Dr. Ngozi, in her responses, frequently reminded viewers that she's not a spokesperson for the government, but clearly at liberty to speak in its defence. She made statements that raised eyebrows. She expressed her disgust for the unprecedented media attention and the constant searchlight beamed on the activities of the government she represents.
The spontaneous uproar for the release of nearly 300 Chibok girls that were abducted from their Secondary School has done a lot of good. It has exposed the extent to which the Jonathan government is failing in its primary responsibility of protecting the lives and property of its citizens, given every other aspect of a good government remains secondary.
We have seen how governments all over the world, especially those that we look up to, display uncompromising integrity and pride in the defense and security of their people. They pursue all political angles in order to protect the life of every one of their citizens. All political affiliations are secondary to the preservation of national pride and honouring the contract between them and their electorate. The Israelis are well known for that, and only recently, the US Government set another example by securing the release of one Marine, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. They released five (5) Taliban militants in exchange. Clearly, this demonstrates the high position on which they place the respect and love for their people. In Nigeria’s case is, this is a lot different.
We maintain that democracy is about “we the people”. Yet, even as we are bombarded daily with rhetoric on how well President Goodluck Jonathan has surpassed his predecessors in office, our democracy is not really about the people. However, the challenge before the Jonathanians is how to confront the history books with their niggling and nauseating claims, which are clearly countered by a plethora of empirical evidence to the contrary.
President Goodluck Jonathan's administration may not be the worst ever in the world but certainly, it is one that no civilized “we the people” would put up with.
A couple of months ago, precisely this past June, when Abuja hosted the World Economic Forum (WEF), the international community lashed out at our "performing" President over his seemingly unperturbed disposition and lackadaisical attitude to the plight of the abducted girls and that of their parents. The government and its handlers became the butt of all jokes in the comity of nations.
To the President's kitchen cabinet, it's time for all hands to be on deck not just to rescue the girls as one would thought but also to rescue a government from its fall from grace in the eyes of the whole world.
Just like a wingless bird, the claims by the government's spokespersons that the President is concerned about the tale of the girls just could not fly. This was especially so in the face of notorious evidence to the contrary. So many questions posed by hosts of TV shows and programmes about the President's commitment and readiness to combat the hydra-headed monster of insurgency, especially the one waged by Boko Haram were either evaded or to the utter dismay of millions of viewers and the presenters, are abrasively answered in an unsatisfactory manner.
Barrage of attacks on the President and his administration have poured in, left, right and center from within and outside the country. Finally the occupants of the Abuja Aso Villa are rattled. Like the proverbial toothless bulldog, the propaganda mill has bowed to the pressure and lost its bite. Spokesmen for the government have taken turns to feature in prepaid interview sessions, whereupon they are saddled with the choice of either being the kings of their own silence or the slaves of their own false words.
Amongst the many interviews that have featured the "who's who of this administration", is the one between Richard Quest and the Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on the program "Best of Richard Quest". In that memorable episode, even though it is in sharp contrast to what is clearly demonstrated by the actions of the government as proven by its many lies and misdirected anger at the people of Nigeria for demanding action from an inept administration, Dr. Iweala stood stoutly in defence of her Principal's effort and commitment to the search for the abducted Chibok school girls. As the interview progressed, so many things were revealed. Dr. Ngozi, in her responses, frequently reminded viewers that she's not a spokesperson for the government, but clearly at liberty to speak in its defence. She made statements that raised eyebrows. She expressed her disgust for the unprecedented media attention and the constant searchlight beamed on the activities of the government she represents. She charged at Richard Quest by stating that: “Long after the limelight and long after CNN has ceased to cover the issue, we will continue to look for them".
And prophetically so, over 80+ days now since the girls went missing, the parents of those girls and the nation are still waiting and hoping for their return. The assertion may have passed unchallenged by the host, Richard, but not by Nigerians. This assertion is questionable and telling. As each day passes by, and the whereabouts of the girls still unknown, we all must wonder why the minister asserted that the search will take so long. The CNN would forget. “So, Madam minister, now that it is evident that you were right, when should we expect their return?”
All sensible Nigerians are inclined to believing that this administration is not as clueless as it seems, as such, we await the clues on the whereabouts of our girls, and preferably, their return back home to their loved ones.
In the meantime or long while, Madam Minister, please help us beg Mr. President to #BringBackOurGirls!
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