The All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the presidency of manipulating the release of the abducted Chibok girls to boost its approval ratings and improve public opinion about him.
The opposition alleged in a statement released on Sunday, that whatever efforts the government was making to secure the girls’ release were being done in the best interest of the government itself.
National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said in the statement that the federal seemed to have been assured that the girls would be released and therefore arranged an elaborate publicity event in New York while President Goodluck Jonathan was there for the UN General Assembly.
The event which several top notch international media had been invited for, according to the APC, was billed for the five-star Pierre Hotel in Manhattan, close to the UN Headquarters.
“Nigerians will remember that on 23 Sept., the military announced, on Twitter, the imminent release of the girls, only to retract the statement shortly thereafter. In the intervening period, thousands of ‘supporters’ of the President had gathered at the Pierre Hotel to welcome the President after the release of the girls, while media interviews had been booked for him,” said Mohammed in the statement.
He noted that an event of such class would have been seriously planned for and everyone expected there must have been given heads up on when to show up, which “was timed to also coincide with President Jonathan’s speech to the UN General Assembly on the following day – Sept. 24th – and to secure maximum advantage for the government.”
The statement noted however that the plan did not work out and it apparently hurt the presidency whose plan was to take full advantage of the moment.
The party therefore condemned what it called the shameless politicization of the plight of the Chibok girls.
“What should be paramount is securing the release of the girls as soon as possible, not securing their release to fit with a schedule that benefits Goodluck Jonathan politically. For the girls, their parents and indeed all good people of Nigeria, this abduction saga has been a nightmare. It is time for it to end,” the statement said.
It wondered why the government was now sending its cronies to negotiate with the Boko Haram to secure the release of the Chibok girls when its incompetence led to their abduction in the first place; more so, at the early stages of their abduction when there were calls for the government to negotiate their release, the government had not taken action.
The party however stated that “We believe the government should do whatever it takes to secure the safe release of the girls. We believe nothing is too much to do to get the girls back home safely and bring the much-needed relief to their parents and families. But we suspect the government’s sudden efforts, which is undoubtedly aimed at giving a boost to President Jonathan’s candidacy for next year’s presidential election.”