The Washington Post has criticised President Goodluck Jonathan over a campaign slogan in support of his re-election in 2015. In an editorial in the United States-based newspaper on Tuesday, titled, ‘This may be the most inappropriate political hostage of the year,’ it questioned the slogan’s similarity with that of the pressure group, Bring Back Our Girls, seeking the rescue of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted in April. Read Reuben Abati’s press release at the end of this post …
The article, in part, reads,
“It was the social media campaign of the year. #BringBackOurGirls awoke the world to the ravages of Boko Haram, an al-Qaeda-linked terror group in Nigeria, and the plight of the millions of people who live in the midst of their insurgency.
“At the heart of the message were hundreds of missing schoolgirls, abducted in April from the remote village of Chibok by Boko Haram fighters who vowed to turn them into slaves.
“The #BringBackOurGirls hostage channelled sympathy from abroad and local outrage and concern in Nigeria, with many angry at the government of President Goodluck Jonathan for being unable to free the captured women.”
The editorial argued that four months later, the girls have yet to be brought back, despite the efforts of the Nigerian military as well as US counter-terrorism forces deployed in neighbouring Chad. It further noted that more than 200 girls remain missing in suspected Boko Haram captivity, adding that others had “perished from snakebite, illness and deprivation in the wild.”
The Washington Post article underscored that the extremist Islamic sect had continued its slaughter in recent months, seizing more territory in the north-eastern side of the country.
“Over the weekend, it stormed towns along Nigeria’s border with Cameroon, killing dozens of innocent souls.
“Nigerian forces are now fighting Boko Haram in pitched battles around Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, the main hotbed of Boko Haram’s operations.
“The US reports that, at least, 1.5m people have been displaced by the conflict since Jonathan’s government declared a state of emergency in May,” It further said.
According to the editorial, while #BringBackOurGirls was just a brief cause celebre in the West — a passing moment to get morally exercised and then move on; it had a deeper meaning in Nigeria.
It further reads, “It echoed the larger frustrations of a society that has little faith in its political leadership. It is fed up with endemic corruption and wants genuine reform and better governance.
“Boko Haram is a fanatical, murderous outfit, but its insurgency gained sway in a region that has been historically marginalised and neglected by Nigeria’s central government.”
The post described Jonathan as seemingly indifferent towards the missing girls, saying his alleged indifference had hardly helped. The editorial added that in the early stages of the protests, the First Lady had reportedly had a number of #BringBackOurGirls activists detained.
“In this context, the new campaign slogan is particularly galling. Jonathan has not brought back the girls, yet his campaign expects Nigeria to bring him back to power. One wonders if it will spawn more rich satire among Nigerians on social media. After all, there’s plenty of precedent,” it said.
Read Reuben Abati’s press release on the issue below: