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Dapchi ,miserable lives of the Chibok doubting Thomases

By Ugoji Egbujo

They were eager to denounce Chibok. They said it was a farce. They said it was contrived by the opposition to tarnish Jonathan’s ruling government. Jonathan’s wife lent credence to the absurdity by shedding crocodile tears on national television. She was the weeping wife of a victimized husband. They had  said it was impossible to find many girls in any one school in the North. They said it was impossible to cart them away like oranges. They despised  the Bring-Back-Our-Girls movement. They said they were rented by the opposition  to create nuisance. That was in 2014. More than half of the abducted girls remain missing till today.

In February 2018, another news broke. 110  girls had been abducted from a school in Dapchi. The girls were carted away, quietly,  in trucks,  from their school. It took government avoidable  clumsiness and  very many hours to confirm the incident. The rattled government  needed many days to settle on  the number of girls that were taken. The Chibok doubting Thomses  were stirred. They danced out of their cynicism.

dapchi girls
Dapchi girls

The Thomases of 2014 were delirious. They welcomed the horror of Dapchi with  sadistic glee. They mocked Buhari and  booed the military. They said the  Buhari government was founded on cheap propaganda. They said Dapchi was hard evidence that Boko Haram had neither been decimated nor defeated. They said only a government that traded in deceit  and technical lies would play hide-and-seek with the people on the insurgency. They  demanded  the resignation of the president. They announced that  he had failed in everything.

The CNN said Dapchi was not a national disaster but a national disgrace! They chuckled. They quoted CNN’s Aisha Sessay everywhere they went. The hatred they had  fashioned for her in 2014  and sustained for four years had suddenly expired.

They wanted many  heads to roll. They wanted the Chief of Army Staff to resign. They pilloried  the police. They said they left Dapchi unprotected  to loiter in the kitchens of VIPs. They tittered as the Army and the police traded scowls and  blames.

They were hysterical. To service their histrionics,  they validated Chibok retrospectively. Dapchi had to be true so that  Buhari can bear the brunt.  For Dapchi to be true,  Chibok had to be true.  So Chibok was made true.  They said Chibok should have been a lesson. They said Buhari never learns. They said if Jonathan had the benefit of a lesson like  Chibok he would have handled Dapchi smartly.

They called on the international community to take note of the woeful performance of their  once preferred Buhari. They taunted the president. They said he lacked empathy. They said if he had any empathy he  would have gone to Dapchi to commiserate with grieving families.  They remembered how quickly,  and emotionally, he attended to his wounded son Yusuf.

Then Buhari  attended a wedding party of governors’ children in Kano. It became a free-for-all. They discarded all restraints. They called him a wanton prodigal who frolicked with the rich while the nation grieved.

While they believed Dapchi,  they rendered soulful jeremiads.

Then Buhari visited  Dapchi. They said it was a  shameless piece of gimmickry. They said he went because he couldn’t stand the deluge of  moral outrage directed at him. They said he was an artful hypocrite. At Dapchi, Buhari  walked on a red carpet. They rolled their eyes and  rolled on the floor. They said he had walked on the pool of the blood of the missing girls. They were willing to give it  depraved occult interpretations.

When he  told them he had given marching orders to the military to rescue the girls. They yawned. The  Air force announced that our pilots  were doing round-the-clock sorties. They sneered at what they called childish propaganda.  They said the military was culpable. They said the military was sloppy.  They said the commander-in-chief must bear responsibility for such a monumental failure and for such a disastrous outcome.

The doubters of 2014 had become  latter-day supporters of  the BBOG.They said they wanted the Dapchi girls returned intact. They jumped around like human rights activists.  Chibok had proved a mortal  wound  for Jonathan. So they calculated that  Dapchi must be the nemesis of  Buhari’s government. They punched the air in triumph.

They appeared resolute in their new convictions.

Then the  former United States Secretary of States, Tillerson, visited. President Buhari  revealed that the government was making progress in  negotiations with the insurgents  to retrieve the girls.  That rang alarm bells. The Thomases of 2014 screeched to a halt. The spirit of cynicism started creeping back into them.

Then the Minister of Defense announced an imminent return of the girls. His confidence troubled them. That was enough. The Thomases ran back to their rumour mills and factories for conspiracy theories. They oiled their dusty equipment and revved the engines of obdurate skepticism and mindless nihilism. They  re-submitted themselves to delusions.

The PDP tweeted that it smelt a rat. It said the minister’s announcement meant  the government  knew too much. The Amnesty International announced that the army had ignored  early warnings of Dapchi attack. The Thomases started guffawing. They wouldn’t hear that the army receives thousands of false alarms daily.

Then another news broke . The Dapchi  girls had been returned. Boko Haram had come like thieves at night when they took the girls. Now they came  triumphantly-flags flying, trumpets blaring. They had time to deliver a sermon.  They warned the parents never to send their girls  to school again. 104 of the 110 girls  were returned. They said they collected no ransoms and didn’t touch the girls. The villagers broke out of their grief and cheered  the insurgents.

The Thomases had had it. They found the reaction of Dapchi villagers ridiculous, suspicious. They scoffed at what they called a  badly written script and its poor execution. They said the government enacted the piece to paint a messianic image of a bumbling Buhari. They dismissed Dapchi as a farce. They said it was another  thriller from the producer of  Chibok. Another clever  use of Boko Haram to manipulate the dynamics of national politics.

They wont lend themselves to reason. These Thomases.  This government had pronounced the insurgency defeated. What would it gain  letting the insurgents strike such a blow with loud international resonance? On any cost benefit analytical scale, the abduction of the Dapchi girls  would outweigh the recovery of the girls. Even with a giant leap of devilish imagination it’s hard to see how this government would benefit from a scripted Dapchi.  But the Thomases have resumed their mills.

The Thomases of 2014, after a brief sally into reality,  have returned to base.



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