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Between Malala and #BringBackOurGirls franchisers

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OBY Ezekwesili and her gang have shouted themselves hoarse, yet have been unable to get anywhere near President Goodluck Jonathan. However, a Malala Yousafzai from Pakistan visited and, within 48 hours, met with the most powerful president in Black Africa. Why should the President ignore the former director of the World Bank, Mrs. Ezekwesili, and meet a teenager from a country in the middle of nowhere but terrorism?

The answer is simple: None of the campaigners has ever received a bullet in the head. Also, in all their noise, none has heard of any meaningful financial assistance they gave, yet the teenager gave $200,000.00.

And over the matter of the parents shunning the President, it is amazing that none has been able to figure out that the pretenders who refused to meet Jonathan were not the original parents, but the “China” versions who did not want to enter the Villa and suffer the humiliation that befell a Chibok “parent” who turned to be an impostor that was dealt with by security agents.

One representative of the parents, however, added a new dimension when he expressed disappointment that a president who ignored the local campaigners agreed to meet the Pakistani.

“It is embarrassing that the President had to wait for Malala to come all the way to Nigeria to convince him to meet with us three months after the attack,” said one Dauda Iliya, a member of the Chibok panel of elders, evidently not a parent.

“We deserve a visit by the president,” he added, saying that if Jonathan cannot go to the remote North Eastern town for security reasons, he can bring “all the 219 mothers to meet with him. This meeting should not be selective.” True, but will the parents agree to this arrangement without the interference of those who want to score cheap political points?

Another, Ayuba Chibok, again, not a parent but an uncle, according to newspaper reports, lamented: “For more than three months, all we are praying for is for Goodluck (Jonathan) to come and see what happened to us and see us crying….If our governor (Kashim Shettima of Borno State) was able to come and go back safely, why can’t the President, with all his helicopters?”

What these pseudo-parents did not tell everyone is that the partisan and nauseating behaviour of the franchisers has made it difficult for them to be trusted by anyone. They have muddied the water and it is difficult for the average Nigerian to see anything good about them any longer over a campaign that started well.

Ezekwesili, the noisy former this and that, knows, like all her cohorts, that when they gave Malala the assignment to broker a meeting with the President, they expected him to say no, so they could up the ante of criticisms against him; but unfortunately, the President obliged the international citizen, just as he did to the United States, United Kingdom in the search for the Chibok girls, and the “parents” took off, claiming, according to their propagandists, they shunned the President.

They did not shun Jonathan; they were just not the real parents. When the Department of State Security, DSS, said the #BringBackOurGirls was a franchise, many thought it was calling a dog a bad name in order to hang it. Now it is obvious they were dead right, and most of those masquerading as Chibok parents are franchisers.

Again, when politicians play certain games to be relevant, they forget that it can backfire. For instance, when Mrs. Maryam Uwais and a gang of busybodies, including Ezekwesili, lamented to Senate President, David Mark, over their harassment as they made to enter the National Assembly, he apologised to those undeserving of it. They had asked: “Why are we being intimidated for standing for the abducted girls? Why are we now being portrayed as the enemies of the state?”


But the military man in him showed when
he told them clearly that they were grandstanding and should avoid working at cross purposes with the government but should rather co-operate with it in the effort to rescue the girls. Mark said: “I am not sure any Nigerian with blood flowing in his vein will be indifferent to the plight of the Chibok girls. Government has not ruled out any option in the quest to free our girls. Let us be on the same wavelength and free the girls alive. I don’t think any group should play politics with this matter.

“The case of the Chibok girls is a sad commentary. Nobody anticipated this ugly trend. We are all under stress locally and internationally. The situation does not call on anybody to grandstand. All hands must be on deck to rescue the girls. We must do everything humanly possible to rescue the girls alive and end insurgency and terrorism in the land.”

Ezekwesili, known for showing disrespect to constituted authority when she is not the authority, accused the Senate President for not providing tangible answers to their questions as she demanded to know what exactly the government was doing, whether it was dialoguing for the release of the girls or not. Her words: “You haven’t given us a very tangible response we can hold unto. I hope when we come back, we will have a tangible response.”

Mark, ruthless for not brooking any challenge from a woman who constantly appears as one who may not be showing respect as the wife of a pastor, retorted: “Oby, I hope you have not come here to hear from me that Chibok girls will be released tomorrow morning…Let’s not reduce this matter to a classroom discussion. We should be on the same wavelength and not on different wavelengths. They are doing everything possible to bring back the girls. I don’t know what tangible answer you want to get from me again. I’m not dialoguing with Boko Haram…. What is important to all of us is to work hard to bring our girls alive. Nobody should politicise this. Lives are involved and we are all fathers and mothers here. It is better imagined than witnessed.”

One angry commentator on the internet was less charitable: “I participated in one of the rallies denouncing the terrorists and calling world governments to do more to help. I have gone home, so has Michelle Obama and millions of others around the planet. These campaigners should go home also. They have made their points, attracted the needed international attention, today we have that global assistance and our security forces and Federal Government are doing everything humanly possible to bring back the girls and to bring them back alive. It’s so sad that Oby Ezekwesili doesn’t understand this and continues to distract this government and divert needed security resources.”

If Mark was a man in his dealings with the women, Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, who was less than that, sought to play to the gallery with the women, massaging their punctured egos and egging them on, even though right under his nose, his foot soldiers went to see Jonathan to tell him to continue in office. Tambuwal, who is neither known as a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, nor an All Progressives Congress, APC, stalwart any longer, has been somewhat clueless on the right steps to take in matters of state, preferring to speak from the two sides of his mouth in the hope that it will increase his political relevance.

*Mr. ABBA ADAKOLE,  a political  analyst, wrote from Abuja.

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