Permit me to use the popular lingo now in town in the headline of this piece. I hear the younger generation talk of las las, when they speak of a final situation or position. If anyone is restive over a matter, and they want to say he will be fine at last, they just say: he will be fine las las.
The same will happen to enemies of our country, who rejoice when negative things happen in the polity. They will lose las las, and then be gentle by force, as Nigeria is God’s project. It is bigger than anyone, and no matter the antagonism they have to the government of the day, no matter the antipathy they have for President Muhammadu Buhari and for other people serving the country, they will lose las las. And become gentle. By force.
This came out in bold relief last week as the abduction saga of over 300 schoolboys of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina State came to a positive denouement.
A fortnight ago, when President Buhari proceeded to his hometown in Daura, Katsina State on a well deserved one week private visit, an uncanny kind of welcome was given to him by bandits long troubling different parts of the country. They spirited away over 300 schoolboys and began to make all sorts of demands of government, before the boys could be released.
The development gave us a sense of deja vu. In April 2014, an equally large number of schoolgirls had been kidnapped from a school in Chibok, Borno State by Boko Haram insurgents. Till today, the girls are not fully recovered.
Also in February 2018, another abduction of scores of schoolgirls took place at Dapchi, Yobe State. Eventually, almost all the girls were recovered, save for Leah Sharibu, who was reportedly held back because she refused to renounce her Christian Faith. Horrendous. Despicable.
Now, while there are similitudes between Chibok, Dapchi and Kankara, the significant difference is the response by the different governments in power. When Chibok occurred, the then Goodluck Jonathan-led government demurred. They balked. They said no abduction happened, and that it was an attempt at negative propaganda by the then party in opposition, All Progressives Congress, to get power.
By the time government wisened up, the abductors had gone far, and the trail was cold. They couldn’t recover the girls, not until the Buhari Government came a year later and a large chunk of the hapless abductees were brought back. Some are still unaccounted for till today.
When Dapchi happened some years later, the Buhari Government behaved differently. It swung into action, went after the abductors, and through a combination of deft factors, the girls were brought back. Except Sharibu.
With Kankara on our hands, despite the strident cacophony of the market, President Buhari kept his cool, and went to work. And the needful was done. The boys were recovered after about six days in captivity.
While the saga lasted, and government was working night and day, enemies of the land were on overdrive, doing a jig, hopping from one leg to the other in a macabre dance. It was time to play evil politics once again. It was time to generate opprobrium for the President and display hatred for their own land.
In 2014, there had been #BringBackOurGirls, which contributed to dealing the government of the day mortal blows, and it was voted out a year later. So, the enemies thought they had a sucker punch at their disposal. They came up with #BringBackOurBoys and had reportedly printed 10 million T-Shirts, which they wanted to use in prosecuting their self-serving crusade. Were they interested in the welfare of the Kankara boys or in the travails of their parents? Not at all. They were only actuated by vengeance and the political capital they could get out of it. Their logic (or is it illogic) was clear. If #BringBackOurGirls brought down a Peoples Democratic Party Government, then #BringBackOurBoys must also undo the APC Government.
There are many thoughts in the heart of man, but it is the counsel of God that shall stand. As the government worked, fervent prayers were also being made by people of goodwill. Everything coalesced and worked together for the good of the country, of the boys, their parents and of President Buhari. The boys were brought back, intact, unharmed and not a hair was missing from their heads. To God be the glory. The enemies had lost las las.
They first lost their voices, particularly on social media. They vanished after the boys were released. But instead of admitting final defeat, instead of throwing up their hands in surrender, saying that this government was smarter than they thought, they became like Janus, the mythical creature with two faces, and began to speak from two different mouths.
Listen to one of them, who has been overtaken by bile and hatred for the Buhari government. While the boys were being held, she had declared: “In October, US military forces rescued their one citizen held hostage by terrorists within our territory. Buhari as Commander-in-Chief of Nigerian Army, should please accord highest priority to the lives of 333 #Kankara students and seek US support immediately.” In other words, she believed there was an abduction and it was time to put pressure on a man she didn’t like.
After the boys were recovered, what did Madam Red Card say? “Maybe the President sent the children on an excursion to terrorists so that they can release the children at will to him. He needs to tell us exactly what happened with the Kankara kids.”
Does anybody still take the woman serious? The Good Book says such people are “in the gall of bitterness and bondage of iniquity.” From such, please run away.
Anyone steeped in hatred against his or her country and still goes to church or mosque, or even to herbalists, is very far from God. When such people fast, they are simply on hunger strike. When they pray, they simply blubber. But you know the good news? God is interested in this entity called Nigeria. Most times, we live dangerously, but He always pulls us back from the edge of the brink. Those who hate the President for no just cause, who wish evil for their own country, are just injuring their own souls. They will fail las las, and become gentle by force.
May God always stand by Nigeria. May He always do us good. May He perfect all that concerns us. Amen, somebody!
Compliments of the season, dear readers.
. Adesina is Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity.