Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State on Monday said former President Goodluck Jonathan did not call him until after 19 days after the abduction of over 200 schoolgirls from the Government Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, in 2014.
No fewer than 259 schoolgirls were abducted by Boko Haram militants from their hostel in GSS, Chibok, on April 14, 2014 as they prepared for their West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examinations.
A few of the girls managed to escape from the terrorists, who were said to have dressed like military men and loaded the girls into trucks and headed for an unknown destinations.
Over 219 of the girls are yet to be rescued since the unfortunate incident.
Shettima, however, said Jonathan, who was the President at the time of the mass abduction, only called him on the kidnapping about three weeks after the incident, which generated global outrage at the time.
The Borno State governor said this while receiving former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the Government House, Maiduguri, after the ex-President arrived at the state capital on a two-day visit.
Obasanjo was on a visit to Borno on the invitation of the University of Maiduguri as part of the institution’s 40th anniversary celebration.
Trying to draw a comparison between the leadership style of Obasanjo and Jonathan, Shettima believed Obasanjo would have handled the issue of the kidnapping differently were he to be the nation’s President at the time.
He stated, “In our own case, Your Excellency, after the Chibok abduction of over 200 schoolgirls in April, 2014, it took 19 days for me to receive a call from the Presidency. I brought this mainly to show the difference, because we will only appreciate scenarios when we make comparisons.”
The governor recalled that the current Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, who was a top member of the All Progressives Congress in 2014, hailed Obasanjo’s leadership qualities in a conversation after the mass abduction.
Shettima added, “I was actually lamenting to him on governance at the federal level with relations to the poor handling of the Boko Haram insurgency.
“Chief Ogbeh said, ‘Look, I might have had some political differences with President Olusegun Obasanjo but to say it as it is, if Obasanjo had been President while this insurgency is happening in Borno and other parts of the North-East, you would have witnessed what responsive leadership entails’.”
Shettima noted that Obasanjo’s visit on Monday marked the ex-President’s first visit to the Borno State Government House since 1976.
The governor described himself as “lucky and privileged” to receive the former President as the governor of the state.
Obasanjo, in his reaction, said the Boko Haram insurgency would become a thing of the past judging from the military’s string of successes against the extremist group in recent times.
The former President, who was in Maiduguri in 2011 to initiate a possible dialogue between the Jonathan administration and the insurgents, commended President Muhammadu Buhari’s strategies to fighting the terrorists, noting that peace was gradually returning to the troubled areas.
He said, “A lot of water has passed under the bridge in this part of the country. I must not forget to commiserate with all our people in this state and indeed the entire North-East, which have been victims of insurgency in the way we have never witnessed in this country before.
“I travel a lot in Africa and outside Africa, and wherever I have gone in recent times, what people want to know is what and how Nigeria is coping with the situation of insurgency.
“Today, I think we are not out of the woods yet but it would appear that we can see the light beyond the tunnel.
“There is no doubt that with the combined efforts at the local level, at the state level and at the federal level, and even at the community level, our security forces are on the ascendancy over the forces of destruction, the menace and danger of insurgency that we have experienced for almost six years now.”
According to Obasanjo, Buhari has shown that he is passionate about ending insecurity in the country, calling for support for his government.
He added, “Talking to the President (Buhari) about the issue of insurgency in particular and insecurity in general, I know that he is very, very concerned, and not only very concerned, he has got it right.
“He (Buhari) has ensured that where they (Boko Haram) have occupied is cleared of any mines. Where you have mines, lives are not only insecure, people feel intimidated for you never know when you may step on them.”