Boko Haram Leaders Are Ghosts: Obasanjo Faults Jonathan On CNN

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Jan 9, 2013 – Boko Haram Leaders Are Ghosts: Obasanjo Faults Jonathan On CNN

Nigeria’s former leader, Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted President Goodluck Jonathan’s approach in resolving the menace of the Boko Haram insurgency.

In an interview on CNN International today, Obasanjo said Jonathan’s approach was too narrow to deal with the problem created by the Islamic militants, concentrating mainly on the ‘stick’ approach.

In Obasanjo’s view, Jonathan ought to have also employed the ‘carrot’ approach.

“I say that he is doing one aspect well; the other aspect must not be ignored,” the former president told his interviewer.

Obasanjo who said the insurgency was undermining Nigeria’s development in all sectors, apart from security, recalled his meeting with the group two years ago and advised Jonathan not to ignore the ‘carrot’ approach.

“About a year and half ago, I tried reaching out to them and I asked their lawyer who was acting in proxy if they are acting on their own or they have external supports. And he said to me, either Nigerians who have resources abroad are supporting them or other organisations from abroad are supporting them. And if they had 25% support, today, that support is doubled. To deal with such group, you need “Carrot” and “Stick” approach. “Carrot” is finding out what, how to reach out to them and “Stick” is when you are trying to reach out to them, those that are amenable to be reached out to, you have to use the stick approach,” he said.

Obasanjo had canvassed this view in the public arena before, but Jonathan’s response has been that the Boko Haram leaders are ‘ghosts’ and that his government is at a loss as to whom to negotiate with.

The Full interview is reproduced below:

INTERVIEW WITH FORMER PRESIDENT, OLUSEGUN OBASANJO ON CNN INTERNATIONAL ON TUESDAY

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo talks to Zain Verjee in an exclusive interview on CNN International about security in Nigeria and the threat posed by Boko Haram

CNN: What aspect of security have you chosen in your Foundation?
Obasanjo: To improve human security where it is most needed in Africa. We have chosen four areas which are very important; these are food and nutrition security, education, particularly girl/child education, youth empowerment and employment security and health issues. These are the key areas we are focusing on.

CNN: Let us talk a little bit of security in Nigeria and the group Boko Haram. Do they undermine the kind of goals your foundation has?
Obasanjo: Boko Haram undermines security and anything that undermines security, undermines development, health, education, agriculture and food and nutrition security.

CNN: Do they have links with Al Qaeda or any other group?
Obasanjo: About a year and half ago, I tried reaching out to them and I asked their lawyer who was acting in proxy if they are acting on their own or they have external supports. And he said to me, either Nigerians who have resources abroad are supporting them or other organisations from abroad are supporting them. And if they had 25% support, today, that support is doubled. To deal with such group, you need “Carrot” and “Stick” approach. “Carrot” is finding out what, how to reach out to them and “Stick” is when you are trying to reach out to them, those that are amenable to be reached out to, you have to use the stick approach.

CNN: Do you think Goodluck Jonathan has been doing a good job with Boko Haram?
Obasanjo: Well, he has been doing a bit of job but it has to be a double track job

CNN: What do you mean? He must have two tracks (CNN) so he is using the stick approach?
Obasanjo: Yes, he is using the stick
CNN: So you don’t think he is handling it correctly?
Obasanjo: I say that he is doing one aspect well; the other aspect must not be ignored.

CNN: Will Nigeria ever split into North and South?
Obasanjo: No, no, I think Nigerians now know that it will cost us so much more to break up than it will cost us to come together.

CNN: On DRC, can you tell us what Rwanda role is in it?
Obasanjo: I would not believe that Rwanda is back in M23 but I believe that if Democratic Republic of Congo put its own house in order, then no matter how much Rwanda wants to put its dirty finger in to it, it will not succeed much. I don’t think the Rwandan government is directly interfering with the M23 rebels but I can’t be sure that tribes on both sides of the border aren’t involved with them

[Source: PM/CNN]