The All Progressives Congress (APC) has described as a compound embarrassment the fact that it took 17-year-old girl-child education campaigner, Pakistani Malala Yousafzai, to visit and convince President Goodluck Jonathan to agree to a meeting with representatives of the parents of the kidnapped school girls.
”President Jonathan, who has already embarrassed himself and the entire people of Nigeria by his inexplicable failure to visit Chibok since the girls were abducted over 90 days ago, has compounded the embarrassment and insulted Nigerians by waiting for Malala to goad him to meet with the girls’ parents, not in Chibok but in Abuja,” the party said in a statement in Lagos, Thursday, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
It said after the meeting failed, because the parents were not properly informed and invited, a shameless presidency turned around to blame the opposition and the patriotic and selfless Nigerians who have been campaigning daily, under the #Bringbackourgirls group.
”Fortunately, and to the eternal discomfiture of the presidency, the Chibok community has said the decision not to meet with President Jonathan in Abuja was theirs and theirs alone, and that they took that decision because their sole reason for coming to Abuja was to meet with Malala, and not the President who did not invite them anyway.
”With this explanation, one would have expected a presidency that has regard for the truth to immediately retract its earlier panic statement, which it issued to save face after what was nothing but a PR gimmick blew up in their face, and apologize to the opposition and the #Bringbackourgirls group that were unjustly pilloried by them.
”Instead, the presidency has persisted in its distortion of the truth, for which they have now become infamous, even as a new date has been agreed for the meeting. This is unfortunate, condemnable and irresponsible,” APC said. ”If indeed, as the presidency claimed earlier, that the opposition was behind the earlier refusal by the parents and escaped girls not to see the President, what has then happened to make them change their minds? Has the opposition now asked them to meet with the President?”
The party alerted Nigerians that the reason President Jonathan, whose wife bullied and harangued the girls’ parents on the grounds that they were lying and that no girl was missing, agreed to meet with the parents is so that he could use the meeting as a photo-op, after Malala pushed for it and the President’s US-based image laundering firm acceded to it.
”Mr. President, your frantic effort to meet with the Chibok parents now is too little too late, and no amount of photo-op will change that. If your handlers had been sincere, Mr. President, they would have told you that the best venue of the meeting is Chibok, not Abuja where your people tried, but failed, to waylay the parents who came for a meeting with Malala.
”Mr. President, you have ceaselessly compared yourself to the great leaders of our time, including US President Barack Obama. But do you think Obama would have refused to visit the parents of these abducted school girls if the abduction had occurred in the US? Do you think Obama, as Commander-in-Chief, would have refused to visit his troops in the front line of the anti-terror fight as you have done?
”Do you think, Mr. President, that a band of rogue elements like Boko Haram would have restricted Obama’s movement within his own country as they have done to you? No true and caring President will ever fail to visit the sites of disasters and offer solace to his compatriots,” it said.
APC reminded President Jonathan that neither in Nigeria’s culture nor in any other culture are those hit by tragedy invited to be offered solace, adding that the practice is to visit those to be offered solace ‘in situ’.
The party reiterated its earlier call on the President to shake off his lethargy and bring the abducted school girls home safely, instead of playing politics with the lives of over 200 human beings.