The world watches at the moment as Nigeria slowly takes the spotlight as the hotspot for terrorist activities in Africa. It is indeed sad that the ‘Giant of Africa’ has not been able to curb the excesses of the insurgents that have caused a lot of the damage to the psyche of the average Nigerian. Every week, Nigerians wake up to news of bloody attacks, most of these in the northern part of the country; asides this, there are issues of corruption in high places (we are used to this already) which have left Nigerians wondering as to what hope is left for the people of this country. Most recently there have been vehement protests against the government’s inability to produce adequate information on the fate of the girls who were allegedly kidnapped from the Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State. With the influence of social media, the tag #BringBackOurGirls has drawn the attention of people and the media outside Africa with a good number of foreigners lending their voices to the cause. Nigeria has slowly become incapable of coordinating her own affairs, and if something is not done sooner than later, our sovereignty could be at stake.
The alleged kidnap of these girls has indeed set Nigerians against one another and have split opinions across different divides. While some opinions have religious bias, others are politically biased, leading to a mass (and uncontrollable) influx of conflicting accounts as to what really happened in Chibok, and the fate of the allegedly kidnapped girls. I had happened upon an article written by Alexis Okeowo of the New Yorker – A Blog (Find Here) which had been circulated on twitter by the former Minister of Education, Dr. Mrs Oby Ezekwesili a while ago, and there I read a supposed account of girls who had managed to escape from the hands of their captors, and honestly, I was far from impressed. The interview for one seemed concocted, like something a 2nd year student in a Nigerian University would tender for an assignment on reporting; asides this, a good part of the details given by the victims who escaped were unbelievable. As if to prove my doubts wrong, I read another article (Find Here) with conflicting reports on how the girls were taken from their school in the first place. Also, there were conflicting reports as to the actual number of the girls who had escaped, with some bloggers putting it at 15, while some put it at 80 (Linda Ikeji).
While I do not put it past human error as to the reason for these stories that do not add up, I strongly believe that something is not right here. Initially, there was a media blunder on the part of the military, where Nigerians were led to believe that all the girls kidnapped had been rescued; later on we had the FG recant this claim through Doyin Okupe, who claimed full responsibility for the misinformation, he also admitted that the search fro the girls was still on. Even though I truly want to believe that there was an actual kidnapping, I strongly think otherwise. This whole situation has all the markings of a political propaganda gone awry. It was almost two weeks till Nigerians were given a view of the aggrieved parents who had lost their children; it also took two weeks for prominent nigerians to begin to lend their voices and faces to protests that have taken over social media, as well as the streets. It took everyone (FG, The School at Chibok, CAN) almost three weeks to produce a list of names of the allegedly missing girls. Personally I think the “wuru wuru” production of the list was a direct response to the increasing protest by some rational thinking Nigerians as to the veracity of all the claims put forth by all sides involved in this imbroglio. The way I see it, someone/some group somewhere is doing all they can to rubbish the FG, and sadly the latter keeps falling into a ditch that gets bigger by the day.
I happened to serve in a Government Secondary school in a village somewhere in Kwara state, and I can say I have a faint knowledge of how records are kept in such schools. The authorities at Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok claim the students were that much because they had been sitting for Senior School Certificate Examinations, and I wonder, why did the onus not fall on the examination body (WAEC) itself, or the school authorities to provide a comprehensive list of the allegedly missing girls? We all are aware that WAEC has a photocard (a big sheet with names and photographs of students who sit for its exams) which they use to properly document the identities of students who take their exams; why was this not used as a manifest to account for the missing girls? Why did Nigerians have to wait 3weeks to see a shoddily prepared list? Could it be because of the heat turned on the country by the unprecedented media attention #BringBackOurGirls has brought us?
For every rational thinking Nigerian, I would like you to ponder on a few things; First off, the 2015 elections are almost here, so you ought to believe (for your own good) that Nigeria is now a battle ground. While I am not ruling out the possibility that an external sponsor could be involved in the activities of the Boko Haram (If thats who they are), I am more than certain that they have local sponsors. We have wealthy billionaires in this country who have stakes in politics, and it should be assumed that there are no lengths they would not go to in a bid to secure their political investments.
Second, while I am all for a political revolution, I have to admit that Nigeria as a country is not ready for such a change. Our economy cannot withstand the aftermath of a violent revolution, and if one were to take place, efforts at reconstruction and rehabilitation could take forever to be effective. Please make no mistake about it, the same people who are encouraging you to revolt violently would be granted political asylum in the western world while the ordinary men like you and I would be here to suffer the consequences. Do not get me wrong, I am in no way encouraging you to continue to stomach the evils our leaders are meting on this nation, I am simply making a case for passive revolution.
Third, imagine what would happen after all is said and done and we are all guided by the nose to the end of the Chibok Girls saga; my gut tells me we are never going to “see” these girls, and that even if we did, there would be no way to find out the truth about all that went down up north at Borno. Well I guess now that CNN is here, we might (that depends); I guess our indigenous journalists are too afraid to venture up north and provide Nigerians with an objective account on all that is going on. Remember #OccupyNigeria ? It might not ring true to you that these causes are all going to end the same way, but do not worry, with time it would.
I have no recommendations and possible solutions to the problems of this country (asides killing off the corrupt ilk that have turned our country to their personal property), all I can do is continue to hope that someday, our democracy would be evolved enough to produce leaders that are qualified and capable of leading this nation to the great place it ought to be. Till then, I would be here watching and waiting, and probably writing; the latter is not a given. 🙂