(By Dolapo Aina)
“In the global and diplomatic world and scheme of things; you don’t hope before you work. You put your house in order by being pragmatic and not being lackadaisical. This would invariably get the nation the much needed outcomes. The Chibok Girls have to be rescued and rehabilitated in all ramifications“.
THE nations of the world do not lack people in leadership positions. They lack genuine leadership in their leaders – Dr Myles Munroe
AMOS levelled his attack at those living in complacency and luxury in both Israel and Judah. Great wealth and comfortable lifestyles may make people think they are secure, but God isn’t pleased if we isolate ourselves from others’ needs. God wants us to care for others as He cares for us. His Kingdom has no place for selfishness or indifference. We must learn to put the needs of others before our wants. Using our wealth to help others is one way to guard against pride and complacency.
If not because of the above explanation of the biblical verse – Amos 2:4 and most importantly; my meeting with a top Nigerian at Pfizer USA and perusing a copy of Dr Myles Munroe’s book- The Power of Character in Leadership (How Values, Morals. Ethics and Principles Affect Leadership); this writer wouldn’t have written this article.
Leaders stand for something – vision; leaders stand on something-values – Dr Myles Munroe.
The Chibok Girls were kidnapped on April 15, 2014. And if my memory serves me right, the awareness was gathering momentum albeit slowly. While at Kigali Serena Hotels on April 30, 2014; I do remember that while unpacking my luggage; I noticed Dr Oby Ezekwesili was in the BBC Studio. I stopped my chore (because I hadn’t read news items from home in several days) and took note of the fact that the Chibok Girls abduction had taken a global dimension with the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls trending. Watching the BBC that evening in Kigali, the Chibok Girls theme and hashtags was dominant.
When this writer returned to Lagos; the hashtag had snowballed with Nigerians and global personalities branding the #BringBackOurGirls’ banner. I simply read the articles and just kept my thoughts to myself. I kept my thoughts to myself; knowing what I had discovered about other African nations and how the governments of these nations operate. But two Nigerians asked this writer if he would write about the Chibok Girls; my response was; no because many people have written about it. But two incidences changed this writer position. One is the bible verse Amos 2:4.
And the other was an encounter I had with a Nigerian who is one of the top officials at PfizerUSA. As a Nigerian in his 50s and who has lived in America for over 25 years, he was passionate and still is; about Nigeria and his analysis of Nigeria’s dilemma was a bird’s eye view. He wondered why girls would be missing for such a long time and the body language of government officials while he was in Abuja was blasé. He wondered what kind of voters and system churned out this administration. This writer informed the Nigerian-American that writing about the Chibok Girls wasn’t going to happen.
And right there, he told me that, writers don’t have the obligation to keep mute. He made a valid analysis which I would paraphrase thus “Nigeria’s issues can be solved if only the middle class supported the poor. The poor have the numbers to protest when policies don’t favour them. But the protests can’t be prolonged if the middle class won’t support them. The Nigerian middle class is very comfortable with two-three foreign trips a year, a steady salary and a close door to the big man. Most Nigerian middle class only survive from the crumbs received from the big man who is either in government or has contacts in government. Therefore most Nigerian middle class don’t want anything to jeopardise their livelihood. But once the Middle Class can support the poor; the government would begin to listen. ”
The public didn’t know who their leaders really were-until the leaders became enmeshed in scandal – Dr Myles Munroe.
I won’t bore you with the fiasco of the Nigerian Army and her initial misinformation or the initial silence of the Federal Government or the deliberate attempt by some sponsored groups to scuttle the steady momentum of the organisers of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign led by Ezekwesili. Or the reports of the lamentation of soldiers about the unpreparedness of the soldiers even though N980 billion was budgeted for defence. And I won’t reiterate or bore you with what you must have heard and read in several articles on this Chibok crisis or the apparently new public relations strategy of the administration (writing pieces in global newspapers). It would appear the administration’s officials have found a reputable PR firm with global contact in the name of Levick.
Nigeria is a nation that is looked up by other African nations. You won’t have a clue until you visit other African nations. Nigeria is looked up to as a big brother. Being this writer’s first time to other African countries; I was proud of my Nigerianness and my passport (I wondered why any Nigerian would despise his/her green Nigerian passport). Alas, what happens when a BIG BROTHER keeps on making horrid mess of everything and keeps on giving read-made, ready-tailored, ready-scripted excuses for his gross ineptitudes and steady official gaffes? Your guess is as lucid as mine; for the younger brothers who looked up to their Big Brother would begin to disrespect the underachieving Big Brother in the full glare of the world.
That is why, Nigeria’s francophone neighbours wouldn’t listen to our officials but rather flew to Paris for a Security Meeting on West Africa (held in Paris, France) and it was there; these countries’ officials had any meaningful meeting with the Nigerian delegation headed by the President. From my observation; Nigeria was on the right track in the diplomatic arena until Dr Ashiru who was the Foreign Affairs minister was sacked without any concrete reason by the Jonathan Administration. I still can’t fathom why Dr Ashiru got the boot/unceremoniously sacked.
That is why the Ugandan Head of State, President Yoweri Museveni would state in disbelief and berate the current Nigerian administration headed by President Goodluck Jonathan; for calling on the United States to help him rescue the Chibok girls. In President Museveni’s words: “We have never called the United Nations to guard our security. Me, Yoweri Museveni to say that I have failed to protect my people and I call on the UN: I would rather hang myself. We prioritised national security by developing a strong Army; otherwise our Uganda would be like DRC, South Sudan, Somalia or Nigeria where militias have disappeared with school children.” He said, inviting foreign power would be a vote of no confidence in his government, if the state can’t guarantee security of the people.
That is why Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame (who doesn’t kowtow to the whims and caprices of the West) made this hard-hitting and sincerely blunt commentary. Don’t read his comments if you don’t have the guts to read the truth. For those who have read some of President Kagame’s speeches, you would concur that he tells you what several other African Presidents wouldn’t dare say. President Kagame went thus: “When I am watching television and I find that our leaders, who should have been working together all along to address these problems that only affect their countries, wait until they are invited to go to Europe to sit there and find solutions to their problems…it’s as if they are made to sit down and address their problems. Why does anybody wait for that? In fact, the image it gives is that we are not there to address these problems…they are (African leaders) happy to sit in Paris with the President of France and just talk about their problems.”
The Rwandan President went further: “It doesn’t make sense that our leaders cannot get themselves together to address problems affecting our people.” And he concluded by stating “African leaders, we don’t need to be invited anywhere to go and address our problems, without first inviting ourselves to come together to tell each other the actual truth we must tell each other,” he said.
On the 90th day of the Chibok Girls abduction; the Pakistani Girl rights activist Malala Yousafzai (who was the victim of an attempted assassination) by the Taliban in Pakistan visited President Goodluck Jonathan and watching her on previous several news platforms like AMANPOUR and the BBC; you would realise that Malala Yousafzai says it like it is.
In the global and diplomatic world and scheme of things; you don’t hope before you work. You put your house in order by being pragmatic and not being lackadaisical. This would invariably get the nation the much needed outcomes. The Chibok Girls have to be rescued and rehabilitated in all ramifications.
My questions are as follows; I am still labouring under a misapprehension, but it would appear that the picture compilation of the Chibok Girls was accomplished by Gordon Brown’s Team. If so, how was that possible? Malala was the first individual to extract a promise from the President to have a meeting with the Chibok girls parents. Where in the globe has a sitting President not visited a troubled spot in his/her territory 95days after the abduction? The president hadn’t been to Chibok or even met the girls’ parents until the 99th day; nine days after Malala visited him? Why is the government ratcheting up everything? Why not do what other well-run governments on the earth would do? Why all the clumsy gaffes that would make Frank Spencer appear serious-minded? Why the need for a billion dollars to fight Boko Haram? To fight and not to defeat? What has become of the budgeted funds for military defense -N980 billion? Hiring Levick Communications Trust to do her PR but what about the Special Assistants and Advisers on Media, Publicity et al? Would Levick do her job when the government isn’t doing her own job and how would Levick spin the government’s newest gaffe of detaining the #BringBackOurGirls’ convener, Ezekwesili on the 98th day of the abduction of the Chibok girls; who was on her way to attend a BBC HardTalk interview by the famous Stephen Sacker?
To be continued.
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