Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekewsili has been a resounding voice in the campaign for the return of the Chibok girls since the incidence happened.
Disappointed at how quickly society moved on when 29 boys were slaughtered by Boko Haram, Oby decided to act when the Chibok girls were abducted a few months later.
Using her social media platforms, Oby Ezekewsili has not given up in her fight until all the girls return back to their parents.
In a chat with Against the Odds with Peace Hyde, Oby Ezekwesili shares her inspirational nerve-breaking story.
The outrage for me was deep. I saw it by virtue of a tweet and it had over 100 school girls taken from a secondary school in Borno state, Nigeria and I responded to them and said, “verified?” Then I followed with the second tweet and said, “I hope this story is not true?” this is very disturbing, I just hope the government can speak quickly on this.
And then I continued to tweet because I got agitated. My thoughts were swelling with a lot of anxiety. And now I say to people that what was going on with me at that time was the unleashing of the frustration that I felt when February of the same year, 29 boys had been slaughtered at the Federal Government College, Boniyadi and they were burnt and their shed remains were put on the internet and it was a school that I had known because I had been Minister of Education.
There was nothing about the parents of these children, nobody told us, just numbers and society was just moving on. So, it was too painful for me. I never thought I would see a Nigeria where that would be a normal thing. We have normalized the abnormal, so, when I moved on, I didn’t realize that I felt a sense of disappointment even in myself.
It was not up to two months after, Chibok girls became victims. The same people that had done that gruesome act to Boniya the boys, went to the school and carried these girls, so when I saw that news, I was like, “no, not again.”
So, if you check my timeline on twitter from that 15th when that news broke up on till today, its been about Chibok girls because I said I’m putting a marker on the sand, this time around, I am not moving on, this society must act fast to dignify the lives of her citizens especially the ones that we send off to school.
The basis of greatness of nations is not what they have under their soil, the basis of the greatness of nations is what the citizens have in the mind and brain. It’s about the human capital of a people. So, how come we have such disregards for the lives of our people especially our children.
I saw death during the civil wars, we didn’t learn any lessons and we’re saying that the dignity of the human lives continues to mean nothing to us, we’re ready to pretend that nothing is happening and for me, Chibok girls resonated.
Part of the educational reforms when I was still the minister of education was too narrow the gap between girls in school and the boys in school and the zone in Nigeria with the least number of girls in school is the north-east zone, was and still is and our reform had focused on achieving more girls in school.
So, a young woman at that time, Aisha Waziri Umar was my team leader for doing that part of reform for us. It was focused on Borno State, Yobe, And Adamawa State. And I was thinking to myself, so some of these initiatives encouraging parents to send their girls to school, then these girls go to school and are taken by terrorists and the country wants to pretend like nothing happened and I said, there’s no way I’m going to be a part of a society that will do that and I decided that I was going to continue to talk.