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Published On: Wed, Sep 10th, 2014

#BringBackJonathan2015: Jonathan’s paradigm shift, what hope for Chibok Girls?

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#bringbackjonathanBy Ese Awhotu

Everywhere insurgency is being discussed around Nigeria and the world at large; the issue of Chibok girls takes centre stage given the importance of children to the future of every nation.

It was with dismay that residents and visitors to Abuja, the Federal Capital territory were greeted with posters reading #BringBackJonathan2015 that were pasted all over the city,

The resemblance of the logo of the “#BringBackJonathan2015” posters with that of the #BringBackOurGirls became a source of worry as to whether the President, Goodluck Jonathan 2015 political support machinery has lost track of the basis upon which they wanted their cherished candidate to be re-elected come2015.

Indeed the posters considered hypocritical to the #BringBackOurGirls campaign sooner than later received wide national and international condemnation, a development which cajoled the president into making a paradigm shift.

In a rare show of dogmatism, President Jonathan admitted yesterday that his critiques were right that the signs “are a highly insensitive parody of the #BringBackOurGirls hash tag”.

His adviser, Reuben Abati as usual was very quick to issue a statement in which the President said that the signs had been promoted without his knowledge or approval.

While appreciating the enthusiastic show of support for his administration by a broad range of stakeholders, the president condemned the #Bring Back Jonathan 2015 signs which appear to make light of the very serious national and global concern for the abducted Chibok girls.

“The President assures all Nigerians and the international community that his administration remains fully engaged with efforts to rescue the abducted girls and that he will not knowingly promote any actions that will fly in the face of the seriousness of their plight and the anguish of their families.”

The statement said, the president has therefore ordered that the #BringBackJonathan2015 signs and banners around Abuja which he and many Nigerians find offensive and repugnant be brought down immediately

The All Progressive Congress (APC) has welcomed Jonathan’s directive on #BringBackGoodluck and demanded an end to TAN rallies APC the main opposition party in the country described as a good first step the order by President Jonathan for the removal of the #BringBackJonathan, which is a mockery of the #BringBackOurGirls hash tag that has helped to call global attention to the fate of the over 200 girls who were abducted by Boko Haram almost five months ago and remain in captivity.

In a statement issued in London on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party, however, said the president made a mockery of his administration and his country by waiting for an international condemnation of the shameless and brazen usurpation of the #BringBackOurGirls hash tag before issuing the directive for it to stop.

APC observed that had the US newspaper Washington Post not condemned the dastardly act in its editorial for appropriating the BringBackOurGirls hashtag for his re-election, the administration would have continued its brazenness without regards to the feelings of the parents of the girls or indeed the Nigerian people.

The statement read,” the party said. “Again, the Administration has waited for a global opprobrium before doing what is right. Recall that it took an international media campaign before the Jonathan Administration acknowledged, after all of 19 days, that the Chibok girls were missing in the first instance.

Recall also that it took a 17-year-old, Yousafzai Malala, to make the President realize that he should meet with the parents of the girls, even if he eventually insulted the grieving parents by inviting them to Abuja instead of going to visit them in their abode? It is important that we don’t make a mockery of our own people, so that we don’t become an object of international mockery.

APC said belated as the president’s directive on #BringBackJonathan hash tag is, it is a good first step that must be quickly followed by another directive ordering the so-called Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN, to immediately stop its rallies that have offended the sensibilities and intelligence of Nigerians.

The party noted that,” Our troops are engaged in an epic battle to ward off the terrorists. Our people are being daily slaughtered by the marauding terrorists. And Ebola is very much here with us.

“Therefore, this cannot be the time for festivities and celebrations, the type being orchestrated by the government under the TAN banner.”

APC wondered whether the organizers of the rallies and those who have been mocking the #BringBackOurGirls campaigners know that Nigerians are not fools, hence can see the deceit, the callousness and the insensitivity of the Jonathan administration in secretly funding the rallies and the anti-BringBackOurGirls campaigns.

“Really, what makes the president and his backers think he should be brought back? Is it because he is presiding over the dismemberment and humiliation of a once proud nation? Is it because he presides over an administration that is monumentally corrupt, that cannot account for 20 billion dollars in oil money; that cannot successfully prosecute anyone over a 1 trillion oil subsidy fraud? Is it because of an unparalleled incompetence that has led to a massive decay in infrastructure and lack of jobs for our youth? Or is it because he has exposed Nigeria to unprecedented global ridicule? “There must be a limit to the desperation of a President to win re-election at all cost. There must be a political price to pay for a President who would wilfully subvert the Constitution he swore to uphold. There must be some introspection by a President who will be jetting around with an alleged sponsor of terrorism.

As we have warned before, when a drum is beating too hard, it is about to burst. President Jonathan must take a moment to reflect, to realize that he can only preside over a country that remains whole, not one that has been fractured or bombed out of existence by terrorists,” the party said.

Hot words indeed, but beyond the APC position many Nigerians think that president Jonathan remains the man to take the final decision on the Chibok girls.

Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State has said that it was the President and Commander-in-Chief who is in possession of the whole security report that has the final decision to make on the issue of the abducted schoolgirls from Chibok.

Fashola, who was one of the moderators at the political debate tagged: “Fixing Nigeria: The nuts and bolts” organised by the Kukah Centre, which also had the Governor Sule Lamido of Jigawa State in attendance, said it was the President that was in control of the Nigerian Army and the armed forces.

Although, he noted that the dimension the Chibok issue had taken had made it difficult to make a decision especially as it concerned the safety of the girls, he said the abduction had become one of the issues that should provoke debates about the method and clarity of the choices of words that should be used.

“It is now a matter of insurgency and therefore the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Armed Forces have only one Commander-in-Chief and that is Mr. President. The buck stops on his desk on this matter and it cannot be an easy decision” Fashola noted

He said that the problem that Chibok symbolises has assumed a dimension that is ordinarily outside the authority and control of government.”

Fashola’s words,” The Chibok parents, who are grieving, want their children back. There are many options on the table, but I don’t also think they are expecting body bags of their children.

The bulk is indeed in President Jonathan’s hands and he needs to do something very fast, because to many, the present scenario portends danger for the future of Nigerian children, our sovereignty and utmost our lives and properties. However, what we need is bring back our girls and end the insurgency.


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