The Enemies Within (I) -By Ibrahim Morocco

Filed under: National Issues |


Our beloved Borno State – Home of Peace – has many enemies. The more visible ones are those who kill us, destroy our property, make us homeless and strangers in our own home, and continue to threaten our very existence. The more dangerous enemies however, are the enemies within. They live among us. Some occupy high office and instead of using it for our welfare and public good, they are rather destroying us from within. It is well organised and not very visible but the most harmful.

Isa Gusau is the special adviser to Governor Kashim Shettima on media and strategy. He was appointed in February 2012 after a journalism career at Media Trust Limited, the last place he served before this appointment, since then things have never been the same. He kept aside all ethics of journalism, public relations and citizens engagement as the most senior spokesman for the governor and descended into the gutter of mudslinging, name-calling, harassment, intimidation, coercion, and worst of all dividing the peace-loving good people of Borno State. The only ‘crime’ one commits to have this terror unleashed on them by him through means including his several fake social media accounts and hired minions is to ask questions. Which society ever grew or made progress without people asking questions?

His tactics include recruiting promising young men/women (who have been impoverished by the same system) to insult people. He writes essays and rejoinders and gives them to spread on social media. These jobless youth don’t even deserve to be dignified with a decent space to carry out their activities in his estimation, they are ‘housed’ under a tree close to the main entrance to Government House. You see them at there as you go into Government House milling around with their devices. Once in a while peanuts are thrown at them to recharge their data and for personal upkeep as their hopes are perennially kept high for a better tomorrow that never comes. People like Isa Gusau see young people as only being good to be used and dumped, and useful only as sycophants with no future assured.

He himself is very clever, whatever he says and does is never a matter of public record, it’s always off the record. You may search everywhere you won’t ever find anything he said or did, of course apart from the empty press releases he emails to the media. If people don’t like his principal Kashim Shettima, he may not be solely responsible but he made it worse. He recently said that Hausa film actors were brought to Borno on taxpayers’ money on a jamboree to boost our income. How that makes sense is beyond me.

Borno belongs to all of us. We all are stakeholders in our Borno State. The danger with what this enemy within is doing is that in the next 2 years his boss will no longer be the governor, but the hate, bitterness, distrust, and divisions will be with us. At that time we don’t know where his likes will be, maybe they would’ve moved elsewhere to cause more destruction. His minions under the tree will still be jobless, used and dumped. The issues about governance, accountability, transparency, our IDPs, post-insurgency rehabilitation, reconstruction, reunification, reintegration, resettlement, etc will still be with us. It may be difficult for our lives to go back to being normal but we can at least try. What we don’t need is another vuvuzela making things worse for us.

What we need is the truth out there so that we can get the help we desperately need. What we have now is not working, at this pace it may take us another 500 years or more to be where we were before the insurgency. We need to be seen to be accountable with the little we have so that we can get more. Our IDPs have to be treated with dignity like humans. The information management system we the people desperately need in Borno is one that soothes, heals, comforts, unites, and gives hope. Attacking people, threatening them, jailing them for stating facts and asking questions, covering up and manipulating the true situation, and supporting those who do so is being the enemy. We will never be quiet in naming them.

Ibrahim Morocco