Nigeria: A Nation On Death Row
In a few months time, Africa most populous nation, Nigeria will be heading
to the polls to elect its political representatives in an electoral exercise
that has been predicted to be the fiercest yet political battle in the
history of the country and a great decider to the unity and continuous
existence of the 1914 amalgam and by extension the stability of Africa as a
For a country that has witnessed decades of military misrule and
dictatorial governments, there is a resounding appeal to ensure the
continuous play of democracy and political stability. Like every other
country, Nigeria is faced with its own challenges. The slippery war against
terrorism, where the dreaded Boko Haram group has continuously held the
country to ransom with tonnes of atrocities among which are the numerous
genocides that is claiming thousands of helpless and vulnerable lives. The
unabating kidnappings especially that of over 200 girls of Chibok Secondary
School and the unending massacre of many others on a nearly daily basis has
become a major source of concern to residents of the country and even the
world at large.
The current political play in the country towards the 2015 general election
points clearly towards doomsday. The country is currently divided along
partisan class laced around religion and ethnicity. While majority of
distance analysts simply see the current brouhaha as normalcy in the build
up to the election, experiences of the immediate past points otherwise.
In 2011, shortly after the presidential election which saw Mr. Goodluck
Jonathan emerged president, a devastating turmoil broke out in major states
and cities in the Northern part of Nigeria. Many who had analysed the
scenario saw it as the uprising of some individuals against the failure of
their preferred candidate to emerge victorious but far away from this
assumption, the violence that greeted the 2011 election was bitterness and
hatred concoctioned in betrayal. As against the widely reported news then,
the violence was nothing other than a civil war. For individuals like
myself who was caught between the flames and brimstone it wasn't just about
loosing an election but the outpouring of decades of suppressed hatred,
intolerance and ethnicity. Individuals who were lynched and house razed
weren't done because of the differences in voting, it was a direct attack
on non Muslims and non Northerners alike. Many who had lived in the North
all their lives and even voted for the Northern candidate fell victim of
this rage and innocent youth corps members' ( who were seen as strangers to
the land) were brutally declared persona non grata.
I say this because the current political situation in the country is
heading towards 2011 and maybe much more dreadful. The major opposition
party called the All Progressive Congress (APC) is hell bent on taking over
the country's affairs in 2015 while the ruling Peoples Democratic Party
(PDP) which has been in power for over 16 years has sworn not to let go.
But morality of the parties is nothing to lose sleep over. The greater
threats are the candidates both are likely to put forward. President
Jonathan sees a failed reelection as a shame and insult to his family and
his region as a whole. His kinsmen from the Niger Delta feels the same and
the unguarded statements from top 'ex' militants from the region (who seems
to have an expansive arsenal) points clearly that they would give
everything to hold on to power. The opponent on the other hand, retired
general Buhari is a well respected man who enjoys a wide range of appeal
across the country (except for his perceived rigid mono-religious believe)
and commands an assembly of radical and unruly followers majorly Northern
youths who are determined to ensure he emerge president or they die trying.
With the current postulations of possible electoral outcome, the odds
favours the President as the Nigeria voting pattern is more ruralist than
cosmopolitan. Unfortunately for the opposition, the rural climes are less
concerned about who emerges president as their major concern is limited to
the local and state politics hence the party with the most ubiquitous
structure in a particular state wins such state no matter who is flagging
its presidential flag. If Mr. Jonathan emerged victorious 'the baboon' may
likely be 'soaked in blood'.
Far from the rumoured analysis of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of
the possible breakaway of Nigeria in 2015, the response to another defeat
of General Buhari in 2015 will be nothing short of catastrophic especially
at a time when more weapons and IEDs seems to have gained access to the
North coupled with a psychological frame mind of war that as engulfed the
region as a result of the unending insurgency.
To say Africa will not share in this if Nigeria burns is underplaying the
obvious. For a country of over 160,000,000 people the number of possible
displaced persons seeking refuge will overwhelm the whole of Africa.
Nigeria being a center piece of Africa's unity will cause greater
instability to other regions and creates a vibe of fear and a volcanic
Suggesting that the 2015 election be postponed will amount to only shifting
the danger. 2015 deserves to hold, the people deserves to choose their
leaders. A possible way to avert the looming war is having the President
stepdown from the presidential race in the interest and unity of Nigeria
but this will be asking too much of a man the world has already tagged weak
and indecisive. Another way out is appealing to the opposition party to
chose another candidate other than Buhari whose defeat may send the country
into flames but for a party that has given everything to become where and
what it is today, such plea will appear selfish.
While the world awaits the coming tsunami, the electoral commission and
indeed concerned world leaders should ensure that the parties and
candidates sign an undertaken to take full responsibility of any uprising
that might ensure after the election, such document shouldn't be localised
but better signed at Hague.
Nigerians should be made to understand that killing fellow citizens in the
disguise of political persuation is nothing but murder and such can never
be justified. Politicians are never worth dying or killing for, as those
who declare war most often never lead.
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