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Published On: Mon, Aug 11th, 2014

Boko Haram and, now Ebola

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By Olaitan Ajiboye

President Jonathan has a challenging task at hand going into the election year. If he and his party think, they can rely on the power of incumbency they might be in for the shock of their lives.  It is hard to predict what the electorate has in mind, but the youths’ frustration and disappointment are quite evident. I would simply say they are angry! I have read several comments on social media and online platforms, and about 85% of the youth population is not happy with this government. Despite the high expectations, nothing much has been accomplished yet.

Mr. Jonathan’s ‘snail speed’ approach has not helped solve any problem; in fact, it has created many more problems. This does not necessarily mean he is insensitive, it could come down to those working under him, and it is detrimental to him as a person and his government. The government is known to react to situations slower than it should whenever the need arises; it is like a loaded truck that can’t turn swiftly as a car would.

The first was the issue of the kidnapped girls that took the government two weeks before it was jolted to react after the world had condemned the abduction by the boko haram. The most-recent one is the deadly Ebola virus disease where the federal government was slow to take a decision to close the boarder to travellers from infected countries. Sometimes Boko Haram issues warning before any attack, nevertheless, the security arm of government does nothing to avert the loss of lives as a result of killings.

With the spate of bomb blasts in Kaduna and Kano few weeks ago, it has almost become the norm to expect such horrible and bizarre occurrences. The issue sparks concern from the government and the people. It has become precarious for people to move around, especially in the northern part of Nigeria as innocent lives have been lost. It is believed Boko Haram is responsible for those bombings even though they have not publicly claimed responsibility.

The recent bomb blast in Kaduna could have thrown Nigeria into turmoil had the Bomber succeeded in killing their primary target- Retired General Muhammadu Buhari, who happens to be a former military  Head of State. That, however does not suggest that those lives lost in the bomb blast are not indispensable, they are equally important citizens.

May the souls of those who died in the incident rest in perfect peace.

However, what bothers me most is the fact that the last few suicide bombings in Kano were reportedly carried out by teenage girls. I just hope the abducted girls from Chibok have not been drafted to killer quad of booby trapping by the Boko Haram.

It is more than a hundred days since the girls were forcefully ‘plucked’ from their loved ones and moved into a location believed to be Sambisa forest. A hundred days are enough for those criminals to transform the innocent girls to whatever they want. It is possible that the girls have been brainwashed into believing that they are fighting for their God.

Just as Nigerians keep calling on the government to do something different and urgent to ensure the release of the abducted girls, the outbreak of Ebola virus seems to have taken more attention now than the campaign to #BringBackOurGirls. While Ebola outbreak is of great concern to every individual because it does not have a vaccine to cure it, it is also of great importance to ensure these girls are rescued.

The Ebola Virus disease is the deadliest in my opinion; it has no vaccine but is preventable. I see it more deadly than HIV virus given the pace at which it claims lives. If well handled and nipped in the bud, the virus could be a forgotten matter in no time.  You would agree with me, however, that Boko Haram has killed many innocent citizens than Ebola, and it seems as though there’s no possible solution to solving this problem that has been a threat to every Nigerian.

People think that Ebola is puffed up which may lead to great confusion and commotion if not well understood.  I disagree, Ebola menace is not exaggerated; in fact there is inadequate sensitisation, awareness and orientation about it. The people in the villages do not have enough information about Ebola and how to prevent the disease should it spread to rural areas.

While Boko Haram and Ebola are threat to lives, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government has been a threat to the main opposition party, All Progressives Congress APC, this is the only area the Presidency know how to react swiftly. Government machinery has been unleashed on the opposition governors and right now there is fear of the unknown in the opposition camp. Now it seems the only way forward is to decamp to PDP, like Chief Femi Fani-Kayode whose EFCC charges were dropped after his ‘return’ to PDP.

However, there are some surprises I think might happen before 2015 election that could boost President Jonathan chances of winning the election; the Government might tend to make sure the abducted girls are rescued shortly before the election. I mean; he could do this to score cheap political points but in the end, the parents and the people of Chibok will be happy and relieved.

The power lies on the hands of the Nigerian people. They have to make a wise decision of either giving President Jonathan another term in power or there is a need to change the regime. Security of the Nigerian people stands as the major concern that President Jonathan faces as the 2015 general elections draw closer. Since the Boko Haram insurgency assumed greater urgency during his regime, he will have to prove that if he goes back to power, that would never happen again. The threat of Ebola will be an added issue and will determine how the election goes. It is up to the Nigerian people to put politics away and not let these issues divide them.

Olaitan Ajiboye is on twitter handle @Mayjorh

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