As the 2023 general election is fast approaching, so also is worsening insecurity in the country. Aspirants from various political parties are emerging in numbers in preparation for next year’s polls. This is democracy in action. However, the incessant killings in the country have raised serious questions as to whether our desperate politicians have ever stopped, pondered and assessed the threat posed by insecurity for their 2023 ambitions.
It seems the country has been divided into two. One is being controlled by the terrorists and the other by Nigerian government. The Sultan of Sokoto and other religious leaders have expressed fear on the likely conduct of 2023 general elections. They based they arguments on the deteriorating insecurity in the country with government looking helpless. The recent attacks on Abuja-Kaduna train by suspected members of Ansar ud deen terror group has further indicated Boko Haram expansionism. The terror group which suffered massive onslaught by our gallant soldiers and presently in disarray must have moved to north-west states.
The movement of Boko Haram to some north-west states and part of Niger State did not come to many Nigerians as a surprise. Sometimes last year, the Governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, raised the alarm over the presence of Boko Haram in his state. The governor warned that the deadly terror group is few kilometers away from Abuja. The shocking statement from the governor who happens to be the chief security officer of his state must have forced government to deploy security officers to scoop necessary intelligence gathering. But, I don’t think the federal government has acted on the governor’s claims to arrest the situation. Now, Niger State is at the mercy of rapacious bandits cum Boko Haram who have continued to sack communities. In the south east, the security situation is not different from the north. The region has been battling IPOB. The secessionist group, through its armed wing, Eastern Security Network (ESN), has held some states to ransom. The group which assumed state role has since declared Monday as work-free day and directed law abiding citizens to remain in doors. Public places, banks and markets have to obey the draconic order for their own safety. Besides free day declaration, the arsonists have been attacking security formation and innocent people on daily basis.
There is no doubt, the country is waging a survival war from violent activities of non-state actors. While the country is gradually moving to a failed state, our politicians are busy scheming how to be or remain in power. They don’t give a damn about the escalation of tension or how Innocent lives are being wasted. This reminds me of the recent sermon by Sheik Khalil, former Imam of Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja. In his Friday sermon, the Islamic cleric advises Nigerians not to come out and vote in the 2023 elections unless government agrees to protect them. There is nothing wrong with his sermon. He has just called the attention of government to live up to its basic responsibilities. The primary function of government is to protect lives and properties. However, government is no longer performing these constitutional duties. It has become imperative to say, nowhere is safe in the country. Our roads, airports and rail stations have been targeted and attacked by the terrorists. Our rural communities which serve as the food basket of the country have become ghost of their former selves.
Elections can only be conducted in peaceful and secure environment. Evidences suggest, unless security improves, the country will go to poll with more corpses. There is no gainsaying the fact, dead people don’t vote. Elections are meant for the living. It is quite disturbing that most of the aspirants do not have the blueprint on how to tackle the insecurity bedeviling the country. When the Buhari administration came on board in 2015, it promised to secure the country. One year for the administration to go, security has worsened under its watch. For the 2023 elections to hold and the living to vote, the government should quickly stem the growing tide of insecurity in the country.
Ibrahim Mustapha, Pambegua, Kaduna State