Four of the leaders of the #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) movement have announced to take a leave of leading the pressure group, following the political ambition of a co-founder of the movement, Oby Ezekwesili.
Aisha Yesufu, Florence Ozor, Maureen Kabrik and Dudu Bakam have decided to step down after the emergence of Mrs Ezekwesili as the presidential candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria.
In a statement released on Tuesday by the key members of the BBOG, the four made the decision in order to support Mrs Ezekwesili in her run to be president of Nigeria in 2019.
She has also formally announced her step down from leadership of the movement.
The statement said the four women have been at the forefront of the movement since the beginning of the campaign, holding both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government of Goodluck Jonathan and All Progressives Congress (APC) government of Muhammadu Buhari to account for not rescuing and returning all the 276 girls who were kidnapped in 2014 from Chibok, Borno State.
According to the statement, one of the women, Ms Ozor said both APC and PDP have failed in their responsibility.
“We have spent the past four years on this journey and we continue to be fired up in ensuring that #NigerianLivesMatter like any across the world. We have confronted #APCPDP governments who have failed in their responsibility to effectively protect lives and property. Those who thought this was an agenda against the PDP saw clearly that human life knows no party as we continued our advocacy with even more determination after the change of government to the APC in 2015,” she said.
Ms Kabrik in her own words said this was a move they had to take.
“This is a deeply emotional decision for us, when we realised this was a move we had to take, we were saddened for an extended period. We have given our hearts and our souls to ensure that human lives have meaning, and we have formed a family, especially with our very protesters, including at our daily sit outs over the past 1000+ days,” she said.
Ms Bakam further highlighted that “We know how dirty old order politicians play. We are taking this step for the first time in our lives of working actively for a candidate because we think this is the only option we have for our goals of securing lives and property to be achieved.
“These politicians have shown they will not listen until their positions are at risk, and this is what we are going to do now. This cause is dear to our hearts so we will continue to clamour for the calls and continue to join the activities when we can until after the elections. But we will not be leading it so its crucial work can continue unhindered.”
The abduction of the chibok girls made the group, led by Mrs Ezekwesili, Ms Yesufu, Ms Ozor, Ms Kabrik and Ms Bakam begin a daily campaign for the release of the girls. Although many of the abducted girls have been released while others have died, about 112 of them remain missing and are believed to be with the terror group.
The statement further highlighted that the activism of these women has also supported a broad spectrum of security causes including protests on the Buni Yadi boys, Leah Sharibu, the 48 Potiskum Boys, University of Maiduguri lecturers on NNPC assignment, Lassa Women, Rann Women, IDPs, Missing Gwoza Police Men, the #NationalDayofMourning, and #StopTheKillings – organising civil action after tragedies in Plateau, Yola, Zamfara, Benue and elsewhere.
Members of the movement have included members of political parties and government organs across the country.
Meanwhile, following the decisions of the four women, the group announced its new leaders of the movement to be – Yassin (coordinator), Nifemi Onifade (spokesperson) and Gapani Yanga (sit-out coordinator).