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Published On: Tue, Apr 29th, 2014

Dame Patience Jonathan must know this

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Patience_JonathanGuest Columnist by Choice Ekpekurede

During a visit by some youth leaders to the State House in Abuja, ahead of the National Youth Peace Concert which was slated for March 8, 2014, you said, “Today, I have two children. If they get killed, life is not worth living for me. Why will anyone therefore want to kill people’s children? No mother will like to suffer in vain.” What you said then about mothers is very true: no mother will like to suffer in vain.

I believe that by now you know where I am going with this. On April 14, 2014, Boko Haram murdered 75 innocent Nigerians with the Nyanya Park bomb blast. At around 9:00 PM of that same day, members of the sect went to Chibok to ravage the town. They left around 3:00 AM the following day, April 15, 2014. As they left, they abducted 234 young school girls. On this very day, and barely 24 hours after the Nyanya Park bomb blast, your husband went on a political campaign stump in Kano. Not done, he proceeded to attend the centenary celebration of the Olubadan, Dr Samuel Odulana.

That was not the first time your husband engaged in this sort of absurd behaviour. It has been a pattern with him throughout his presidency. On several occasions, just after a Boko Haram attack that would leave scores of Nigerians dead, your husband would have no qualms jetting off, in the midst of the national trauma, to foreign lands for what are not life-and-death events (and that are even inconsequential with respect to how life may be improved for the Nigerian people).

On February 25, 2014, Boko Haram insurgents stormed BuniYadi in Yobe state. By the time they left, they had murdered 59 students. Some of the students were burnt to death; some had their throats slit; others were shot. While the world was still in shock over this incident, your husband led the country in a boisterous Centenary celebration, with world leaders in attendance, on February 27, 2014.

It is not my intention to do a timeline on the acts of terror that has been unleashed by Boko Haram on the country presided over by your husband. I believe you are very much aware of what the sect has done so far. However, consider the following brief account.

On January 14, 2014, 70 people were killed in Maiduguri, Borno State (Aljazeera). On January 27, 2014, 52 people were killed in Kawuri, Borno State; 45 were also killed on this day in WagaChakawa, Adamawa State (Aljazeera). On February 01, 2014, Sheikh Muhammad Auwal Adam Albani, his wife, and his 18-year-old son were killed in Zaria, Kaduna State (Leadership). On February 12, 2014, 51 people were killed and between 20 and 25 young women allegedly abducted in Konduga, Borno State (The Will). On February 16, 2014, 106 villagers were killed in Izghe, Borno State (BBC). On February 20, 2014, 98 people were killed in Bama, Borno State (Reuters; Aljazeera puts the figure at 115). On February 27, 2014 (the very day that your husband led the nation in a Centenary jamboree with world leaders, with him handing out sundry awards), 13 people were killed in Michika, Adamawa State (Premium Times); 8 were killed in Kirchinga, Adamawa state and 20 were killed in Shuwa, Adamawa State (Aljazeera).

All that was what we had to deal with in the weeks leading up to the centenary celebrations; yet the mood was not tempered by these events at all. No flags have ever been flown at half-mast over any of these deaths. In a word, your husband has never mourned over these deaths. Life has continued for him as though nothing had happened.

Your husband usually justified his empathy deficit and seemingly soul-less, cold shoulder to the wounded by stating that Boko Haram could not be allowed to stop the country from moving forward. I am doubtful that you would have accepted that as sound reasoning if he had immersed himself in a party with music and booze while you were in grief over the death of Sisi.

Your husband professes to be a Christian. I am a Christian too and I know what the Bible says about mourning. “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15). In light of your husband’s behavior while Nigerians were in grief and shock over the senseless killing of innocent citizens, let me ask you this. Should I believe that your husband is sincere when he pledges to confront terrorism? Should I believe that he is sincere when he offers condolences to the families of those affected?

If your husband is sincere about how much grief he gets from each life that is ended by Boko Haram, he definitely has not matched it with his actions. If he is sincere in his stated desire to tackle Boko Haram, his actions and body language are sending contradictory messages. Nigerians are dying to see your husband match his words with action. I do not know how you may be able to get him to this position, but I hereby appeal to you to use everything in your power to get your husband there. Nigerians want to see him mourn with those who mourn. Nigerians want to see him give the fight against Boko Haram sincere seriousness – an all-out effort that will lead to the demise of the sect.

Just to belabor somewhat the point about the gravity of what we are dealing with here, let me quote you once more: “Today, I have two children. If they get killed, life is not worth living for me. Why will anyone therefore want to kill people’s children? No mother will like to suffer in vain.”

Choice Ekpekurede is reachable on linkedIn

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