by Roqeebah Olaoniye
Anyone who followed the last campaign would recall that one of the reasons many people voted Buhari in as President was because his electioneering strategy banked heavily on the failure of the last administration to return the missing Chibok girls. Now, Mr. President is under serious fire for not doing enough to #BringBackOurGirls.
The town of Chibok itself has raised its voice in this regard. The Chairman of the Chibok Community in Abuja, Mr. Tsambido Hosea just last week said: “Chibok people had often voted for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), but in the last election, they voted wholeheartedly for the current president because of his promise to rescue our girls.”
Considering the fact that this is one thing that could have put this administration in everyone’s good books forever, one would wonder how the President got himself in this kind of mess. Well, we have taken the liberty to prepare a timeline of Buhari’s downward slope using the headlines…
The president declared that while the past administration had failed to bring back our girls, he had done his best with finding them – by ordering Babagana Mungono to set up an investigation into their abduction?
We watched and waited for what the outcome of this panel’s investigations will be. We desperately wanted it to be different from whatever investigations had already been done but yeah, you guessed right! No ground breaking outcomes. Instead, just a few days after, on the 14th of January, this happened:
The Chibok parents had gone to the Villa to try to re-engage Mr. President on the issue of how to return the girls. First, he sent ‘emissaries’ to the Villa gate to turn them back, they were resilient, he was forced to meet them, but on the condition that there would be no media coverage. Only for him ‘to storm out’? His media advisors obviously didn’t remind him that the Twitter medium is always an exception.
For a government that promised to make finding the girls top priority upon being elected, this was definitely a shocker. We mean, you don’t know if you can rescue them?
And now is the time to be honest? Now? In April? 2016? Two years after their abduction. Okay. Obviously, he did not think we were paying attention even though we were. Raptly too. Malala, the Nobel Laureate had to advise our President to not give up just as he won’t give up ‘the fight for his own daughter’. Even Helen Paul, the popular comedienne, aired her disappointments with Buhari’s lack of progress.
In an interview he granted CNN’s Christiane Amanpour while he attended the United Kingdom’s global anti-corruption summit, here’s what our President had to say.
I saw the families as a group twice,” he said. “The first time, they came to visit my wife. The second, they came as a group to see me, and the less I see them the better for my own emotional balance.”
“I try to imagine my 14-year-old year old daughter missing for more than two years. I try to imagine what condition are they in. A lot of the fathers would rather see their graves, than imagine them under such condition.”
Of course it didn’t matter that he went on to add the second paragraph, Nigerian media weaved some of the most unemotional headlines ever.
Meanwhile, Back home, Buhari’s mind seemed to have slipped and he was being accused of having forgotten about the girls.
The #BBOG campaigners were getting impatient. They lamented Buhari’s inability to meet any of the demands they made at their first meeting which held July 8, 2015, one year later.
Did you think that everything that had been happening Buhari X #ChibokGirls-wise only had grim effects on the President’s popularity? Wait.For.It!
Let’s start with the newly released video by the abductors showing the girls and their status.
On the August 14, Boko Haram released a video of the abducted girls but our President did not deem it fit to address this. Instead the Nigerian government assigned themselves the unnecessary task of harassing the journalist to whom the video was first released, Ahmad Saldika.
When the military finally addressed the video and its content, it was to say this: “Currently we are studying the video clips to verify its authenticity and analysing the comments of the speakers in the video especially the terrorist member and the girl that spoke in mother tongue.”
While we awaited the reports of their investigation into the authenticity of the video and what-not, we got this:
After months of promises unfulfilled, our Air chiefs have no clue where our girls.
Our military is investigating something, we do not know what while also busy killing dead Boko Haram members; supporters of the President thought it wise to sign a press release warning #BBOG protesters to avoid any peaceful protest SO AS NOT TO ENRAGE THE KIDNAPPERS. In all of this, our President was silent and while we were considering whether to take his silence as approval of their message or not.
This where we stand. Nigerians are fed up; the people of Chibok are extremely disappointed; the international community is watching and we can finally say the President, his team and (probably his party too) can let go of any hopes of continuation of the support they had enjoyed from the whole Chibok situation.
If you think we are lying, you just search #MrPresident #LeadFromTheFront. #GoToBornoNow #Mr PresidentActNow.