It was hours after dusk on the 14th of April, 2014 and the streets in the town of Chibok were dark and deserted except for the children that can be seen reading and playing under light rays from the few generator-powered shops scattered around the town. In the distance from where I stood, one could see the lights from the only government girl’s secondary school in the town. Men, sometimes with their wives, sat in front of the houses probably discussing business and other community issues. Little did they know that in eight hours time, their community will make it onto the world stage; not for its serenity and culture but for the kidnap of more than 250 daughters of the town.
The Politics of Lives
Since the unfortunate kidnap of the ‘Chibok girls’, the event has been used by Nigerian politicians in their quest to ultimately gain popularity with the masses. Many a critics who have questioned the story of the kidnapping as told by the Borno state government are further convinced that it was a desperate act to discredit the then president when the Borno state governor disclosed that he didn’t call the president for 3 weeks after the kidnapping because ‘he was busy’.
This delay of information on issues as critical as national security is a treasonable act but attentions were not paid to this detail. This delay of information even made the then presidency to deny the authenticity of the chibok kidnapping even when it was in the news.
But you can’t blame the then president for making a fool of himself. Can you? He wasn’t informed about the situation, not by the state governor at least.
On the other side of the stage, the APC campaign team saw the opportunity that came with the kidnapping and they pounced on it, building a whole campaign around this single event while ignoring the evident clues that the kidnapping was more than just a blow at the federal government but also at the state government and every person involved in managing information flow for security.
Emotions, Allies and a Just Cause
Nigerians are emotional people and with over 200 lives involved, there was no time to critically peruse the situations surrounding the story of the kidnapping. Civil societies took on the chibok issue with a focus on pressuring the government to negotiate the release of the girls. One of such civil societies was the ubiquitous BBOG group headed by Obiageli Ezekwesili.
With a cause as noble as the rescue of kidnapped girls from their abductors, the BBOG gained the popularity that Nigerian politicians only dreamed of. People were tweeting and re-tweeting their posts and the group became the only cord that bound the Nigerian electorate irrespective of party, ethnicity and religion.
The APC once again saw an opportunity and quickly moved to partner with the BBOG even inviting Obby Ezekwesili to deliver a keynote address in their 2014 national convention. Allies were made and over the next few months, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Obby Ezekwesili will be the pillars of APC campaign.
A story with a twist…
The story of the chibok girls and the politics surrounding it is far from over. As a matter of fact, I think it is just halfway through. Of recent, the APC after making its way to power seems to have broken off all ties with their once beloved Obby Ezekwesili and even banned her group from protesting around the Aso Rock claiming that she is distracting the president from attending to other issues.
Whether Obby Ezekwesili was ‘used and dumped’ as some blogs on the internet claim is none of our business. This EB Editorial was made to show our support to the chibok families and to remind the government that it once pledged to rescuing the chibok girls and ensuring their safe return to their parents.
Lai Mohammed once said “ they[the chibok girls] have been in captivity for over 6 months [ now it is close to thirty months], end the agony of the girl’s parents and indeed of all Nigerians”.
It is this same call that we are making to this APC led government.