Nigeria is currently on autopilot. Don’t act like one just said anything special, we’ve been on autopilot for the most part of the last half decade. The loss, or rather the abduction, of the Chibok girls, the other abducted children and women in the North-East of Nigeria and the 2000 of them that have already been abducted since 2014, have to be the greatest indication of while Nigeria may have a president, the country has an alarming vacuum at the Presidency. And since the March 28 elections returned a new president set to be sworn in on May 29, 2015, the current administration has adjusted its snooze mode to “permanent.”
Nigeria needs closure on the Chibok abductions, that can only be brought about by a successful rescue mission or a fact-based confirmation about the futility of one based on the realities of their abduction. Unfortunately, the current administration is nowhere near rescuing the girls than it was last year. When the Goodluck Jonathan administration gets summed up, amongst its embarrassing mountain of failures, the abduction of the Chibok girls, the government’s virtually nonexistent rescue mission and the failure to rescue the Chibok girls will be the most sour part of its embarrassing miasma. Politicising the issue of the Chibok girls has to be the lowest point of the Jonathan administration and this writer was not only glad to see the President voted out, one worked very hard to make it happen. No government has ever deserved to lose an election as the outgoing government in Nigeria. Posterity will dump its guilty actors in the bin of oblivion.
This is why May 29, 2015 cannot come soon enough. Nigeria’s incoming president, Muhammadu Buhari, already has his work cut out but the rescue of the Chibok girls must be top on his agenda. We expect that the security chiefs are already briefing him on the security report on the girls. If they have not started, they should get started immediately. We cannot afford to have Buhari start this mission in a black hole. He and his team need to know exactly what the situation is. The reason is because we need to hit the ground running from May 29.
It is interesting to see those who denied for so long that the Chibok girls were abducted suddenly change the tune of their ignorance. Right after the President lost his bid for re-election, their new sound of ignorance became “Buhari must rescue the girls within a week.” Coming from those who either said the girls were never kidnapped or that it wasn’t the responsibility of the President to rescue them, one can only be glad that at least they are learning to understand the president of Nigeria indeed has a responsibility to safeguard every Nigerian. Maybe, they subconsciously believe our current President is incapable of making that happen, so they’d rather have the nation not bother him.
Let it be said, President Jonathan would have earned himself a place around the moon — a place in the stars is reserved for leaders who genuinely care and do their job because it is their job and not because they want to be rewarded with name tags like “hero” and all that — if he indeed rescues the girls before he exits the scene. It looks impossible if he would weaken the terrorists so effectively in four weeks, with another two extra weeks committed to rescuing the girls. This will yield very positive results. If this does not help in rescuing them, at least we would have learnt a thing or two about the state of the rescue mission or put one in place if it does not exist today.
We made mistakes as a country. Fighting Boko Haram is one thing, a mission to rescue the Chibok girls and indeed all the abducted victims of Boko Haram should be separate. You cannot assume that fighting Boko Haram means trying to rescue the abducted. There must be a clear plan in place, with a unique strategy and effective espionage tactics to help rescue all the abducted victims of Boko Haram that can still be rescued. We have fooled around on this matter for too long.
While we work to rescue the abducted, we must have it at the back of our minds that our rescue efforts would be useless if we continue to lose our children and girls to these insane terrorists. We must commit to preventing further abductions even as we commit to rescuing those already abducted. Like we said never again to incompetent leadership across the country during these 2015 elections, we must say never again to future governments that treat issues of our security like a goat and yam gibberish talk. We cannot continue to laugh about human lives and the things that matter to our basic existence.
Rescuing the Chibok girls is a matter of urgent international importance. If Nigeria wants its international respect back, it must start by truly committing to rescuing the Chibok girls and destroying the terrorists. We must not waste time on this mission, we have wasted almost 20,000 lives already. One more wasted life is one too many.
One must give credit to all the Nigerian citizens and friends of Nigeria who stood for the Chibok girls and continue to stand for them. For many of them, this came at a great cost. The likes of Hadiza Bala-Usman, Oby Ezekwesili, Michelle Obama, Rep. Wilson, Aisha Yesufu, Bashir Yusuf, Maureen Kabrik, Veronica Kabrik, and especially Bukky Shonibare who continues to organise a daily one-man protest on their behalf, the other brave and empathetic men and women who continue to remind our nation of the Chibok girls, all of you must know that if this generation refuses to celebrate you, the coming generation will ink your remembrance in gold! I am personally proud to have stood with you on this one.
To friends at the African Union, Addis Ababa, who indulged me on at least two occasions for a #BringBackOurGirls photo session, to friends like Boniface Mwangi, who not only joined the march but allowed one to use his Pawa254 Nairobi studio for #BringBackOurGirls photo sessions with Kenyan musicians, actors and actresses, we will never forget your contributions to this cause even as we stand together with you in prayers on the tragic Garissa Attack. Our continent will conquer terrorism.
Some have since given up but a lot of credit must go to friends and celebrities from around the world who made this a global issue. Some of them may be silent now but the voice they added to this cause still echoes through. Alicia Keys deserves special mention for committing to this beyond just a picture. Jim Clancy, Isha Sesay, Christiane Amanpour and the CNN crew, Aljazeera, France 24, Channels TV, TV Continental, PUNCH newspapers, Daily Trust, LEADERSHIP newspapers and indeed all the media platforms that continue to commit to staying on the issue of the Chibok girls, we will always remember you added your voices to this.
To the much maligned Hashtag Generation, your contribution may be hard to see by dinosaurs but those who understand the power of amplification, the ubiquity of your space and the spread of your reach will never doubt that those who contributed their voices via social media did speak as much as anyone who spoke into a mic about this same thing; that the Nigerian government rescues our girls quickly! God bless Nigeria.