn all departed souls and trust God to comfort our bereaved citizens, we also pray that the good Lord who protected General Muhammadu Buhari and his entourage on that fateful day will protect us all. WITH JEHOVAH GOD ON OUR SIDE WE SHALL WIN THE WAR AGAINST TERROR IN OUR NATION.
God bless Nigeria.
Pastor Tunde Bakare
The Latter Rain Assembly.