by Alexander O. Onukwue
May 29, 2015. Taking the reins from the perceived lethargic administration of Goodluck Jonathan, Muhammadu Buhari made the profound statement every Nigerian wanted to hear: “We cannot say we have won the war against Boko Haram without the return of our Chibok girls”.
That promise is now over 500 days old and by the evening of January 8, 2017, the said girls had been in captivity twice as long. Winston Churchill once said that Political skill is the ability to foretell the happenings of the future and the ability to give a reasonable explanation when the prediction does not come to fruition. But let’s leave the matter of giving explanations for now.
The Federal Government has declared itself victorious over the extremist antagonists, proclaiming the set up of a new base in the infamous forest of Sambisa. Disregarding the ‘I-am-still-here’ rally of the sect’s leader, the Buhari administration has gone ahead to kick in restructure and rehabilitation plans in the entire North-Eastern region. The so-called Buhari Plan, focused on eight initiatives which include restoring livelihoods and creating jobs, should bring back life to the region bedeviled by the catastrophe of a war toned in religion but apparently fought over resources. Roads formerly closed are being reopened with the usual scissors-over-tape ceremony and palaces was razed are now being re-raised.
Life is coming back to Borno and the North East, but for who are these remodeling being done?
Because as far as everyone knows, the children of today are the leaders of tomorrow and at last count, only 21 of the 219 school children abducted from Chibok in April of 2014 have being recovered from the dreaded captors. It has taken negotiations, some give-and-take, and much public outcry to gain the freedom of the girls and all efforts that have led to this have been duly documented and commended.
But it is not yet uhuru; heck, there is still need for continued hullabaloo.
Granted, the public cannot always know what plans the security agencies have towards the complete recapture of the girls. But when people are brought close enough to the kitchen, even if only to perceive the aroma of the meal, it gives hope that the smoldering twist of the intestines will soon get soothing relief. It is the President’s duty to fulfill the promise he made, not just to Nigerians as a whole, but in particular to parents who pulled out the stops to invest in education in a part of the country where giving girls opportunities to learn is really not a thing.
No nation could conscientiously sweep the matter of its children’s future under the carpet. No one could sleep under a bed of thorns. Definitely not in a country of hungry stomachs (recession, etc).
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Alexander shares his opinion on social and environmental issues on twitter via @OnukwueNG