The Python Does Not Dance…

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REUBEN ABATI
TUESDAY WITH REUBEN ABATI, Email: reuben.abati@thisdaylive.com and abati1990@gmail.com

Operation code-names have been an important part of military operations since the Germans first applied them in World War 1 but it may be said that the recent (or ongoing?) controversial military exercise in the South Eastern part of Nigeria codenamed Operation Python Dance II is the first major incident in Nigerian military history to draw attention to this seemingly routine aspect of military operations worldwide. An operational code name requires creativity, it is meant to be a cover up, hide the real intentions of the operation, achieve a public relation stunt if possible, and ease communication and strategic documentation within the military hierarchy.

The Nigerian military has never been so clever in coming up with operation code names: many of them are dead give-aways (Operation Lafiya Dole, Operation Pulo Shield, Operation Maximum Safety, Operation Crackdown) or so stupidly incongruous they evoke instant suspicion (Operation Python Dance, Operation Crocodile Smile). Pythons don’t dance. Crocodiles don’t smile. Wars have been fought over the use of wrong codes; nations have been sabotaged due to poor communication. Whoever came up with the code name – Operation Python Dance- (sometimes a code name may be computer generated) may have been aiming for irony, but it was strange irony given the facts of the situation and the manner of operation. I make this point to argue that the Nigerian military has messed up Operation Python Dance II in the South East conceptually and operationally, and the attendant arrogance does not serve the Nigerian state well in my view.

A dance is accompanied by music, it is celebratory in its kinetic and spatial expressions, and it is probably one of the most ingenuous explorations of the human frame. Accompanied usually by music and the symbolism of movement and flexibility, a dance, vertical, horizontal or earth-bound is one of the wonders of human creativity and the most universal of human languages. There is something called snake dance. It is of course celebratory. To say a python is coming to a community to dance is a revelatory oxymoron. A python swallows, it cuts off blood, constricts and suffocates, it is a pretentious animal that curls itself up when it is ready to eat, and then strikes, employing the techniques of velocity, ambush and surprise.

In December 2016, the pythons of the Nigerian military went to the South East on Operation (I) but they did not blow their cover. They said they wanted to help reduce crimes during Christmas. In September 2017, they blew their own cover, and revealed the absurdity of their cryptonym. They did because they behaved exactly like pythons. If that was meant as a covert operation to protect the sovereignty of the country in the face of “seen and analysed threat levels” in the South East, the Nigerian military got it terribly wrong. There is every reason for other military authorities in the international community to laugh at Nigeria.

The military admittedly can conduct routine exercises to prepare its men, to tune up or to check out the country’s territorial integrity. Before and even shortly after the civil war, Nigerian soldiers occasionally came out of their barracks and drove round the town. They used to sing, march on the streets and dance inside their trucks and wave at the people. The people waved back, and in due course, many children mastered some of their songs. In our neck of the woods at the time, there is an Alamala barracks in Abeokuta, one popular song was: J’amala n si ko, mo ti j’amala ki n to lo s’ogun, j’amala n siko”.

Soldiers were honoured in those days for protecting and saving the country, but since the Nigerian military became politicized and greedy, soldiers have lost so much respect. The proposed demilitarization of African governments, long after the second wave of democratization in Africa has not yet yielded significant outcomes. The soldiers tasting politics has been like the tasting of the forbidden fruit. In and out of uniform, they have retained their hold on power and when one of their own manages to return to power in a civilian dispensation, they simply lose their nerves. The Nigerian military has fallen victim in this regard on many occasions since 1999. This is what we are dealing with.

The latest instance is the bungled operation in Abia State. Operation Python Dance II did not have to take place in the streets of Isiama Afara in Umuahia, Abia State, close to Nnamdi Kanu’s father’s house. The public show of force could have been done anywhere else in the South East. Strutting military force close to the home of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, who in the last year has been busy mobilizing his people, and making demands on the Nigerian state is an undisguised act of provocation with all the pythonic elements of invasion, surprise and suffocation. It was the equivalent of the state descending to the level of rabble-rousing. This happens when an institution like the military opts for street politics, and our military certainly exposed itself in ways that called its professionalism to question in the last few days.

One, the Nigerian military has consistently usurped police functions since the return to civilian rule. The functions of the military are properly spelled out in Sections 217-219 of the extant Nigerian Constitution. But the leaders of the Nigerian military and their retired masters in partisan politics like to behave differently. They’d rather do police work in pursuit of a responsibility expansionist agenda. In a statement issued by Colonel Sagir Musa, of the 82 Division, we are told that Operation Python (II) is meant “to sharpen the skills of the participating troops in the conduct of Internal Security Operations” and these include challenges such as “kidnappings, farmers-herdsmen clashes, secessionist agitations and insurgency of any form… armed robbery and traffic gridlock.” Colonel, sir! There is no insurgency or insurrection in the South East, and it is not the duty of the military to focus on armed robbery and traffic gridlock!

If the issue is the country’s sovereignty, the simplest thing to do would have been for the police to invite Kanu for questioning, or ask the courts to revoke his bail, or declare him and his associates wanted if they fail to cooperate. The continuous reliance on the military for virtually every national security matter overstretches it and renders it less efficient for its core mandate, and by the same token weakens law enforcement agencies.

Two, the military performed a political function and committed a procedural error when on its own, it declared IPOB, a terrorist organization. Senate President Bukola Saraki has already dismissed this as an ultra vires act. The grounds for declaring a group a terrorist organisation in Nigeria is already defined in the Terrorism Prevention Act of 2011 (as amended), and as outlined in Sections 3-15 thereof. I admit that IPOB may have engaged in acts of provocation within the purview of these provisions given the establishment of the Biafra Secret Service and the Biafra National Guard, but it is not the duty of the military under a democratic dispensation to act as judge, jury and executioner. What exactly is the level of threat actually posed by Kanu and his followers? The military talks further about “unauthorized blocking of access roads, extortion of money from innocent civilians at illegal roadblocks and militant possession and use of stones, Molotov cocktails, machetes and broken bottles…” The Nigerian military is now looking for machetes and stones? It is also in charge of the monitoring of hate speech?

The Governors of the South East also announced that the IPOB had been proscribed in all five states of the South East. They simply made a pronouncement, without any legal backing whereas in a decided matter, the IPOB had been declared legal and legitimate and that Federal High Court ruling has not been vacated. The panic response by the Governors can probably be excused. It must be clear to some people that with Kanu’s increasing messianism and popularity, the South East was clearly one step away from Operation Python Dance II to the declaration of a state of emergency. But the Governors may just have been more interested in their own political survival.

What has been achieved in the South East right now is a profit and loss situation for all the parties concerned. The military is certainly not looking professional enough. The reported abuse of human rights in the wake of Operation Python Dance II is bringing nothing but shame to Nigeria in the international community, and many Igbos at home and in diaspora who were aloof towards the IPOB campaign have suddenly been woken up to express concerns about the politics of being Igbo in Nigeria.

These new members of the cause are already mobilizing international opinion against the government of the day as can be seen in one contribution that is being circulated online which has reduced everything to the old, and problematic formula of religious and ethnic conflict in Nigeria. Serving Nigerian military chiefs can beat their chest and claim that they have helped the President and Commander in Chief to prove that he meant business when he threatened to deal with anyone and anybody engaged in “terrorism” in a recent speech, but they have also in doing so, done great damage to his politics in the South East, if not the entire Southern Nigeria.

Similarly, Nnamdi Kanu gains in losing and loses in gaining. I had argued previously that by taking wrong steps and focusing too much attention on him, the Federal Government has more or less turned Nnamdi Kanu into an Igbo hero and symbol. They even helped him to run away before Operation Python Dance got to his father’s house. The military over-dramatised their own ambush tactics. Now that Nnamdi Kanu has been declared a terrorist, he would probably have no reason to place himself in a situation where he can be easily arrested, and with IPOB driven underground more or less, that organisation has been made more potent. For all you know, Kanu is most likely now in a neighbouring African country from where he can conveniently find his way to Europe or North America and from that distance, he can become a political refugee doing even far more damage. The international community will listen to him, and he needs do no more than complain about all possible ills in Nigeria and the rights of Igbos to self-determination, even if the process of self-determination is not as easy as he and his followers make it sound.

Other Nnamdi Kanus will also emerge if fundamental issues at stake in the Nigerian union are not addressed. Technically, this particular Nnamdi Kanu’s job may well be done. He has awoken the ethnic nationalistic consciousness in not only the Igbos, but all Nigerians, and whether the powers-that-be like it or not, Nigeria would still sooner than later return to and address the subject of restructuring and the same open dialogue that has been resisted would still take place. Even if Nnamdi Kanu is not part of that dialogue, the role that he has played will be part of the story to be told.

I speak in these terms because his decision to go into hiding or to run away has been interpreted as cowardice. He had asked his followers to stand up and fight for their rights, but when the Pythons headed towards his abode, he and his parents opted for a rapid dialogue with their feet. Not all revolutionaries run away…perhaps it is better for Nnamdi Kanu to live, so he or others can fight another day.

This is no time for the critics of Kanu and IPOB to heave any sigh of relief. The Python does not dance. Nnamdi Kanu couldn’t dance either. Those who leave fire on their roofs and go to bed will harvest an inferno.

  • Paulocaesar

    I fully Agree with Reuben Abati. When Nigerians sought Democracy, they weren’t bargaining for a return to the days of Abacha,…in mufti!

    Buhari is either a propagator of a hegemonic agenda, or bereft of imagination save for toppling any civilian government in preference for a military one with himself at the helm and Daura Fulani Hausa generals in absolute total command and control.

    NIGERIANS WAKE UP TO YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES OR RESIGN TO DYING AS GLORIFIED SLAVES WITH NOTHING BUT SERVILITY, ETHNIC HATRED AND PERSISTING ETHNIC JEALOUSY TO BEQUEATH TO YOUR CHILDREN AND GRAND CHILDREN.

  • Ify Onabu

    When a man begins to dance naked in the market square, what do our people call it? Our people call it madness. That is exactly what is happening to the Nigerian Army, an army intoxicated with power, an army of occupation. It is only in Nigeria that pythons dance! Where else do they do so?

    • Justice, Equity & Fairness (JE

      An army consumed by religious and ethnic considerations.

  • remm ieet

    The truth must be told, that Reuben’s participation in government has whittled down his quality as a writer. So much so that what he says no longer matters, as his past misdeeds hang precariously on his attempt to reach out to his former fans.
    Keep on trying.

    • Justice, Equity & Fairness (JE

      Time for your drugs

  • Olufemi Bello

    Well done sir.

  • RumuPHC

    Code words for military operations are exactly what they are ; titles for effect and to aid memory. This is more for the attention and necessary action of field commanders and troops than consumption of civilians. Intellectual analysis of code words is therefore an unnecessary and fruitless endeavor by a journalist or public commentator alike.

    The US code named its operation during the first gulf war Operation Desert Storm. Understandably it doesn’t rain in the desert talk less of extreme weather condition like a storm. The fury of the combined air, sea and land assaults unleashed on Iraq however did not leave Sadam Hussiene in doubt that his empire is going down under a storm.

    In the same vein the NA code named its Internal Security Operation in the SE Python Dance. Apparently the Army authorities are not trying to provoke debates or discussions on the dancing skill of a type of snake. Their objectives were clearly spelt out to the public by the Army spokesman . The nature of the ” dance” of the Army operation was however not lost on separatist agitators in the SE.

    In retrospect, it appear outcomes of military operations end up as justification for code names. Like in the foregone , Sadam Hussein made a hasty departure from the opulence of his palaces in Baghdad for the relative safety of his rural birthplace while it seem Nnamdi Kanu executed a disappearing maneuver from his birthplace for another abode. Obviously no one like to be caught in a raging storm or along the path of a huge deadly dancing reptile.

    The Armed Forces Act provides for the military to act accordingly when there is threat to internal and national security. The NA has since been involved in all manners of internal security operations across the country including when Rueben Abati was at the Presidency for five years as spokesman of President Jonathan. The Army under instructions of GEJ once stopped a governor from crossing state boundaries under the guise of providing security for elections but there was no brainstorming by Rueben.

    Nevertheless, no decent country should routinely allow the military to trudge cross country and trammel civilians in response to internal security challenges. Unfortunately the statute permits this and politicians in power seem to relish the use of military force to enforce law and order. From OBJ, through Yar Adua to GEJ and now PMB; it has been the same pattern.

    It is however heart warming to hear the Senate president on the need to develop the Police to be more effective. This is a positive development even though a review of the Armed Forces Act and passage of Emergency Powers Act by NASS is 16yrs overdue . In fairness, the Hon Speaker of House of Reps lamented on over involvement of the military in internal security issues including consequences to the moral of troops and for human rights.

    Hopefully Saraki’s promise will come to pass just as the executive must learn to exercise more restraint in inviting the military for every conceivable threat to internal security. Until then miscreants,sundry agitators , herdsmen and violent extremists must brace up for exotic aptly code named Internal Security operations by the Nigeria Army.

    • Daniel Obior

      Here again you display sheer ignorance. Is it only rain that is associated with storm? Have you not heard of sand storms in deserts? You have become spokesperson for overzealous military commanders who can just not get used to the simple fact that we now have a democracy? The statute does not permit the army in the excesses they are displaying. This is you again misinterpreting, in your usual lack of comprehension. The army has no business in civil enforcement of law and order. It is an abuse that must be condemned.

      • RumuPHC

        Still trying to sound smart……..maybe you should have asked the US military the kind of desert storm they had in mind .

        Perhaps you are a spokesman of sepratist agitators since you are sympathetic to their illegal cause.

        We have gone beyond condemnation since OBJ deployed the Army to raze down Odi. What we want is amendments to statutes and a new Emergency Powers Act .

        You can see why the quality of political leadership matter. Almost five senators from the SE served as Senate president during OBJ but none condemned the deployment of military in Niger Delta during their tenure like how Saraki did today for the SE.

        • Daniel Obior

          I am certainly smarter than a dumb ass who would associate storm with only rain. That OBJ or whoever abused their power by deploying the military did not make it right. Neither is it in the statute to do so. You must stop these silly arguments in this forum. I do not have to be spokesman to see injustice being done. That perhaps is the difference between the compassionate and the evil minded.

          • RumuPHC

            I’ve you are as smart as you believe then you will understand what was implied in the OP.

            Dessert Storm as code name is clear . It was not meant to be a text book definition of anything . It only implied certain things . So is our illustration as we responded to Abati’s Python does not dance.

            I would however concede since the linkage is lost to you and you are smart enough to assume that we don’t know sand storms .

          • Daniel Obior

            Typical of you to rationalise after another boo-boo. Just stop your goofing in this forum, that’s all.

          • RumuPHC

            Ok since you are still on it, please explain or ” rationalize ” these :

            According to a post by your friend Mayo:

            ” Definitions of storm

            noun
            1.
            a violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow.

            Now did The authors of the dictionary or Mayo make a boo boo on this ” forum” ?

            Also as smart man that you are , I suppose it isn’t necessary to point out the difference between the meaning of a word and a phrase.

            It will do you well to always You try to get the gist in a comment . Comments on social media are not essays or treaties. Trying to act smart by looking out for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors or even slight omissions in a post of few verses is actually a sign of argument- winner complex. There are no trophies here.

            Also , I don’t suppose I am in a forum just because a post my opinion following an article. If you think you and I in one then there is a serious problem.

            Finally , if I may , I think you should participate rather sit all day and look for boo boo in a “forum” if you really feel we should have regional government or some people should break away from Nigeria.

            Apparently you are not a registered member of any political party or IPOB . Preaching on Thisday ” forum” with less than an average of 3,000 online views is actually not the best way to contribute to the changes you long for.

          • Daniel Obior

            This is typically the problem with your cut and paste approach to discussions. That storms are USUALLY associated with rain does not mean they are ONLY associated with rain. Your initial post suggested that and that was why I took you on it. This has nothing to so with spellings or grammatical errors, which we are all prone to from time to time, including myself. As for my participating in this forum, it is my choice and you are not in any position to say what my objectives are, just as much as I cannot say what yours are.

          • RumuPHC

            Suggested but did not explicitly declare such yet you took it up like June 12 .

            Just as you hold Buhari responsible for every conceivable problem today is how you look out for anything to discredit any opinion that seem to support government .

            To you everything must be fair as long as it supports your hatred for a man simply because he defeated your preferred candidate and he is a Fulani from north of Nigeria.

            You must really have a lot of time on your hand to scan for boo boos in a post and now you count days to get a response. No wonder you believe you are in a ” forum ” .

            Life could really be less complicated if we accept all beings as equal even if they are not of our ethnicity or share same faith with us. We should care less about the origin of a leader but be more vocal in asking for good leadership.

          • Daniel Obior

            Here you go again drunk in election with a hangover. Wake up. Elections are long gone and it is time to govern. Buhari and APC are governing badly as a result of incompetence. That is the issue. I do not hate Buhari. He is not worth my hatred. I dislike him because he is a despot and believes all problems can only be solved militarily. He is nepotistic and a very bitter and vindictive person. He is barely literate and makes no effort to improve himself. I am bold enough to give the reasons why I criticise him. I do not have to be like you who would pretend these flaws do not exist in the man.

          • Paulocaesar

            Dear RumuPHC it sure would be nice if you sought good leadership for Nigerians.

            Patriotism compels us to stand up against illegality, even from government we support.

            Reuben Abati’s article is what drew you here to comment and state your objection to, but you’ve gotten sidetracked by your real passion which appears to be to oppose anything that could remotely challenge Buhari and his intentions. That betrays your whole purpose and taints any attempt to appear even remotely “patriotic” or minimally objective.

          • RumuPHC

            Dear Paulocaeser, Indeed we seek good leadership.

            True, patriotism compels us to stand against illegalities . That is exactly why we are against secession or alteration of the constitution by other means . Patriotism is not based on whether or not we support a government in power . It is related more to our obligations as good citizens of Nigeria.

            Army deployment in the SE is not different from JTFs operating in almost all the states in Nigeria. That we detest deployment of military in midst of citizens does not necessarily mean such acts are illegal and must be condemned. The constitution permits it and concurrent legislation by NASS approve of it. We are aware however that this is no license for the military to commit human right abuses. This we must condemn.

            It is unclear how someone can support a government. We can only lend our support to certain acts of an administration we consider good while we have condemned many others that are wrong in our opinion. We have even asked PMB to resign on account of poor health ; we still stand by this patriotic call.

            Objectivity is difficult when we remain stuck in our deepest biases. Your perception of our position is erroneous and this seem to have coloured your conclusion.

          • Paulocaesar

            Dear RumuPHC,

            I’ve read your position and opinions in the comments section on other matters to have narrowed down where you stand on issues, and it is respected for your right to harbor it.

            Though our interests differ, there’s a point of convergence where illegal acts occur and need to be pointed out head on. This to me is what Reuben Abati’s article does.

            Please reread the points Abati makes. I’ve never known Abati to be a pro-Biafran, and believe me, even this article is shocker to me. I’m still recovering from Abati’s objectivity as wonders will never cease.

            Nnamdi Kanu has a right to demand separation and provocatively as it might offend, it doesn’t give license to any president, or military general to break the law, not does it justify scared self-seeking state governors to fail to demand that the right procedures be followed.

            You might want Yemi Osinbajo to be made president by default when you claim you had previously wanted Buhari to resign for health reasons, but that agitation doesn’t make you patriotic. It enables you for a fleeting moment to feel that one of your own is in power and that you belong, but it further delays the evil day which patriotic Nigerians must confront as Abati and others have pointed out.

          • RumuPHC

            Apparently your ethnic grudge extends to PYO perhaps because he is Yoruba. Where is the default in a VP being made a President according to law?

            One of the strong pillars of patriotism is the constitution . The constitution does not intend for an individual that is seek for prolonged period to remain as president. The procedures for determining this condition are clearly spelt out. Unfortunately FEC failed to do the needful and surprisingly the opposition party did not insist.

            You will be able to understand our opinion if you eliminate your biases and erroneous perceptions of our “die hard ” support for this administration simply because we supported GMB against GEJ in 2015. Opinion on Election is not the same as view about conduct of various aspects of governance by an administration . We actually campaigned for GEJ in 2011.

            For the upteen time Python Dance is legal . Please get this right. Rueben Abati knows this hence he never stated the relevant laws that made the military exercise illegal. The military was not authorized to commit abuses .

            Nobody is against anybody demanding for anything. What agitators need to understand nonetheless is that public Peace is a common good that must be provided by government. I suppose that’s what Buhari and SE governors sought to provide by their actions and pronouncement .

          • Paulocaesar

            Dear RumuPHC, I hold no “ethnic grudge” against PYO, and while on that note I hold no religion, denomination, party, or gender grudge against him either. Without equivocation, he’s a good man, can we agree on that.

            But let our champions and gladiators to whose identity we cling vicariously not blind us as it has come to do in Nigeria.

            We have matured to where we need to strengthen structures and systems, not personalities, particularly given that we have ended up multi ethno-religious by colonial fiat and need to work ourselves back into where that multi ethno-religiousity is by mutual choice and not by benevolent imposition or dictatorship of one group under the false and by now cynical notion of “non-negotiable unity”
            If our unity is non-negotiable, then no python dance is required.

            As to the illegality of Buhari and Buratai’s actions, legal luminaries have pointed out that both the courts and Congress at the national level were bypassed by the executive and the military, I hope you recognize that the military is answerable to the three branches of government in our democratic dispensation and not to the executive alone. It is patriotic for us to start at the top to uphold the rule of law in order to enforce it diligently down to the bottom hence my point about structures and systems instead of personality.

            Even Buhari admitted guilt by retroactively seeking court order for action already enforced and in which innocent confused people have already died. In a civilized country the judge would not only issue an injunction or temporary restraining order, to enable the aggrieved defend themselves andcseek damages as no one is above the law.

            Donald Trump’s travel ban is an example of the courts check on executive excesses where a federal judge in Hawaii issued a TRO and the executive branch immediately fell into line.

            In the US you have the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) deploy a Black attorney to defend the KKK (ku klux klan) if the defendant is indigent it his liberties infringed by law enforcement, in Nigeria sycophants and praise singers line up to hail the illegal actions to high heavens with all manner of contorted theories that don’t exist in our constitution and if you point it out then you’re a sympathizer of the perceived enemy,…but what if I am?

            Noted Nigerian luminaries must now stand up and fight for our survival because it might be IPOB today, and AREWA tomorrow. In fact it is now incumbent upon AREWA, OPC, MASSOB, MEND, and sundry others as well as well meaning Nigerians including you RumuPHC to send legal teams to fight this fight against your champions Buhari-Osinbajo aka “the Executive”

            Could you envision yourself standing up for your perceived enemies like that? When that cray arrives I will say to you without hesitation: “WELCOME TO NIGERIA MY BELOVED AND FELLOW COUNTRYMAN!!!”

          • El_Komo

            What I see PauloCaesar harping on is the morality of the Ops Python Dance rather than its legality.

            Are wars and military operations moral? Most likely no
            Are laws binding and legal? Yes.

            If we get into a war backed by the law of a land, can we term it right (moral) or wrong? I’d go with the law anyday as it sets the guidelines for interaction within any nation.

          • Paulocaesar

            “Morality”??? ….that’s a figment of your imagination that I’ve ever postulated such nonsense.

            Put your glasses back on or go look for a mirror to continue your debate with yourself if you’re into playing such games my dear friend.

        • Paulocaesar

          RumuPHC, you’re welcome to your opinions, but not your facts.

          When OBJ invaded Odi, governor Orji Kalu whom I’ve not been a fan of condemned it, as did late Chuba Okadigbo who not only condemned it but visited Odi and publicly commiserated with elders there.

          Furthermore OBJ did not select Fulani Hausa military generals and faux-commandos to go enforce against “cattle rustling” in Odi, he delegated to Victor Malu who later got his comeuppance at Zaki-biam.

          Fact is you’re neither a PH indigene, a S.Southerener, an Igbo sellout, or a Southerner, otherwise you’d understand the implications of illegal foreign invasion and occupation under a supposed Democratic dispensation.

          • RumuPHC

            We didn’t say none condemned, we said like Saraki did.

            On the contrary I am a full blood Nigerian male, I don’t need to be tagged by any ethnic or sectional location to understand that the constitution permits the use of military in the homeland by civil authorities while Armed Forces Act enacted and amended by representatives of the people in 2003 authoritizes the military to partake in Internal security operations across the country.

            Clearly there is no illegality here no matter how badly we feel about it especially when we are victims. Do we think it is right , the answer is no. We need to empower the police to do more while military should be restricted to the barracks.

    • Mayo

      Definitions of storm

      noun
      1.
      a violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow.
      2.
      a tumultuous reaction; an uproar or controversy.
      “the book caused a storm in South America”

      verb
      1.
      move angrily or forcefully in a specified direction.
      “she burst into tears and stormed off”
      2.
      (of troops) suddenly attack and capture (a building or other place) by means of force.
      “Indian commandos stormed a hijacked plane early today”
      “police stormed the building”

      As you can see, storm is not only associated with the weather or rain

      • RumuPHC

        Even viruses are not only associated with diseases or illnesses……computers have them too.

        • Mayo

          So why did you have the statement – Understandably it doesn’t rain in the desert talk less of extreme weather condition like a storm.?

          And by the way, you can have extreme weather conditions in the desert like a sand storm

          • RumuPHC

            Yes , maybe it was suppose to be : Operation Desert Sand Storm.

            Perhaps there was something wrong with English comprehension in the US Military .

          • Mayo

            Your sarcasm doesn’t work here. The fact still remains that your point was wrong. Operation Desert Storm which you challenged is still correct because based on the definition of the word storm, the code name could be argued to represent – an attack or capture by means of force.

          • RumuPHC

            True

    • FrNinja

      Operation python dance shows the low level of english comprehension in the Nigerian military. They tried to copy the Americans but showcase what happens when you recruit on federal character and not merit.

      • RumuPHC

        The ongoing operation in the SE code named Python Dance is not about proficiency of use of English in the military. Such matters are settled in military staff schools.

        It is a show of force in the SE by the Army to shock and awe touts and miscreants including sundry unemployed youths promoting secessionist agenda.

        Thankfully all the states of the SE are well represented in the Military with many wearing the rank of general. Imagine if there was no quota system ?

        • Paulocaesar

          You would have thought that Buhari would consult the SE Generals before committing the military to an act tantamount to southern occupation.

          RumuPHC you must be another Fulani Hausa disguised as an Igbo sellout.

          Even Reuben Abate is outraged for once at an injustice against an Igbo state and the cowardice and self preservative impulse of Igbo state governors not to block the illegal military action, not out of sympathy for IPOB, but out of patriotism to Nigeria.

          Yes! It requires patriotism to tell Buhari not to become a civilian Abacha.

          • RumuPHC

            The constitution does not permit Buhari to be Abacha.

            Furthermore, the constitution empowers the president to deploy troops but I don think there are provisions covering “Igbo governors “, or ” SE generals”.

            We need to refrain from this obsession with ethnicity and be more guided by the constitution.

            No patriot disrespects their own constitution.

          • Paulocaesar

            “….There are no SE generals….We need to refrain….”
            —-RumuPHC.

            My point exactly!
            Why then did you also make this comment:
            “…..Thankfully all the states of the SE are well represented in the Military with many wearing the rank of general…..”

            Buhari pointedly deployed military general and troops of Fulani Hausa extraction to carry out an illegal act of genocide under the guise of restoration of order.

            Remember Buhari has a conflict of interest because he introduced the suggestion of creating grazing rights on lands across Nigeria without input from land owners and indigenes.
            There’s a serious conflict of interest also when you claim to be protecting from “cattle rustling” as part of the mission of a force comprising only Fulani Hausa military commandos and storm troopers especially because “cattle rustling” is the excuse that Fulani herdsmen armed with Kalashnikovs use to slaughter hapless villagers whose land they want to possess permanently. Just ask the people of the middle-belt.

            The president cannot claim to be unaware of this, and of the separation of powers in a Democratic dispensation, and no matter your support, you cannot condone even the appearance of illegality.

            Bad precedence!… given our history.

          • RumuPHC

            There are generals of SE extraction but there is no provision in any statute recognizing a group called SE generals. The military is not segregated into ethnic clans that the C-in-C must consult before deployment of troops for IS operations according to the provisions of the constitution.

            All other points you’ve raised on Buhari,genocide , grazing etc are far fetched and not fit for response .

            You need to let go your anger for this Fulani man.

          • Paulocaesar

            “……There are generals of SE extraction but there is no provision in any statute recognizing a group called SE generals. The military is not segregated into ethnic clans that the C-in-C must consult before deployment of troops……”

            —–RumuPHC

            With that response, may I quickly declare this a NO SEMANTICS ZONE please!….but as to “anger” towards Buhari, I truly harbour none.

            I just don’t condone illegality and the commission of injustices using the military, and by presidential fiat, nor do I condone the slippery words of those who selectively seek to justify it in triumphalism rather than condemn it.

            Let’s focus on the actions and hold perpetrators to account for duplicity, it’s not about “anger”.

    • taiwo

      I agree with virtually all you have written. However, there is a phenomenon, usually in the deserts, aptly named “sand storm”.

      • RumuPHC

        Very correct .

  • Larry A

    On the contrary Abati, many Igbos who were hitherto unconcerned about the irrational and misguided agitations of Nnamdi kanu and IPOB have, since the Operation Python Dance, raised their voices condemning the tactless, radical and crude methods Nnamdi Kanu is using to achieve his aims. We do not want the Igbo land to be turned to a battlefield again. You may support Nnamdi Kanu all you can. But invite him to your town to use as a base for his agitations. The world will hear him better from your region since you host more media houses than the SE.
    Hear this. Nnamdi kanu’s agitation is nothing but Orubebe part 2. This we know. Many elements in PDP have refused to move on after their free ATM card lost the 2015 presidential election. With part of the huge funds they looted during the corruption is not stealing era, they resort to sponsoring several kinds of crime and upheavals to destabilise the country. Am I surprised you wrote this piece supporting IPOB and Nnamdi Kanu? No. You are still sour over the 2015 defeat of your ATM card, perhaps, sourer because part of what you looted was squeezed out from you by Magu.
    You can write all you care with little concern for the security of the people. But I want to know what you wrote or said when on June 5, 2012 security personnel killed 16 and wounded 18 MASSOB members or your response to the over 30 dead bodies discovered floating on Ezu River near Awka in Anambra state who the Zionist Movement claimed are bodies of their members. Perhaps you could not talk because you were still chopping then. Shows you still adhere strictly to the kindergarten table manners instruction which says ”do not talk while you are eating”.
    This only explains why like the Chichidodo bird in Aye Kwe Amar’s The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born, you hate MASSOB and like IPOB. I see selective morality on display here. Its all about what happened in March 2015. Orubebe Part 2 is being Jegamised. Thank God for the understanding, tolerance and maturity of the Northerners who chose to show solidarity rather than embark on reprisal killings as the sponsors had anticipated. You and your group may go back to the drawing board for part 3.

    • Mystic mallam

      No Sir, Abati is essentially right on point. The issues of self determination – limited or comprehensive – which Mr Kanu has raised cannot be persuasively reduced to loss of ATM access by losers of the 2015 election. In fact Kanu has elevated our national consciousness on matters of power devolution, resource control and governance systems change; matters driving the restructuring debate that is drowning out any other subject of national importance and discuss. It is therefore disingenuous to try to trivialise the vital seriousness of these matters for Nigeria’s very survival, irrespective of the rudeness and crass stupidity of language deployed by Kanu to deliver his version. I think that rather than proscribing IPOB and similar groups, actually an exercise in futility, Mr Kanu and the definitely misguided operation python dance, have right at this moment, presented the President and his govt. a most unique opportunity to declare restructuring of Nigeria a national emergency. That is the surest means to take the mast off Kanu’s sails, and set Nigeria back on the path of discussion, negotiation and consensus on the way forward. Agitating on issues that border on justice, equity, freedoms and self determination in any multi-ethnic society, is generational in nature. A country can choose to degrade and suppress them by force of arms as the Buhari Administration appears to have to have chosen, but success is only temporary, because a next generation that still has cause to feel injustice and inequity will pick up from where their ancestors stopped. This is not debatable as the matter of Biafra and the Niger Delta have demonstrated time and again. The British colonial government and 3 major political parties ignored the cries of the southern and middle belt minorities for regions of their own in the pre-independence negotiations. That gave rise at different times to Isaac Adaka Boro, Ken Saro-Wiwa and others in the ND whom the govts of the day effectively suppressed or liquidated, only to be replaced by the myriad of more vicious ND militants that have cost Nigeria so much in limbs and treasure. These and the resurrection of the biafra should give pause to the federal govt, to consider and deal with the fact that military force can defeat a people for a while, but it cannot eternally defeat a cause fed by the ideas of justice, equity and freedom. Reuben Abati is right on this one.

      • Obi Ike Sorres

        Stop telling him. He won’t learn. Why waste your time?

      • Justice, Equity & Fairness (JE

        He is too daft to understand. Don’t waste your energy on a deaf and dumb follower of apc and buhari.

    • Justice, Equity & Fairness (JE

      Lai Mohammed will sue you to court for usurping the role the devil has given him. Lying shamelessly.

  • galaxy

    Who should we believe? Shagay said it is okay to attack. Saraki said no. And they all have their supporters. What a confused nation. Let the music play on. For me, no hope for this country. I can bet it with my blood

  • Full blooded Nigerian

    Mr. Abati, when you become the president of this country, you can allow agitators to set up a parallel government, disrupt elections, attack your national army and seek for funds to destabilise your government openly. You can allow them use hate speech to cause division among other tribes in the coubtry.

    Not once did you criticise that misquided KANU; instead you wished away his setting up parallel security agencies as if they were inconsequential.

    Your romance with the last government and the attendant misadventure has made your writing to be like a flipflop and this one is a typical example.
    .

    • Hah!

      .. sometimes one doubt the integrity or sincerity of these double edged Journalists like Abati. So a criminal should just be allowed to cause havoc before he is apprehended by a Government? It is indeed unfortunate.

      • Kenny

        Who is a criminal? Who is more criminal, the Fulani herdsmen that have killed thousands of Nigerians (and nobody has been arrested) or a movement that is agitating for self-determination without arms and without harming anyone? Nigeria, oh my! Whoever that contrived this uneasy union has perhaps caused the greatest harm to the black race. Sad, very sad!!

        • Justice, Equity & Fairness (JE

          Bros, it is difficult to wake the dead. Hah is dead and cannot wake up.

      • Justice, Equity & Fairness (JE

        Mr. CJN, please when did you convict Nnamdi Kanu that you label him as criminal? Even the terrorist shekau and the killer Fulani herdsmen cannot be called criminals despite the atrocities they commit on a daily basis. Illiteracy combined with hateful mind leads to suicide.

      • Mayo

        1) The Minister of Interior said they did not arrest the Arewa Youths who issued quit notice to the Igbos because of the security implications of trying to arrest them. What this means is that the government has already ‘officially’ given cover to people who threaten others/cause havoc.

        2) Abati also is not saying government should not arrest Kanu. Abati talked about the fact that it is the job of the police to maintain law and order in the country. Abati also pointed out specific problems with the official reason given by the Army spokesman for launching Operation Python Dance II.

      • FrNinja

        What havoc did kanu cause? There is something called freedom of speech. IPOB have not attacked anything except with their mouth. Meanwhile Fulani herdsmen have slaughtered thousands but no Operation Cow Run.

    • Justice, Equity & Fairness (JE

      It is indeed sheer bigotry that will make you classify ordinary agitators whose only weapons are their raised clenched fists and their loud voices as enemies, while boko haram terrorists and killer Fulani herds men who kill, maim and destroy lives and properties are protected. Today, boko haram struck an idp camp in borno and killed 15 human beings (not goats, cows – of course they value these more than human beings). Remove the film of hate covering your reasoning and you will understand that the ipob had not done half of what opc and their supporters did when Abiola was denied power until, when power returned to south west. You need to consult the dictionaries to know the meaning of agitation and insurgency.

  • Toby

    A day shall come when my children and grand children will slug it out against Buhari’s children and grand children. They will never know peace.

  • Kenny

    Thank you, Abati. Perhaps you should never have accepted that political position that almost tainted your image. Continue to educate the powers that be. Unfortunately, they will call you a PDP member, an opposition. But that should not deter you. We already know that everyone in APC is a saint, by Buhari’s reckoning. Tell them the truth, please!

  • Sustain Transformation

    Well written. Very articulate