•Raise poser on Chibok abduction •Ex-Kremlin adviser, PDP paid agent —APC
RUSSIAN security experts are worried over the possibility of the All Progressives Party (APC) taking over the reins of government in Nigeria next year, branding the party a coalition of Muslim extremists.
The thinking in Russian political and security circles about the future of Nigeria was made known by a former presidential and Kremlin adviser, Alexander Nekrassov.
Nekrassov, regarded globally as a political analyst and commentator, made the disclosure in a celebrated editorial opinion written for the respected Al-jazzera news channel.
He noted that the thinking in Russia was to support President Goodluck Jonathan to continue in office and, if necessary, to extend emergency rule in the North-East base of Boko Haram and postpone the forthcoming general elections.
But the APC, through its spokesperson, Lai Mohammed, branded Nekrassov, a hack writer, paid by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
According to him, ”it is clearly a hatchet job. He should be ashamed of himself. Here is someone who is out of job and paid by PDP as an agent of falsehood. Is he the government of Russia to say what he said? There is even nothing new in what he said; he only repeated what Fani-Kayode said for which we have taken him to court. We called for an inquiry. Has it been done? He is working for his pay.”
Excerpts from the piece, entitled; “Is Boko Haram, a pawn in the bigger political game?” read; “When it comes to the current turmoil in Nigeria and the dramatic rise of the threat from the armed group Boko Haram, the question, “What’s in it for our American partners?” has not yet provided any real answers for the Kremlin.
Rise of Boko Haram “Boko Haram, which had emerged initially as a non-violent movement that promoted Islamic values and rejected Western culture and its “decadence,” turned to violence in 2009, and since 2010, has been carrying out regular attacks, rapidly growing in numbers as a result of a recruitment campaign, both in Nigeria and beyond.
“What adds to the confusion, from the point of view of Russian officials, is that Boko Haram, which is based in the North of Nigeria, is actually fighting for control of the area that has no oil reserves.
“The interesting angle on the crisis in Nigeria is that it is seen in Moscow as political conflict, rather than a religious one, even though the country is equally split between Muslims and Christians. As the thinking in Moscow goes, if it was a classic ‘religious war,’ then, Boko Haram would not have been indiscriminate in murdering both Muslims and Christians.”
Opposition’s benefits “After every attack, everyone is reminded that there is still no trace of the over 200 Chibok schoolgirls, although recently, bizarre reports surfaced that 60 of them have supposedly managed to escape while the terrorists were looking the other way.
“Nevertheless, the kidnapping on such a vast scale was obviously intended as a blow to Jonathan’s tenure, first and foremost, because selling the girls for around $20 each was not really going to enrich Boko Haram. So, this was more of a slap on the face of the government in power that could only benefit the opposition.
“In politics, anything that happens in a year leading to a big election should be always treated as a build-up to that election. And in Nigeria, the next presidential election is going to take place in February, 2015, with the opposition having a mountain to climb, considering that the ruling PDP got a substantial majority at the polls in 2011. The PDP politicians have been accusing the opposition, the APC of having links with Boko Haram, but the opposition has been strenuously denying it.
“According to Russian experts, the recent upsurge in Boko Haram violence and the readiness to operate in broad daylight and take on the army and the police prove that the group has been getting some training and advice from outside. Some reports have linked the group with terrorist networks across Africa and the Middle-East like al-Shabab, al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia, when it comes to combat training, funding and the exchange of military hardware and weaponry.
“The one conclusion that the Russian experts have drawn is that the US and their Western allies have missed the growth of extremist groups, which has already manifested itself in Iraq with large parts of it now controlled by the Islamic State group, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.”
Disastrous oversight“Russian military analysts predict a rise in violence in Nigeria leading up to the presidential election next year. Some even claim that increased international aid, perhaps, even an intervention, may be on the cards as the lessons of Iraq are starting to sink in, both in Western and African capitals. As one Russian official told me, ‘Losing Nigeria to Muslim fundamentalists is simply a no go, whichever way you look at it. What is happening now in Iraq has been a rude wake-up call for Washington.’
“Some experts fear that Jonathan may have to widen the state of emergency in the North and even postpone the elections next year, if the situation does not improve. It is worth remembering that the former APC candidate, Mahammadu Buhari, has been accused of inciting a violent uprising after losing the 2011 presidential election, resulting in nearly 1,000 deaths. Next year, some fear, this could be even worse.”