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Published On: Tue, May 20th, 2014

Why Jonathan must go to Chibok

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By Muhammad Al-Ameen

Leadership comes with enormous responsibilities, courage and risks. Therefore, anyone aspiring for leadership at any level must be adequately prepared with this at the back of his mind before venturing for leadership positions. The leader is a guide who provides his people with vision, direction and strength. He or she is an authority that is looked up to for solution to problems affecting the people. Therefore, when a part or whole of a geographical entity under the care of a leader is infringed or abused, the hope of the followers rests on the bold, fast and decisive actions of their leaders.

Another factor that makes a leader unique is his ability to identify with the plight of his people especially at times of need. Recently, the Prime minster of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, visited the Soma coal mine accident which claimed over 200 lives. The Prime minister was advised on security grounds not to visit the site because relations of the victims were raging in anger over poor safety measures provided for the miners. The people see government as an ‘accomplice’ to the mining company. They argued that the accident would have been averted if government had compelled the company to observe the standard safety measures.

Amidst the mad rage, Prime minister Erdogan drove to the accident site even when the angry mob attempted lynching him.

Back home, when news emerged that President Goodluck Jonathan was visiting Chibok before proceeding to France for the security meeting, parents of the abducted Chibok girls, and many sympathizers sighed “at last, after one month, Mr President will be in Chibok to commiserate with the community to give them hope and strength over the missing girls”.

Alas, discordant tunes over the visit started vibrating from Abuja. It was either Mr. President put off the visit or, never indicated interest of going to Chibok and when the president left for France, the people’s hope in receiving a presidential belated sympathy visit was dashed and, the remaining strength left with them diminished further.

A lot of things crossed the minds of Nigerians. When will this president identify with the plight of. Nigerians in Chibok? When will Chibok parents tap strength and hope in their President? A president who is about seeking their mandate for another term of office.

It is quite disturbing to hear Mr President telling reporters in France that it is not necessary for him to go to Chibok. Whosoever advised President Jonathan not to go to Chibok, must have misled him as well. Imagine a country visited by national tragedy. Who is the chief mourner? Of course, it is President Jonathan.

It is certain that the people of Chibok who felt lifted with the news that Mr President was visiting them, would have their already devastated spirits further weakened.

Like the courageous visit by APC governors who walked the streets of Maiduguri last year in spite of bomb scares, which gave the residents a sense of care, concern and belonging, it is indeed necessary that Mr President visits Chibok to lift up the spirit of a ruined community.

As the 2015 elections get closer, the people have been strengthened by the successful conduct of local council election in Yobe state. It has provided them with hope towards 2015. They also argued that elections were being conducted in worse scenarios like Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria therefore, they cannot be marginalized in 2015.


Muhammad Al-Ameen can be reached on


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