By Denrele Animasaun
Oh, what a tangled web we weave…when first we practice to deceive.” — Walter Scott,
It is often said that a day is a long time in politics. And it seems that the tide turned for Jonathan this week when he, at last, met with most of the families of the missing Chibok girls and those that had escaped the evil clutches of Boko Haram.
This meeting has been long time coming and I am sure that he realises that the gesture and words of comfort was not as complicated and or painful as he first thought. In fact, it must be quite cathartic. So should we be rehashing old grounds? Yes, we should. The delay to meet with the families should be a future lesson to all that it is important to reach out to those suffering such loss; is the only decent thing to do. Politics aside, we should always show compassion; it is the key to being a decent human being. I know that some may feel that he has put right the wrong by finally meeting with the distraught parents of the missing girls. But, we should not forget that the girls went missing in April and he did not meet with them until last Tuesday .
The spin doctors and Jona were slow to act, that is a fact. No matter all protestations and promises aside, they should have acted sooner rather than later. The Tuesday’s meeting in Abuja between the president and Chibok residents only came about at the behest and the impassioned plea from Malala Yousafzai.
The families of the abducted were right to insist that all the families of the missing girls met with the president and some of the selected few. It was very crass of the spin doctors to have described the reluctance of the families or the national #BringBackOurGirls movement as “psychological terrorists”, accusing them of using the crisis to score political points. We should leave politics out of this and understand that there is always the right time to do the right thing. This government didn’t, not until now.
Of course, any right thinking person will know that the families have the right to seek the safe return of their children. The campaign at home and abroad have been very effective as it kept the call for the search of the missing girls at the fore front of the national and international attention that it truly deserves.
Once again, the media circus was there to capture the historic meeting as the FG’s Spin doctor Reuben Abati was proud to announce to waiting national and international journalists that the “event” was “a very successful event.” This was not an event. The PR machine it seems, as usual, was looking for a face-saving angle and this was one cheap one at that. The meeting should have been a sombre and conciliatory tone. The spin master took to his twitter account and posted pictures of the “event” It seem that the president has assured the families that the authorities were doing everything possible to rescue the abducted girls. Well, we have heard that baloney many times before and yet, the girls are missing and no evidence that tangible evidence has been done to rescue the girls or those that were abducted after them.
So goes the PR impresario: “The president called for patience, cooperation and understanding” and that “anyone who gives you the impression that we are aloof and that we are not doing what we are supposed to do to get the girls out is not being truthful,” . There is only one truth and no one so would believe their version of the truth in the face of any substantial evidence to the contrary.
The tirade of the court minister’s tone is incredulous and smacks of arrogance and self-importance as he continues that on behalf of the president, using the royal we:“Our commitment is not just to get the girls out, it is also to rout Boko Haram completely from Nigeria,” And that. “But we are very, very mindful of the safety of the girls. We want to return them all alive to their parents. If they are killed in any rescue effort, then we have achieved nothing.” Okay, really what have we achieved so far, other than more slaughter and displacement of people?
Abati said: “it was not appropriate to discuss publicly what steps authorities were taking”. So we should take his word as gospel and do nothing until the slothful government delivers on his promise months and months down the line.
In the meantime, over 2,000 people have been killed since the abduction of the girls in April and it had spread untold insecurity and panic around parts of our country. There have been lies and many untruths printed arrests of protesters and flexing of official attempts to suppress the truth and intimidation to discredit, besmirch and discredit the campaigners and families of the missing girls over the last couple of months.
Unfortunately, some people in Nigeria tend to take everything as a religious and tribal conspiracy. It’s about time we looked within and question our morals and conscience. We have lost our compassion as people and we are Nigerians. After all, what happens to one, really does happen to all. This is not about building our separate empire here, his is truly a humanitarian disaster and we can ill afford not to face the truth. We cannot afford to settle for less, we deserve better and Nigerians should demand better. We cannot sit back and be fed more of the same drivel of conspiracy theories, half-truths and paranoia.
The staged grand fanfare of concern is a little too late and such farce coming from our head of state at this time of the disaster, is a disgrace. I will leave it at that.
Common sense prevails at last
Prayer is not asking. It is a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” — Mahatma Gandhi
It is nice to hear that love triumphs over evil as Merriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, the Sudanese women, who was sentenced for apostasy and scheduled to hang by the Sudanese court. She has been freed due to global outrage for renouncing Islam. She was raised by her Christian mother and says she has never been Muslim. So according to Sudan’s version of Islamic law she is also Muslim and cannot convert. Mrs Ibrahim’s husband, Daniel Wani, a Christian, is from South Sudan and has US nationality. Their daughter Maya was born in prison in May.
She would have been hanged if not for worldwide attention and diplomatic campaign to win her freedom and subsequent exit out of Sudan in June. It is comforting to know that there are people out there who value humanity and sanctity of human life. The family has been reunited and Mrs Ibrahim had travelled on a Sudanese passport she received at the last minute. Her lawyer explained that Mrs Ibrahim was “unhappy to leave Sudan. She loves Sudan very much. It’s the country she was born and grew up in,” but her “life is in danger so she feels she has to leave.
And that “Just two days ago a group called Hamza made a statement that they would kill her and everyone who helps her,” We can ill afford to go the way of Sudan. We are tolerant of other each other’s religion and tribal difference. We are Nigerians no matter we are.