Nigeria Must Not Be Killed In February 2015
It has been four years since the last election was conducted. Four years after, another opportunity has presented itself for elections to be conducted, where leaders who will steer the ship called Nigeria for another four years will be (s) elected. Everywhere one goes to he sees, feels and experiences the frenzy of elections. This situation is present both at the federal and state levels. At the federal level, the candidates have been engaged in serious politicking, to the extent that governance has relatively been at a stand still because the incumbent president is seeking to be reelected for a second time. This, however, is not the aim of this piece.
One common phenomenon is the way and manner we conduct our elections. Virtually all elections we have conducted save the last one have been characterised by violence and massive rigging. In fact, our elections in this part of the world are a mockery of elections and democratic policies in the world. We witness a situation where candidates are imposed on the people and where certain candidates emerge through popular votes, they are not announced. One must however admit that INEC under Professor Attahiru Jega conducted what some people are describe as a near perfect election; compared with what used to obtain in the past, one can give him credit for that feat.
We have always recorded violence at our elections. The 2011 election was no exception. Supporters of the candidates thronged the streets in protest and engaged in reckless and wanton killings of individuals. Young Nigerians who were serving their fatherland were killed like chickens, putting their families in endless sorrows. The sad thing is that four years after, no body has been prosecuted for tried for that crime.
So, we go into another round of elections with little or nothing being said about the prosecution of those who orchestrated violence during the last election. The wound is still fresh in the hearts of the bereaved. They are painfully reminded of lost loved ones every time they hear issues pertaining to elections. The sad truth is that the violence that erupted after the elections was a premeditated plan, one carried out to the latter. To escape another situation where people will be caught unawares, majority of Nigerians have decided to vacate their current place of domicile to the various home states or states of origin. People have left where they were registered to vote. This according to them is because no election is worth being wasted for and if one gets caught up in electoral violence, they are abandoned to their fate. This is a sad reminder of what transpired during the pre-civil war period of Nigeria.
The campaigns for the 2015 elections have commenced. Politicians are already inciting their supporters against their opponents. Nigerians are divided along the line of the candidates and the few who chose to be neutral are called cowards and enemies of Nigeria. We must realise that the seed of violence is planted during campaign rallies. Politicians must guard and watch what they say while soliciting from votes from the people. They must stick to issues and tell us what they will do different if given the mandate to lead. A so called peace pact was recently signed. While it is a commendable move, we must not forget that politicians are hardly seen at the scene of violence. They hide at comfort of their homes to push jobless and aimless youths to the streets to wreck havoc on innocent people.
In February, Nigeria must not be killed. The elections should provide us the opportunity to redeem our country from the clutches of those who have held us to ransom. Candidates and their supporters must be civil during campaigns and at elections. We must not destroy Nigeria on order to govern Nigerians. The elections should be conducted. Postponing the elections may overheat the polity and bring Nigeria to an end. God forbid!
Frank Ijege, fr[email protected]
Foijege on twitter. 08032093229