All over the world, there is considerable consensus that democracy is the best form of government. While some applaud its people-oriented nature, others are attracted to the freedom it gives to every individual in society.
Last week, however, the group was stopped from moving into the Presidential Villa—a location from where the man they voted to rule operates. Their mission was to intimate their president in person with their viewpoint on the subject of the safe return of the Chibok School girls abducted since April. It could not have been President Goodluck Jonathan who authorized their stoppage, having asserted at another event that he was on the same page as the protesters. According to the media, the president told a national conference on environmental security in Abuja that the policy of bringing back the adopted girls safely remained his priority. In the words of President Jonathan: “As an elected official, I want to solve the problem of the Chibok girls. It is a priority on my-to-do list as president.” Jonathan was quoted to have added that: “I agree with the #Bring BackOurGirls campaigners, especially for piling up pressure on us on the issue”. If so, why were members of the group stopped from interacting with the nation’s Number One citizen who can pass for a member of the team by association? We are therefore, dissatisfied with the two main groups — female ministers and security operatives who did it.
As for the second group, that is, the security operatives, they were as usual overzealous last Tuesday in stopping the protesters from seeing Mr President. What our law enforcement agents should have done was to have escorted the protesters to their destination, while ensuring no breakdown of law and order. If they had done that, the team would have delivered their message and would have received assurances from President Jonathan of the commonality of interests of both parties. The team would then have returned to their BBOG centre leaving many Nigerians to see their president as a caring leader. Instead, the opportunity was again botched as was done earlier when government lost the gains of getting the president to visit Chibok and empathize with the people. When is it in order for the mountain to move to Mohammed?
It is not impossible that our security operatives are yet to overcome the hang-over of the military era which criminalized public dissent and in which people were whipped to fall in line. It is, however, time to appropriately sensitize them on the need to depart from those days of tyranny and dispense with the mundane requirements of the obnoxious Public Order Act. One security “expert” the other day supported the stoppage of the protest because he imagined that government had said over and over again that it was doing its best on the Chibok abduction issue. Pity, the expert did not know that saying something many times does not mean everyone would hear or assimilate it. What is more, security is not a viable alternative to effective communication