The manner we speak and act, or better still, the utterances some of us make, makes me doubt if they have the interest of Nigeria at heart. While citizenship is bestowed at birth, patriotism is earned at a matured age. Our undoing does not lie in the fact that some of us are unpatriotic- far from it, for we are long aware of this trend- but in the fact that our unpatriotic citizens are the so-called elder statesmen who still smuggle their ways to the top (no thanks to corruption and nepotism) and lend their voice as our voices. They speak so crudely, and are governed by sentiments in their submissions and contributions, that they little care whether their statements touch on our oneness as a nation. Recently, a group called the Northern Elders Forum gave the president an ultimatum to find the abducted Chibok girls or risk his presidential ambition. Is there any sense in that?

To begin with, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria knows or ought to know that with or without any ultimatum, finding the Chibok girls is his responsibility as the president and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. It is taking too long, as we may impatiently say, but putting our patience aside, what tangible thing is our government doing towards rescuing the abducted girls? Well, if at all they are doing something, we would have known, as our government is not one that hides its achievements or decisions. Besides, they even tell us those things that are not as though they were. With the threat pose by Ebola, everywhere was quite for some while concerning the Chibok girls, and we had thought that the government itself was distracted, not until when this ultimatum was issued. For all intents therefore, I believe the ultimatum to find and rescue our abducted girls is nothing more than a reminder to the presidency that though the Ebola plague is taking its time, attention and resources, our girls are dying daily.

From another perspective, one wonders the sincerity with which the northern elders issued that ultimatum. Were they actually concerned with the safety and welfare of the abducted girls or the presidential ambition of Mr. Jonathan? Would their issuance of the ultimatum make him more serious than he is already? If at best, the ultimatum would serve as a reminder for him as we earlier posited, then of what use is the additional threat? Or are they saying that Mr. Jonathan considers his presidential ambition of utmost priority than our welfare? From whichever angle this is looked at, I believe that no group has the power or moral competence to threaten a president to do what he ought to do only for the singular fact that it appears he is not doing enough? Besides, the Chibok abduction is something that appears to be complicated and so, every knot intricately tied has to be loosed in order to arrive at the bottom line, notwithstanding the report of the presidential committee on the abduction of the chibok girls.

On a final note, since when has it become the responsibility of a group of people to determine whether or not someone will win the presidential election in this country? To the best of my knowledge, Nigerians reserve the right to vote for any candidate of their choice at any given time, and in any election. Northern Elders Forum is just a group of retired workers or in a larger sense, aged northerners, and thus, not even the voice of the North- except if the north is just but a composition of old people. To this end, Nigerians alone can determine whether or not Jonathan will win at the 2015 polls should he contest, not any forum or region. Till then, bringing back our girls should be a top priority of our government.

About the Author:
 Author Photo Bandawa writes from Abuja, Nigeria. You can follow on twitter @NBandawa