#BringBackOurGirls: The Power Of Nigeria’s So Called Hashtag Generation – Japheth Omojuwa

Most Nigerians have little or no faith in the Nigerian government, and the government has done little to reverse that reality. The current debacle surrounding the government’s response or lack of it to the abduction of some 234 girls from Government Girls Secondary, Chibok once again emphasizes that unfortunate reality. It becomes essential as citizens to prod the government into putting all that must be put in place to ensure the Chibok girls are rescued without any collateral damage whatsoever.

Let us be clear, the government was never going to do anything about this; the girls were abducted the same day Nyanya Park got bombed in Abuja on 14 April 2014. By the second day, the president had recovered quickly enough from both twin disasters as he was pictured in Ibadan attending the birthday celebrations of the Olubadan of Ibadan. To emphasize the miracle of his quick recovery, Mr. President in his usual tactless response to critical issues of national security was seen actually dancing in Kano at a campaign rally. There was no statement or any form of response whatsoever on the missing girls.

It was so sad to hear one of the parents of the abducted girls recount the attack just after the abduction of the girls. According to him, they got calls from villagers who saw the Boko Haram convoy conveying the girls through their villages. The gave an indication the movement of the abductors was being tracked. Shockingly, the Chibok residents called for help from the Nigerian government through the security apparatus but no help was in sight. Soon came the report by the military that the girls had been rescued. This turned out to be a flat lie as the military later recanted.

Everything that happened in the wake of the abduction simply indicated that the Nigerian government was never going to get itself into what it would assume to be the ordeal of rescuing the girls. Thank God for insistent cries from Nigerians on social media and the buy-in of the international media and global celebrities into the hashtag #BringBack OurGirls. This changed everything. The government soon appeared to wake from its usual slumber and in the usual box-like thinking, President Jonathan set up a ‘fact-finding’ committee. Note that this came over two weeks after the abduction. Let that sink in: the President was setting up a committee two weeks after the abduction!

Not to be outdone, the First Lady suddenly found an opportunity to take some shine and suddenly found her voice and immediately became the Super Woman very much interested in the abducted girls. The tragedy only being that this Super Woman was missing in action for two weeks. She did absolutely nothing for two weeks until fighting for the girls became a global issue. Such banal hypocrisy!

Hypocrisy or not though, anything or anyone that’d help to rescue the girls must be given a chance. Really and truly, this is not even the time to throw blames around save for the need to clarify certain facts as above.

Everything that must be done to rescue the Chibok girls must be done. Everyone whose support or help must be sought to make this happen must be reached. Every noise, every tweet, every broadcast and every effort that must be deployed by Nigerian citizens and well-wishers to ensure the Nigerian government understands the enormity of the task before it must done.

At this point, we have to understand that we are running a government that MUST be forced to carry out its responsibilities because as long as the obsession over the 2015 elections remains, we won’t be getting anything close to good governance anytime soon. Governance is what we make it, especially in these days of incompetence as a tool of governance.

I tweet via @Omojuwa

Social Media has proved powerful in bringing attention to #BringBackOurGirls