The NorthEast and 2015 elections

December 19, 2013
1 min read

THIS week, INEC revealed that elections might not take place in the Northeast in 2015, if the security situation does not improve. Attahiru Jega said: “the situation under a state of emergency is that you cannot do a free and fair election. Ideally, you cannot conduct election under a period of emergency”.

As VANGUARD newspaper of Tuesday, December 17, 2013 noted, over 10 million registered voters might be disenfranchised in such a setting. Certainly that will not be in the interest of democracy consolidation in the country.

For those who don’t know, there are whispers in the North, that part of the electoral strategies of the Jonathan administration in 2015, is to ensure that a huge swathe of Northern Nigeria should be in such turmoil, that elections cannot be held there. The assumption is that the president is so unpopular in the region he is likely to fare badly in any free and fair elections.

So it is much easier to hide behind the security situation to ensure that people are unable to cast their votes than face an electoral meltdown. It is clear that the president cannot face the country, but the North in particular, on the basis of his record in power. Such a backdrop has helped conspiracy theories to fester.

I really hope that such fears will be allayed by renewed efforts to find means to end the insurgency. The government has to think outside the box to find far more innovative means to end the state of war in the expansive areas of the North. A very innovative strategy will centre on bringing the huge population of young people into an economic process which allows this segment of population to become hopeful and find a stake in society.

When the insurgents re-entered Maiduguri a few weeks ago and successfully attacked the airforce base and were operating for about six hours, it was clear that we were faced with a far more serious challenge than the Nigerian state had thought through.

Reports that the insurgents use far more sophisticated weapons than our security forces, also tell a story of the interconnectedness of political phenomena in the continent. In 2011, the Jonathan administration broke from the position of the African Union, to support the imperialist powers’ invasion and removal of Muammar Ghaddafi in Libya.

The consequent chaos and destruction of Libya also saw the dispersal of huge caches of sophisticated arms from Libya to Northern Mali; Niger; Central Africa and as we are now seeing, Northern Nigeria. We supported imperialism and brought home ant-ridden faggots which invited the lizards of terrorism. The Nigerian people in the Northeast must not be disenfranchised under whatever guise in 2015!

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