Once again here we are, trying to convince people from the opposition and others who have filial and sentimental attachment to the presidency of Dr Jonathan. To these people, yesterday campaign at the presidential villa and the reception that followed is the missing link to their conspiracy theory.
The fact that under the last administration, for a very long time there was a persistent denial of the kidnap of Chibok girls which to them only happened in the fig of imagination of APC and her cohorts and was used to achieve just one aim, to bring down the presidency of Jonathan and the second term bid. Hence validation was being sought for various theory spurned around campaigners of BBOG, the intention of the campaign and the perceived link to APC. To some that validation was finally found in the grand reception given to the BBOG campaigners yesterday at the presidential villa by President Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osibajo.
Those of us from the civil society are not surprised by the reaction of groups and individuals whose denial of the kidnap of the Chibok girls in the first instance is what led us to where we are today. The fact that it took weeks for any first responder to get to the scene of the kidnap was a testimony to that fact. For close to a week, neither the army, or Air force nor the SSS or the intelligence gathering apparatus seems to care or give a hoot about the veracity of the claim of whether those girls were truly kidnapped. The body language of our then president, the manner with which he pursue the whole Boko Haram business further give credence to the fact that they never believed that those innocent girls were missing in the first instance.
How can we forget how the attempt of the famed Police Commissioner Mbu who tried to shut down the campaign for the BBOG, claiming among other things that all protesters must receive a permit from the police, thanks to our court of justice for standing with the truth even in the middle of the storm and reaffirming the right of the group. The same police that then show visible display of hatred and animosity to campaigners to the extent to dislodging them several times from the Unity Fountain meeting point, today protect the campaigners.
Nor can we forget the comedy and farce that followed the then first Lady feeble but ingénue attempt to show the goodwill and empathy of that administration to the plight of the family of the missing girls. Till today the only good thing that that came out of that farce was the legacy of set out new comical phrases such as “Chai! Chai! there is God ooooo” , “All these blood you’re sharing” “God will see us through” “Na only you waka come”
Therefore who cares, if today certain people are reacting with disdain to the fact that Mr President received and acknowledge the BBOG campaigners an action that is a long overdue and a gesture of the government to show solidarity, sincerity of commitment and purpose in the search for the missing girls.
We from the civil society groups cannot be offended by such stance, nor can we blackmailed by such pronouncement that call into the question the veracity of the kidnap of those girls. The singular fact that the last administration never acknowledged the kidnap of Chibok girls that went missing during their WAEC examination, till it was mathematically too late to locate and rescue the girls has shown that nothing will make some people believe those girls went missing.
Today, even as the UN released in a statement that Nigeria has the third highest number of IDPs in the world, we will continue to cope with these legacies of systemic failure and humanitarian crises bestowed on us as a result of weak and indecisive leadership, we will continue to seek and ensure the right, welfare and concern of the masses are top on the agenda of this government or any other that will follow.
Tolulope Fattah Alabi is a Senior Program Officer at CORED Advocacy, a nongovernmental not for profit organisation.