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Wither The Chibok Girls …632 Days Still In Captivity

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Buhari and Lai Mohammed

Buhari and Lai Mohammed

By today, the 219 Chibok schoolgirls abducted from their school in Chibok, Borno State would have spent 632 days in captivity. In all, they were 276 but 57 of them were said to have escaped, leaving 219 whose whereabout still remains unknown.
Strangely, public agitation for the return of the girls seems to have abated to such extents that it is safe to say, the girls may have been forgotten. It should not be so, because as a Rwandan diplomat was once quoted as asking: “Can a country give- up her girls? In Rwanda, children are a ‘pearl’, when you lose it you search for it until you find, even if it is under your dead body. A girl is the ‘‘future of humanity.”
Writing in the Guardian of Wednesday, December 9, 2015, an activist, Dolapo Aina lamented “600 days later, one year plus 235 days, 276 Chibok girls abducted, 57 escaped, 219 still missing, not rescued. Not a good scorecard for the Buhari- led administration.”
Some may consider Aina’s seeming indictment of Buhari’s government a little too harsh but a leader must be judged by his own words, promises and indeed avowments. Rescuing the Chibok girls in a timely fashion was one of Buhari’s promises to the nation of which many Nigerians preferred him to his opponent, then incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
In campaign after campaign, the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaigners led by a former minister under the Obasanjo Presidency, threw invectives at the administration of the day for ‘doing nothing’ to bring back the girls. Rescuing the ‘Chibok girls’ thus became one of the defining issues of the 2015 Presidential elections, with virtually all odds favouring Buhari.
Even so, not many believed that the ‘Bring Back Our Girls,’ activists were an appendage of the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and that the group was indeed being funded by the party. In fact, the group garnered so much public sympathy that eventually turned into the open demonisation of President Jonathan.
On its part, the APC described Jonathan as an incompetent Commander-in-Chief who knew little or nothing about warfare and so could not be depended upon to rescue the Chibok girls. To them, hoping that the Jonathan administration could rescue the girls was a tall order which could never come to fruition.
As it stands today, they are right. This is because 412 days passed under that government’s watch without bringing back the girls. In fact, despite the repeated assurances that efforts were being made to rescue the girls, apart from the 57 that escaped, not a girl was rescued.
To make the needed difference,  Buhari’s APC promised that it would not only wipe our Boko Haram within days but that it would bring back the girls alive. Upon assumption of office, the party might have forgotten the number of Nigerians who voted for it, for that singular promise.
Thousands of young people, mothers and indeed parents and guardians built their hopes around the Buhari Presidency, in hope that the girls would be rescued.
That hope was strengthened by the repeated assurances by the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaigners that only a change of government could make the rescue of the girls possible. Even when it was revealed that the supposed child right activists, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and Human Rights Crusaders’ were indeed politicians, and their campaigns politically driven, many Nigerians stuck to their belief in change to make the difference.
Added to that was the military pedigree of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who as former Head of State, was once a Commander-in-Chief. It was the belief that as a trained soldier, blessed with superior intelligence, more robust charisma and strength of character, he was more likely to evoke in Nigerian troops extra loyalty necessary to identify the location of the girls and indeed rescue them, within days.
Upon assumption of office, the Commander-in-Chief kept the people’s hope alive when he assured that the girls would be brought back unhurt. Infact, presidency sources hinted that the administration had identified where the children were being held but that troops were being careful not to endanger their lives through an ill-planned rescue attempt.
Administration officials even went a step further to assure that they were willing to negotiate with Boko Haram insurgents for the release of the girls, implying that something was being done. Many Nigerians went agog in praise, highlighting the marked differences, between the Jonathan Presidency and that of the Buhari administration with the required military credential.
But as the days drag on to weeks and weeks to months, the campaigns are waning. Some of the campaigners, left out in consideration for juicy federal jobs are counting their losses, apparently regretting being too forward.
It is exactly 211 days under Buhari’s watch. None can still tell where the girls are. If they are dead or alive. If they have been turned into killer machines to threaten society as suicide bombers. If they are indeed in the country or not.
Government officials have repeatedly dismissed the suggestion that some of them might have been so radicalised, they could be danger to society. And have repeatedly promised that the girls would soon be home, hale and hearty, because the needful was being done.
But that was months ago. Two hundred and eleven days today, not yet a word from the Commander-in-Chief about the fate of the Chibok girls. It seems the incompetence, the APC accused the Jonathan Presidency of, has been inherited in good measure by the Buhari government, even with all the military background and combat expertise.
It seems they are beginning to understand that hostage rescue is indeed a different aspect of military warfare that requires tact, high intelligence, military precision, combat alertness and indeed superior fire power.
They must have come to the realisation that those are not issues that should ever be politicised, because politics, campaigns of calumny and indeed vilification of opponents on these scores are indeed vain attempt at righting wrongs.
The distractions which politicisation of those issues, caused the Jonathan government were huge, destructive and counter-productive. And for a President seeking re-election, they were indeed disastrous, divisive and injurious.
They also culminated in the eventual fall of that administration. This is why many are worried that even without that kind of politics being played with the issues, as was with the past government, not a meaningful success has been recorded on that score. The children are still missing. Their whereabouts still unknown. Their current strength unknown, the state of their health unknown, when they would be rescued, totally unknown. And it is 211 days under Buhari’s watch.
While the troops deserve the full commendation of Nigerians for battling Boko Haram insurgents to a standstill, like Dolapo Aina lamented, it’s “not a good scorecard for the Buhari-led administration,” that the Chibok girls have still not been rescued, with all the assurances during the pre-election campaigns.
My Agony is that the lot that championed, the ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ campaign, the now ruling APC government, with promises to rescue the girls, once in power, seems bereft of positive ideas necessary to discharge itself from the accused box of failure. As was in the past.
That is why Abraham Lincoln once warned, “we must not promise what we ought not, lest we be called on to perform what we cannot.”

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Our Legacy’ll Leave Lasting Impression On Rivers People -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has assured that his administration will collaborate and continue to consult widely in delivering a liberated State experiencing enduring peace.
Fubara said, in doing so, he would not operate as a dictator but as a member of a team that has the best interest of the State at heart and determined to leave a lasting legacy that can be celebrated.
The governor spoke during the formal presentation of Certificate of Recognition and Staff of Office to the Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, King Ateke Michael Tom, as first class tradition ruler, at Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Fubara stated that, during the Sixth State Executive Council meeting, N80.8billion was approved with 50 percent contract value paid already as the Government awarded the construction of the Elele-Egbeda-Omoku Road.
He said the project will be funded from the savings from Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) to underscore his administration’s prudence without also borrowing to complete the project.
“We are at a crossroad in our State where we all need to stand for what is right. It happens once in a life time. So, for now, be one of those people that will be in the course to liberate and free our dear State.
“And I know strongly that having the support of a peace-loving Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, having the support of the wonderful Council of Chiefs, having the support of the great people of Rivers State, we will bring peace in our State. We will do those things that are right to develop our State.
“We will continue to consult. We will not act as dictators. We will act as people who know that one day, we will leave, and when we leave, the way we have acted will speak for us. We will not force people to talk good about us. Our legacy will be a signature for how we led”, the governor said.
Fubara explained that he acted within the ambit of the law to upgrade the traditional stool upon which King Ateke Tom sits in recognition of his efforts in promoting peace in Okrika, and indeed, the State, and urged him to continue to do justice to everyone.
In his speech, Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Hon Charles Amadi, congratulated King Ateke Tom for being formally presented with the Certificate of Recognition and Staff of Office as first class traditional ruler.
Also speaking, former Transport Minister, Chief Abiye Sekibo, thanked the governor for fulfilling his promise of upgrading the traditional stool of Okochiri Kingdom, and pledged the support of Kirike Se people to his administration.

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We’re Determined To Leave Legacy Of Quality Education -Fubara

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has promised to give the best attention to the education sector so that standard and quality learning will never be compromised in the State.
The governor emphasised that in achieving such legacy, schools in the State will be driven with a curriculum that will equip school-aged children to become competitive, innovative and self-reliant.
Governor Fubara made the assertion while inaugurating the Governing Council of Rivers State University at Government House in Port Harcourt on Wednesday.
He said: “There is a lot of noise everywhere: people asking what we are doing; that we are not focused, and that we don’t have direction.
”But I want to tell the world that we are focused and aware that we cannot grow if our energies are not channeled to education. Not just education, but purposeful education.
”Education that is creative. Education that gives you independence. We have left the era in the world when you speak too much grammar. We are in such times when it is what you can do with your hands.
”Our purpose for education is that we should bring back our academic programmes to where, at the end of your studies, you don’t need a job but you create jobs. When one creates a job, you automatically employ others. That is what I want this council to see as their task.”
Governor Fubara noted the non-existence of public secondary schools for the male child in the Diobu axis of Port Harcourt.
He said such negligence leaves children in that area who have completed primary education, and whose parents cannot afford sending them to far away secondary schools, to roam the streets, and therefore becoming willing tools for criminality.
Governor Fubara assured that such fundamental problem will be addressed by his administration as a measure to curb the negative impression associated with Diobu axis of Port Harcourt.
The governor said he trusts in the capacity of the members of the Governing Council of Rivers State University to bring about positive change in the institution while also contributing their quota to improving the general education standard in the State.
”I charge you, not just in terms of administering the affairs of the university, but let us add something different from the normal things that we already have to see new things.”
In her response, on behalf of the other members, the Pro-Chancellor of the Governing Council of Rivers State University, Justice Mary Odili (rtd), thanked the governor for finding them worthy to serve in such capacity.
Justice Odili assured they will work assiduously as a team to solve the problems that agitate the mind of the governor and ensure their contributions form part of the legacy that will be bequeathed by his administration.
The members included Justice Mary Odili (rtd) as the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council with Barrister Mela Oforibika and Chukwuma Chinwo, Esq.
Others were Adata Bio-Briggs, Esq., Dr. Jonathan Nimi Hart, Ngo Martins-Yellowe, Dr. Nancy Nwankwo, Dr. Igoni William-Park, and Mr. Ogbugbu Barisua.

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Fubara, Others Eulogise Rivers First Lady’s Mother

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Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, his Deputy, Prof Ngozi Odu, and key stakeholders of the State on Wednesday paid glowing tributes at the Service of Songs held in honour of late Mrs Adeline Jaja, mother of the wife of the Governor, Lady Valerie Fubara, at St. Andrew’s Anglican Church, Mile 1, Diobu, Port Harcourt.
Speaking at the event, Governor Fubara described his late mother-in-law as a great and visionary woman who lived on truth and conviction in what she believes.
“Mama was a great woman. She wasn’t a materialistic person. When she believes in you, she’ll be all out for you. She stood for me. I feel pained that, like my own mother, she left at this moment.
”Mama believed so much in God, and the wonders of God. I thank everyone, particularly the Church. On behalf of the bereaved family, we will support the Church to immortalise her name,” the Governor said.
In his homily, Vicar of the Church, Ven. A. A. Ijon-Ama, who spoke on the gains of death, said physical departure from earth was not an ultimate end but an opening for higher and permanent gain and perfection.
He pointed out that when a man has a good relationship with God, he stands to gain more in death.
Ven. Ijon-Ama described late Mrs. Adeline Jaja as a devout Christian, who exuded deep sense of hospitality, and endowed with accommodating spirit, noting that she will be greatly missed by all.
The Vicar, who prayed for the repose of the soul of Mrs Adeline Jaja, also solicited for Divine fortitude for the family to bear the great loss, and called for the immortalisation of the deceased to keep her good legacies alive.
Some family members, who spoke at the Service of Songs, extolled the virtues of the deceased, describing her as “a great community leader, counsellor, peace maker, and caring mother, who provided for the needy, and participated actively in Church activities.
Highlights of the event were special prayers for the bereaved family, conducted by the Anglican Bishop of Evo Diocese, Rt. Rev. Innocent Ordu; remarks by key family members, choir ministration, among others.

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