Nigeria: May Your Daughter Be Abducted - The Chibok Girls
A man went to a party and drank some of the punch. He then left early. Everyone else at the party who drank the punch subsequently died of poisoning. Why did the man not die?
It's a simple riddle by my reckoning, one which I will answer by the end of this admonition.
It is now over 12 days since over 200 girls were abducted from their school in a place called Chibok, faraway in Borno state, the stronghold of insurgent terrorist group Boko Haram.
As it is with our DNA and genes, to our leaders across political affiliations it is an issue to engage in political basketbal free pointing. We have engaged in the propriety of whether Mr. President should go a dancing while the girls remain unaccounted for--While All Peoples Congress chieftain Tom Ikimi celebrate his birthday with fanfare.
In faraway US, a mother hadn't seen her daughter in well over a decade, her heart bleeds as she see pictures of scores of schoolgirls on the news with the words "Still Missing" underneath it.
She knows the pain, you and I do not truly care or know, we don't know where chibok is, I have heard people retort, "I thought schools were supposed to be closed", I have listened to women in Borno threaten Jonathan and the federal government.
I watched helplessly as an extended security meeting, one with the usual suspects do nothing than exchange banters. The fact being the daughters of Chibok are not theirs. The schoolgirls are no royal blood like the Sultan or religious lineage like Oristejefor.
What have we done, for all intent and purpose--NOTHING! Today there's no crisis room, read four reports and its four different stories, the latest being Boko Haram threatens to kill the girls if the search continues, or that they have moved the girls to another location.
We have argued about figures of girls that escaped or are still missing. In 2014, we don't even have pictures of these girls or full names. Indicting is how the international media is first to get access to the girls who escaped or parents in pain, while National Television regales with an azonto of one leg from APC to PDP to APC.
All these because the last time you and I checked our kids and siblings were well nestled in bed or in front of the television or 'holidaying' with uncle in Abuja and not awol in some dark evil Sambisa forest.
I recall recently a friend lost the daughter, he told me, "after my daughter's funeral I was going through my phone deleting all the condolence messages. There were so many of them that I simply selected 'delete all,' but one message didn't delete. It was the last message my daughter left me before she passed and it was marked as 'new.'
Sometimes my voicemail forces me to listen to messages before I can delete them, so played it. She said, “Hey dad, I just wanted to let you know I'm okay and I'm home now.”
Its only people that are well, okay and home that engage on social media campaign like this "To Mum, she's an Angel! To Dad, a Princess! To Brothers, a Priceless Jewel,To Sisters, a Best Friend! To Aunties and Uncles an Adorable Sweet Child! I am certain everyone reading this has one! A girl child, a joy to the world! To be pampered, protected and loved! Over 200 of this precious ones abducted and taken away from their loved ones, forced to become Sex Slaves,Cooks, Maids, and every unimaginable thing to Dark, Evil, Demented, Dirty TERRORISTS! What a Tragedy! Yes, they seem far away in Borno born to Poor Ordinary People BUT just like you, to them these gals are Princesses, Angels, Priceless Jewels and Sweet Adorable Nieces! Don't be numb to the Pain. 7days and counting and still no word! No Daily Progress Report or any kind of info from the Govt! This is unacceptable! I cannot launch a Rescue Mission and neither can you but our Government can! The buck stops at their table! Let's come together and demand Action. Please rebroadcast and mount the pressure. It works! Say a prayer and keep talking about it Until the Federal Govt takes action and brings them home! Don't do it for me, do it for the Girl Child in your life!"
Sadly all these are a shake of emotion, who says we can't launch a rescue mission, I know of one such effort, after all how many can Boko Haram kill, who told us that government would act beyond the current action. We really don't care. Forget all that protest in Port Harcourt/Lagos/Ibadan etc.
The fact is imagine if 1000 men and women, young and old each were mobilized from 30 states that would be 30,000 and we all headed to that forest in Sambisa, I need not tell us the result. Call me naïve, call us insane, but I am not a dramatic clown who would cry/wail/ and make noise on the floor of the legislative house in Abuja and do nothing. After all its the same nation we all make noise that 1,2,4,9 and 11 million are jobless. Give them catapult and let's all go a boko hunting and get our daughters back, if we turned out in thousands for non-existant immigration jobs, let's do same for a cause.
If we don't know the pain, I know a Chinese mother, a month and a half later, she still carries her phone everywhere she goes, and hopes her daughter will call. She was one of the passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
Tomorrow, the girls maybe found, and we may run from it, another possibility is, that may be the end. I heard someone whisper "Allah forbid". Truth is the trauma of the parents cannot be imagined/narrated, its best experienced and again I hear "God forbid".
All because our daughters are holed up in some safe UK/US school, in my heart, we cannot reconcile that as a nation we have failed to protect ourselves. Boko Haram over three years, have been burning schools, killing teachers and abducting children, we waited for Chibok, which may not be the last.
Nigerians have a short memory span, soon we will forget, like we have forgotten the ones killed in Yobe schools, we always forget after all the noise--may your daughter be abducted, its not a prayer, its not a wish, but when Tinubu's or Maku's daughter is abducted, we will know that Chibok is not a place but a part of us.
The insurgents have like the man at the party, drank, poisoned the drink and we are fighting ourselves--when will we or will we ever conquer: only time will tell.
Prince Charles Dickson