Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has carved a steely reputation of being one of the harshest critics of the incumbent President Jonathan. He has consistently been shooting from the hip of late and has been on the mark hitting his target with devastating effect. Notwithstanding his own culpability in hoisting Jonathan on the nation back in 2007 on a joint ticket with the late President Yaradua, Obasanjo has not spared the rod in lashing out at Jonathan, describing his government as lack lustre and ineffective.
He was at it recently when he thundered that some of the missing Chibok girls might never be reunited with their families again. He added that the federal government has refused to give him the go ahead to negotiate their release from their captors whom he said he has access to. “I believe that some of them will never return. We will still be hearing about them many years from now. Some will give birth, but if they cannot take care of them in the forest, they may be released”, the former president said.
Officials in the Presidency may be quick to dismiss Obasanjo as an irritant seeking relevance, but in this particular emotive issue that has captured the imagination of the entire world, Obasanjo does have a point. And his point is reenforced by the fact that the President Jonathan administration has thus far not demonstrated sufficient political will to rescue and reunite the girls with their families.
It has been about 300 days now since the abduction took place but Nigerians do not seem to get the sense that any hope is in sight of bringing this ugly saga to a happy conclusion. It is becoming apparent that we are losing the international solidarity and support that poured in in the wake of the abduction which should have galvanised the government to mount a clinical search and rescue operation. Instead the initiative has been handed back to the insurgents who have gone on to brazingly abduct more women according to some reports. Not only that, they have also continued their attacks, one of which led to the death of the Emir of Gwoza a few months back.
But for the untiring efforts of the #BringBackOurGirls campaigners and other concerned Nigerians, the tale of the missing girls might well and truly have been forgotten by now. After all, that seems to be exactly what the Jonathan government would have wished. The government has not hidden its disdain for calls to do more to rescue the girls. The fact that Jonathan has still not deemed it fit to visit Chibok to commiserate and reassure families of the girls of his determination to rescue their wards tell just where the matter stands in his list of priorities as our leader.
When the Chief of Defence Staff mentioned recently that the military had pinpointed the location of the girls, it raised hopes of an imminent climax to the girls ordeal but that, too, faded when no further information or action was forthcoming from the military. This rather cheap publicity stunt that the Defence chief embarked upon also lends credence to Obasanjo’s statement that we may perhaps begin to resign ourselves to the grim reality that some of the girls might just have been lost for good. As Jonathan focuses on 2015 reelection, we urge him to spare a thought for the girls and their parents and get serious about rescuing them.