A 1,000 Days Of Advocacy, By Edith C. Yassin

This Pristine Lily
Out Of The Pond’s Murky Water.

On the 30th of April 2014, dark clouds hung over the Unity Fountain as many Nigerians gathered to march to the National Assembly to demand answers to the many questions surrounding the kidnap by terrorists, of 276 Girls from their school in Chibok. Salim Malami handed me a cardboard with a protest message. Hadiza Bala Usman and probably, Mariam Uwais gave a few remarks. From a truck with speakers, Sunny Okosun was singing ‘Which Way Nigeria.’ At about 4pm, it started to drizzle, Dr Oby Ezekwesili asked, ‘Will A Little Rain Stop Us?’

And so we marched. Before we got to Federal Secretariat, the heavens opened, drenched us and our puny cardboard signs…. the rest is history that has brought us to 1,000 Days of Advocacy for the rescue of our #ChibokGirls.

For me, it has been a journey of Sacrifice, Tears, Despair, Hope, Disillusionment, Joy and Miracles. These emotions have flooded me in different order on this task of demanding from and questioning the Government, for our daughters.

#BringBackOurGirls is a heterogeneous group but it has availed me the chance to meet Nigerians that reason and view issues in the same way as I do. This has strengthened my belief that a group can work together, argue and disagree without being disagreeable. The daily sit outs at the Unity Fountain, have been nothing short of astounding. If our girls do not come back tonight please join us tomorrow at 5pm.

In a country filled with inactive citizens, divide and rule is the order of the day. Enclaves based on ethnic and religious sentiments abound. Fluid alliances based on selfish interests come and go. #BringBackOurGirls has been consistent, with a singularity of purpose- #ChibokGirls Rescue.

We have witnessed the return of 24 of our daughters. #HopeEndures as we advocate for the return of 195. It is the duty of the Government to bring closure to this issue of our #ChibokGirls and also deal honestly and humanely with all who have suffered at the hands of terrorists. I salute the courage of our troops, fighting and paying the ultimate price to keep Nigeria one, despite the deep corruption in our institutions.

On December 6, 2016, the Government of Argentina awarded the Emilio F. Mignone International Human Rights Prize to our Movement.

After 1,000 days, I understand better how we all are connected. This advocacy has schooled me in;
Hope Unity Motivation Affability Nationalism Integrity Transparency Empathy Equity Discipline Sacrifice- HUMANITEEDS. The CORE VALUES of the #BringBackOurGirls Movement.

If you feel strongly about any issue in Nigeria, activate the office of the citizen, take a stand and demand for better. Therein lies our strength.

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