In the run-up to 2015 general elections part of the campaign promises of the All Progressives’ Congress was a double assurance that should they have our votes and be voted into power the abducted girls in the dead of the night from a school dormitory at Chibok will be rescued and reunited with their families. This sounded encouraging and thus drew the attention of Nigerians and the international community.
The then federal government under former President Jonathan was seen as none other than a clueless regime that must be jettisoned at all costs and this was followed by growing impatience as the nation waited anxiously for May 29 to send the administration packing and as luck would have it this was achieved by instrumentality of the ballot box in the general elections that took place on March 28 this year.
‘Chibok girls’ as they are fondly called was used to score cheap political points and so much noise was made. The former President everyone would recall had his reservations when the news of the ‘abductees’ first hit the nation’s airwaves. It soon made news headlines and was widely reported by the world press and former President Jonathan was given two options either he produces the girls which his ‘cluelessness’ has occasioned or immediately relinquishes his hold on power.
Several demonstrations by Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora commenced to pressurize President Jonathan to produce the abductees. I too was enraged in no small measure against the seeming inaction of the former administration under President Jonathan considering the agonizing pains the parents were passing through over the sudden loss of their children to the devil-may-care jihadist insurgents.
The All Progressives’ Congress held tenaciously to this Chibok story and had everyone taken in that gave them that magnetic pull. As luck would have it, the elections were held which, reports say, they won by a landslide. Buhari assumed the reign of power on May 29, 2015, and six calendar months on nothing has been said about the Chibok girls or the efforts in place to rescue them from their abductors and the story is gradually disappearing like a fading star in the firmament.
The babel of voices that trailed the abduction of the girls have suddenly become extinct and the parent’s like receding hills have thinned out. Ah… this brings so many things to the mind of this author. Could we have been fooled with the Chibok story by a cast of neophyte actors to solicit for votes all in a bid to get to power? Did they really deserve our votes? Life appears to be going increasingly uphill in Nigeria since they took over power about six months ago amid pleas for patience by the Nigerian regime in Abuja and this leaves me astounded in no small measure.
What about what looked like sponsored protests at the period under sad review? Who were the people whose services were retained? How much were they paid for this massive fraud, hypocrisy, and a range of elaborate deceptions?
This writer can infer that lies, deceit were designed on whose back they rode to power in that nothing has been heard about the parents nor the relatives of the purported abductees. Buhari who capitalized on the Chibok story to attract our votes has suddenly gone as quiet as he could be. This is very disheartening!
Now the question is: Were there ever abductees from a secondary grammar school dormitory at Chibok? Why has the fiery noise eventually thinned out? Were the Chibok girls mere non-existent spooks and phantoms, a mere hallucinatory, delusional fantasy designed to bamboozle the generality of Nigerians in a criminal bid to solicit for votes? We have a burning desire to know.
Iyoha John Darlington, a scholar, social activist, public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.