Recently, the Peoples Democratic party (P.D.P) tried to make political gain out of a statement credited to Chief Audu Ogbeh, that some members of the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) campaigners are members of all All Progressive Congress (APC). Further, the PDP claimed that the presence of Hadiza Bala Usman one of the coordinators of BBOG campaigners at the presidential election declaration of Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja finally put a seal to that assertion.
The above and other similar attempts to vilify the BBOG campaigners is not only bizarre but indeed ridiculous. First, it must be made crystal clear that the 1999 constitution of Nigeria guarantees every citizen the right to Freedom of Association. The fact that a person belongs to an association that is urging the Federal Government to take steps to rescue innocent and defenceless citizens who were abducted by militant insurgents does not in anyway preclude them from belonging to a political party of their choice.
An adjunct to this is to point out that there is nothing also wrong for a citizen to belong to an opposition party. In civilized countries like America and Britain both the ruling parties now and the opposition parties have at one time or the other reversed their roles either as the government in power or the opposition party.Indeed the PDP is one of the opposition parties in Lagos State, Ogun State, Edo State, Oyo State, Anambra State, Imo State, Rivers State, kwara State, Osun State and Kano State to mention but a few.
Another important point to note is that the 1999 constitution guarantees every citizen the right to freedom of speech. The BBOG campaigners have not done anything wrong by exercising this right when they continually ask the federal authorities to act and rescue these girls. Drawing from the above, the laughable attempt by some spin-doctors to castigate the campaigners clearly stands reason and logic on its head.
Again, before these spin-doctors and propagandists deceive the gullible within the citizenry, it must be stated clearly that what the BBOG campaigners are doing is right, good and should be commended. Since the PDP government was elected to protect the citizens of Nigeria and provide for their welfare, it is wrong foranybody to criticize them for urging the federal government to carry out its constitutional duties. While the federal Government sees the action of these campaigners as an irritant, the campaign has brought many advantages with it. Since the campaign, no major abduction like those of Chibok girls has taken place again. Also major super powers like America, Britain and France and indeed the entire world’s attention has been drawn to the Nigerian Insurgency. The safe school initiative championed by former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is another gain from the campaign.
Recall that during the reign of the military dictator, Field Marshall Idi Amin Dada in Uganda, some Isreali citizens were hijacked in an air plane and kept in Uganda against their will. The Isreali Government carried out a major , well- planned, well-coordinated and well-executed military offensive to rescue its abducted citizens. In what is now known as the famous “90 Minutes At Entebe”, the isreali military and intelligence service in a move that made its citizens proud and raised nationalism and patriotism to an all time high, rescued all its citizens with only two casualties.
The PDP Federal Government should stop engaging in empty propaganda and discharge its constitutional duties to the citizens accordingly. They would have achieved so much in bringing the insurgency to an end if they had used the energy, time and resources channeled towards fighting the peaceful BBOG campaigners who are mainly mothers and women in addressing the menace of insurgency. As they continue to throw brick – bats at these campaigners, Nigerians are keenly watching and would not be taken for a ride. As a former American President once said, “You can fool some of the people all the time, all the people some of the time, but not all the people all the time.”
Article written Aham Njoku a Lawyer..
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