Former President Jonathan must, by now fully admit to himself, that his administration did not show enough responsibility and urgency in the handling of the abduction of close to 300 school girls while preparing for their exams in Chibok about two years ago.
He must have a regret or two about how the unfortunate incident was handled, the late response and things that were said or remain unsaid about this event.
The failure of the government of that day was widely, globally actually, publicised and I see no need recapping same here. It will suffice to suggest, however, that that mismanagement was one of the things that put the Jonathan administration on an irrevocable warpath with a lot of Nigerians.
It also, to a very large extent defined the way global leaders perceived Jonathan for the remainder of his tenure. You will recall that ABC TV interview where President Barack Obama of the United States said that the Nigerian government hadn’t been as effective as it should be in handing the kidnap of the girls.
Former Secretary of State and American Presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton was even more pungent in her position. Hear her on one of the occasions that she addressed the issue: “…The government of Nigeria has been, in my view, somewhat derelict in its responsibility toward protecting boys and girls, men and women in northern Nigeria over the last years. . Nigeria has made bad choices, not hard choices.. They have squandered their oil wealth; they have allowed corruption to fester, and now they are losing control of parts of their (own) territory because they would not make hard choices…Most of all, the government of Nigeria needs to get serious about protecting all of its citizens and ensuring that every child has the right and opportunity to go to school.”
Jonathan is not likely to ever hear the last of that inaction.
So when Governor Kashim Shettima of Bornu State started to whip up sentiments over how long it took for the former President to call him after the incident, I wondered what he was aiming at. I felt he was just playing politics with the situation especially as he had the company of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, a man whose love for Jonathan is dead and buried. Apparently Shettima just wanted to patronize Obasanjo as he went ahead to express his conviction that if the former soldier was President at the time of the kidnap, response from federal authorities would have been more swift and effective.
Shettima was probably right but there is some other very important part of the story that he forgot or conveniently ignored to tell- that is his own part in the ordeal of the young girls, the recovery of whom the world is still worried about. His refusal or failure to acknowledge this is the hypocrisy of the situation.
The governor possibly imagines that Nigerians suffer from amnesia but he is wrong. We all still remember that there would not have been any kidnap in Chibok if he had been the responsible chief executive of his state as he is expected to be.
We were told that the West African Examination Council (WAEC), which conducted the exams during which the girls were kidnapped had prevailed on the then minister of education and now, Rivers State Governor, Mr Nyesom Wike, to write a letter to Shettima, requesting him to move all students to Maiduguri, where adequate security could be provided for them during Senior Secondary School Examination(SSCE).
Shettima was said to have refused to relocate students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok to Maiduguri, as suggested. He was said to have replied in writing that his government would provide adequate security in the school throughout the period of the examination, a reason for which WAEC allowed a centre in the school.
But on the night of the abduction, there was no security personnel deployed anywhere in the school . And so the abductors had a field day. This is among several of suggestions that easily give Shettima away as having acted as irresponsibly if not more so than the man who called him 15 days after the incident! Would the governor have left his own children in that community without adequate security?
When Nigerians get angry and complain about this sad incident, Shettima is one of those, who like Jonathan, should bury their heads in shame and ask for the forgiveness of God and man. That he still has the courage to vilify others without stating his own ignoble role is not only hypocritical but disgraceful. It can only be Nigerian.
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