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Idris Deby’s exit and matters arising

It’s indeed a trying moment for Chad and her neighbouring countries—Nigeria inclusive. The death of Chadian President Marshal Idris Deby Itno, who many described as…

It’s indeed a trying moment for Chad and her neighbouring countries—Nigeria inclusive. The death of Chadian President Marshal Idris Deby Itno, who many described as an aggressive leader in dealing with security challenges and rebellion in the west and central Africa, obviously, poses a setback to the fight against Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region. The only hitherto ‘genuine’ supporter to the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), who personally led Chadian troops on an offensive mission to secure the fringes of Lake Chad from remnants of Boko Haram in 2020, has fallen. Sadly, for us in Nigeria, particularly North East, this is bad news!

In spite of his tremendous contributions to the war against Boko Haram, the Nigerian government ‘deliberately’ or ‘carelessly’, refused to send a delegation to attend his funeral. This nonchalant attitude exhibited by the Nigerian government, according to a public analyst, may affect the existing cordial relationship between the neighbouring countries and the fight against Boko Haram. However, the first official visit of Chadian Interim Leader General Mahammat Idris Deby to Nigeria recently, allays the uncertainty in the minds of Nigerians that the relationship will not be soar.

A sigh of relief or set back to the fight against Insurgency?

To the remnants of Boko Haram having field day along the fringes of Lake Chad, April 19, is a day to remember as a great enemy has been eliminated, thus paving way for them to continue committing their atrocities in the area. The rainy season is fast approaching and the terrain along Lake Chad is nonporous. Once the rainy season commences and intensifies, security personnel not conversant with the geography of the Lake Chad area will find it difficult to access and take the war to the insurgents. Due to the counter-insurgency operation, farming activities have been suspended. The attendant challenge is that penetrating the fringes of Lake Chad will not be possible until December 2021 or early 2022. This means that the insurgents will have breathing space to re-group, recruit more members and train to face the Nigerian military.

Lesson for African Leaders

Like the popular Hausa saying ‘Makashin Maza, Maza Kan Kar Shi’, independently translated as ‘he who lives by the sword, dies by the sword’. The death of the Deby, some hours after his announcement of victory at the recently concluded polls, did not come to many as a surprise. A vivid account of how the late Chadian president came to power as a rebel, is enough reason to predict ‘one day someone will rise to challenge his regime’. It could be recalled that Idris Deby, an alumnus of Muammar Gaddafi’s World Revolutionary Centre, came to power in a bloody 1990 coup, ousting the man he helped in bringing to power—Hisen Habre.

Nemesis is true. In fact, people irrespective of ideological inclinations, have a special regard for it and it occupies a special place in their dictionary of life.

Democracy and its tenet should be adhered to religiously. A word is enough for the wise. I rest my case here!

Zainab Mohammed Auwwal is a student of the Department of Mass Communication, University of Maiduguri