Anger over Boko Haram’s abduction of 234 girls

By IAfrica
In Nigeria
Apr 22nd, 2014
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Aregbesola, Fashola, NBA, seek action 

Protest in Ilorin

It was meant to be a ceremony for the presentation of a book. But yesterday’s event was not just that: it was an avenue to express feelings on the state of the nation, particularly the April 15 kidnapping of 234 school girls.

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola urged Nigerians to protest the abduction of the girls from their hostel Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State.

In Ilorin, women Muslims marched on the Governor’s Office to demand action on the fate of the girls.

Christians in the Northeast began a three-day fast and prayers for the safe return of the girls.

In Lagos, lawyers urged the Presidency to do its all in finding the girls.

Aregbesola spoke at the presentation of a book “Giant of History (The making of our world)”, authored by the Lagos State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, at the Civic Centre Lagos.

The governor, who was the keynote speaker, lamented that seven days after the abduction saga, it was frightening that there had been no lead as to the girls’ whereabouts.

“I’m so depressed about what is happening in the country and I do not know how to put it. I cannot understand the rationale behind the kidnapping of school girls. Girls who left their homes with the sole ambition of acquiring knowledge only to end up as companions to criminals. It is frightening,” he said.

In the governor’s view, Nigerians are gradually accepting kidnapping as a normal occurrence. The time has come for all to rise up and kick against the situation, he said, adding:

“I don’t even know what to say than to urge everybody to do anything humanly possible, collectively and individually, to put an end to this sad development. The Federal Government must rise up to this. Everyone in authority must act now. It is not only degrading us as a people, it is defaming us.

“As horrible as Afghanistan is, we never read of human beings abducted. We talk of no man’s land of West Afghanistan; such does not happen. Nigeria is heading to the level that does not recognise us as civilised people and human beings anymore and it is a shame.

“I should not have said this here, considering my position in the polity but what is my choice? When school children are being abducted in schools and we carry on as if it is mere statistics. It is not. We must protest on the streets to tell all of us that enough is enough.”

Aregbesola queried the relevance of titles political office holders’ bear, saying “Your Excellency” is unconstitutional.

“For Public office holders who got their mandate on popular electoral mandate, it is totally paradoxical to refer to them as ‘Your Excellency’. Where? This makes no sense but people just carry on and on. In Republican America, it is abnormal to refer to the president as ‘Your Excellency’. He is called ‘Mr. President’,” he said.

Aregbesola praised the author, saying youths and children will find the book more impactful as they can draw inspiration from the lives of great men who affected their generation in their time.

To Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola, the situation in the country raises the question of leadership challenge.

Fashola said the nation was suffering from “leadership vacuum”, stressing the need for Nigeria to harness its wealth of human resources to the places where it needed it most.

He also referred to the television commercial hailing the achievements of the Jonathan administration in terms of security and infrastructure, saying it is almost tantamount to “blasphemy”.

“If those people think everything is all right, then it must be two things; it is perhaps that they are watching the news on black and white television or they are reading the newspapers upside down.

“It is not you who will tell us that you are a great man; it is the people and we as governors who will tell you because we wear the shoes. When the rich and poor are crying out against insecurity,” Fashola said.

Fashola also praised the author for finding time to write the book, urging other public office holders to document their experience in service to fill the dearth of literature on public service.

All Progressive Congress (APC) National Leader Bola Ahmed Tinubu said the book presents leaders who provide inspiration for all.

Tinubu, who was represented at the event by the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, stressed that it was important to record the achievements of these leaders and the role they played in the actualisation of their various objectives.

He said the time has come for Nigeria to identify her local leaders and honor them.

“We should recall the things they have done and record it for future generation. This book identifies leaders that have been recorded in history, but we must begin to recognise our own leaders and draw inspiration from them particularly in the Southwest region,” Tinubu said.

Chairman, MTN Nigeria Pascal Dozie, who was chairman, urged leaders to do their best in the service of the people rather than primitively accumulating wealth.

Dozie said great leaders were not remembered by their acquisitions but by how much impact they made on the lives of their people.

He urged leaders to preoccupy themselves with ideas and strategies that would bring about development in their societies.

Bok reviewer Tade Ipadeola said the publication chronicled how the ideas of some 150 great men shaped the world.

He urged Nigerians to draw inspiration from the book and begin to think about development like Albert Einstein, Nelson Mandela and other great men featured in the publication.

Also present were Mr Gbenga Adefaye, immediate past president, Nigerian Guild of Editors and Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye of the University of Lagos.

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