…may the rescue of the Chibok girls and everyone under the captivity of Boko Haram come as a pleasant surprise to us all – all heartless doubting Thomases inclusive. God bless Nigeria. God bless Oby Ezekwesili, Hadiza Bala Usman, Aisha Yesufu and other members of the bring back our girls group who have sacrificed so much to keep the issue on the front burner.
Two years ago, in the manner of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel group led by Joseph Kony, a man who took great delight in the abduction of children to become child soldiers and sex slaves, the Boko Haram sect stormed a secondary in Chibok community, Borno State and abducted over 200 schoolgirls from their dormitory, shortly after the Nyanya bus park carnage that left close to a hundred people dead.
The abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls elicited reactions from different quarters, both locally and internationally. However, given the fact that the incident occurred close to an election season, it attracted many asinine and unhealthy partisan reactions from some Nigerians.
While sane Nigerians shivered at the thought of what the abducted girls would likely suffer in the hands of their abductors, there were those who believed that the abduction was stage-managed to discredit the government of former President Goodluck Jonathan. That was even after parents of the abducted schoolgirls all came out to confirm that their children were kidnapped. Yet, doubting Thomases queried the possibility of such a massive abduction, and concluded that it never happened.
To these people, the Chibok girls’ abduction was a scam sponsored by wicked Northern politicians to make the country ungovernable, and wrest power from a president of Southern extraction. No thanks to the former President Jonathan who avowed that his re-election was not worth the blood of anybody, but still saw no reason to swing into action to rescue the schoolgirls after the news broke out.
There was also another group of shameless opportunists who saw the incident involving the Chibok girls as a strong campaign point against the Jonathan-led administration. For them, how to send Jonathan back to Otuoke was their utmost concern, not the rescue or safe return of the schoolgirls. And, the moment that was realised, their advocacy for the rescue of the Chibok girls was laid to rest.
Amid all the dirty politicking at the expense of the lives of the abducted girls came the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) group involving people who, irrespective of their religious and regional differences, dedicated themselves to the demand for the rescue of the girls by the government. Their unflinching determination to carry on with this campaign even under inclement weather – whether rain or sun, and despite intimidation, verbal and physical assaults has been noteworthy.
That BBOG is relentlessly mounting pressure on the Muhammadu Buhari-led government to wrest these girls from the hold of their abductors exposes the folly and crass idiocy of those who claimed BBOG was a politically motivated group sponsored by the opposition to rubbish the Jonathan administration. By extension, CNN’s proof of life video of the Chibok girls should make them realise how irresponsible they were to have made such comments. Likewise, those who countenanced the BBOG campaign before, but now see their activities as a big distraction to this present administration are shameless hypocrites. Perhaps, if their sisters, children or relatives were among the Chibok girls, they would appreciate better what the BBOG is out to achieve.
Let’s get it right, for BBOG, it’s all about the rescue of Chibok girls. It’s about humanity. Moreover, BBOG’s campaign has prodded the Nigerian government to go in search of the abducted girls, which has eventually resulted into the rescue of many other Boko Haram abductees. That aside, how many of us would lost 219 chickens to thieves and let them go just like that without making efforts to get them back? It’s more serious in this case because it involves 219 human beings, not animals.
Regardless of our difference, advocacy for the rescue of 219 schoolgirls who amongst them could be potential amazons like, Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, Mama Ekundayo, Mama Makoko, Ladi Kwali, Oby Ezewkesili, Dora Akunyili and their ilk, should be supported by all.
And, if we may pause and ask, has politicking with the Chibok girls abduction done us any good? Of course not. In same vein, no issue of national importance reduced to cheap, dirty politicking ever turns out fine. Elections have come and gone. Yet, the issue lingers as this present administration is now under extreme pressure to rescue the girls, coupled with the various challenges it’s facing.
Above all, may the rescue of the Chibok girls and everyone under the captivity of Boko Haram come as a pleasant surprise to us all – all heartless doubting Thomases inclusive. God bless Nigeria. God bless Oby Ezekwesili, Hadiza Bala Usman, Aisha Yesufu and other members of the bring back our girls group who have sacrificed so much to keep the issue on the front burner.
May their labours not be in vain.
Ahmed Oluwasanjo writes from Abuja and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.