Monday Musings: Bring Back Our Women


It’s been 1001 days. Let me spell it out – ONE THOUSAND AND ONE DAYS! Our popular Chibok girls have been away from the love of family and friends for over a thousand days. Parents have been left to use past memories to remember their little girl’s smile for over a thousand days. Little girls that had genuine ambitions of dreams. Little girls whose fathers’ primary concerns right now should be the best menacing look to put on when their boyfriends comes over to visit. Not waking up in the middle night and wondering whose bed his daughter is keeping warm at that moment. Little girls that never got to say goodbye to their mamas.

When the 276 Chibok girls were initially kidnapped, there was a global outcry that rivalled any the world had ever seen. Social media discussions and trends and hashtags were saturated with talks of #BringBackOurGirls. Foreign parliaments dedicated precious minutes discussing the issue. I suspect the Boko Haram sect must have been unprepared, unsure and consequently scared by the wide coverage the abduction received. I made it a personal mission to retweet every meaningful post about the campaign I saw. I was dedicated. I was. Keyword is was. Like everybody else, both government leader and normal civic members, life happened to us. We had bosses to please, we had bills to pay, we had crushes to daydream of, we had goals that need to be met, social media had viral videos to be laughed at. Life moved on for us. But not for the kidnapped girls and their parents.

One of the key campaign promises that solidified the Buhari-Osibanjo ticket was their promise to rescue ALL the girls. Twenty months after being elected, they have been (debatably) responsible for only the rescue of 21 out of 276 girls. Roughly 7 percent. So much for promise of ALL. An initial zeal by the government for the girls have been dissipated and it is obvious that safely bringing the kidnapped girls back to their parents is not a priority for this government. With an intelligence and defence department as beefy as Nigeria’s, it befuddles the mind to think that bringing girls back home is an impossibility but it takes us fewer than 48 hours to safely rescue the kidnapped mother of a minister. Quite simply, there are more important expedient things for our politicos. But not for the kidnapped girls and their parents.

Both kidnapped girls and affected parents must have their hearts bursting with hope when a favourite presidential candidate made their issue his issue and then he actually went on to win the election. And did we mention that he is a seasoned military general and strategist. But just like the false hope that the global outcry provided then, their hope was swiftly turned into suffocating despair. How can a government play with the hopes of a vulnerable family by promising a reunion it couldn’t bring to fruition. The girls must have waited as days turned into weeks and then into months for their knight in flowing dashiki to come in and take them back home. Alas! the wait continues.

Maybe by now they have accepted their fate as their reality. Maybe they are facing the truth they feel everybody is facing but blocking their eyes to. A mother might be hoping that the few life lessons she was able to pass on to her daughter will be able to get her through life for the rest of her life – if her life still exists. A big brother might be looking forward to finding closure by giving his next daughter the same name as his kidnapped sister’s. Rescue might never come if we are judging by the past two years, so like my favourite uncle always says “Always make the best of all situations, whether awesome or terrible.”

But it is the same uncle that also always says “You can’t safely drive a car forward if you are always looking at the rearview mirror.” So maybe we need to switch focus and stop looking at the past. Let us concentrate on what we can do today and plan on what can be done by tomorrow. I confess that I am just an analytic and have no proficiency in the art of battle and rescue missions. But if I were to be elected President today, I will actively engage international powers for the prompt recovery of the girls. I will engage the locals in the region in constant active dialogue because the locals have the best intelligence reports. I will stop telling the public that I am interested in negotiating with the terrorists but will actually negotiate with the terrorists. I will make the rescue a priority over attending presidential inaugurations and conferences in other nations. I will give the affected parties renewed hope and I will live up to that promise. It almost sounds like I’m giving a presidential manifest. Maybe the government is doing that already. All signs don’t point towards that though. All signs only point towards the fact that our girls need to be brought back. Or after being over a thousand days older now, it might be right to say Our Women Need To Be Brought Back!

Photo Credit: Getty

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