Musings on a Sad Anniversary and Ruinous Obsession

Anthony Kila writes on the ninth year anniversary of the kidnap of Chibok secondary school girls in Borno State and asks if government has left the parents and guardians of the affected girls to their fate.

Dear Readers

This weekend marks a sad anniversary, it is the nineth year commemoration of the kidnaping of the Chibok girls. Let us remind ourselves that between the 14th and 15th day of April 2014 close to 300 young secondary girls were abducted from their school, a Government Girls Secondary in Chibok, Borno state, a part of the country then notorious for insecurity.

Reports that reached us then was that the school had been closed for weeks for security reasons and that the girls were in school for their final examination. Amid tears, we should see.

This sad anniversary is not just a reminder of the sad fact that the too many girls are still missing, it also reminds us of who we were and who we are as a people.

When the kidnapping occurred nine years ago, the first two worrisome elements for consideration, besides the fact of the kidnapping itself, were those of “how”.

Many people wondered how it is possible for so many girls to be taken away without anyone noticing and raising a useful alarm.

Many of us wondered how it was possible for there not to be enough eye witnesses that would have seen and that could describe where the kidnappers came from and where they went with the girls.

Another major “how” issue that came up was that of “how many”. It became quickly and sadly obvious to us then that the state and school could not give an exact number of how many girls were taken away. Parents were saying one number, school were saying another number and government were giving another.

That was nine years ago, do you think today we can confidently and precisely say how many students are in and out of any school compound? Have we put in place enough measure to ensure that none of our children can be kidnapped without trace?

Just in case we forget, it is worth remembering that one of the main reasons many voted for the then candidate now outgoing president Muhammadu Buhari was the belief and hope that he would lead the restoration of security in general and the return of the kidnap girls or to “#Bring back our Girls” as those who still care about the girls keep saying.

At the heat of the moment, the whole world cared about our missing girls, celebrities and world leaders carried placards and made statements. There were rallies across capitals of the world. Various government and leaders around the globe offered to help in terms of offering arms and other equipment, human capital and intelligence, the interest was intense and wide.

Nine years later, the world has moved on, they seem to have found other interests and only those who seem to care, apart from the family of the girls, are those that meet under the Falomo bridge in Lagos.

I have observed elsewhere and severally that the gathering under that bridge is more constant and certainly more reliable than many airlines in Nigeria. One of the many lessons to take away from this sad episode is how ruinous is the obsession with foreign intervention.

What is there to gain from this obsession with we calling others to intervene in our woes?

They (foreign leaders and people) sit to chair, get details of our situation offer some platitude and move on to the next show on the big stage called world politics.

We must tell ourselves the truth, everyone has his own troubles, even when they are truly interested in our woes, foreigners do not have the time, resources or even legal backing to fully step in as we may wish or need, hence we need to focus, with resolve, on our issues by ourselves.

While we are at telling ourselves the truth about ruinous obsession, who will tell the leaders and faces of the APC that this their chasing after everything the opposition is doing and saying makes no sense.

By opposition I refer to the Obidents because the main opposition, the PDP, bless them, they are snoozing and they should not be disturbed. General elections are over and so should be campaigns and banters, it does not make sense for a party in power and about to hand over to itself to continue to battle with those that have lost the election.

Sadly, but legitimately, oppositions and those that lost the election have reasons to challenge the results. It is another phase in the electoral battle but this is a battle to be fought in the court room not on the streets or twitter.

I have argued that and continue to advocate for court proceedings to be televised and adjudicated before 29th May, the date scheduled for the swearing in. The very simple and clear intentions of such appeal is to help douse tensions, channel all disputes towards the legal process, restore faith in the judicial institutions and make protests and rebellions redundant.

It is easy to understand why those who lost election can be in pain, angry and prone to picking fights but those that have been declared winners have a duty of care to keep the house standing. To help douse tension and help healing of all, the APC team needs to leave the ruinous obsession of chasing Obidients; it is time to leave legal matters to lawyers and the courts and let politicians focus on agenda setting process that will give those who voted for and against an idea of what to expect for the new government.

So far, what we get is mostly push back and counter accusation as if there is another election in the making.

What we have instead and in reality, are court battles. Campaigns and public pressure do not or at least should not affect court proceedings so obsessing with banters and post-election jibes or any form of demystification of a candidate declared as loser is at best just sterile for the party and even ruinous for the country.

We need voices and faces that can project peace and hope not rage and division. It is time for those currently speaking for the ruling party in general and the president-elect in particular to change their ways or be made to make way for others that can change.

Join me if you can @anthonykila to continue these conversations.

-Kila is Centre Director at CIAPS.

Related Articles