By Ibrahim Mustapha Pambegua
As the 2023 general elections fast approach, so also the worsening of insecurity in the country. In preparation for the next year’s polls, aspirants from various political parties are emerging in numbers. This is what we call democracy in action.
However, the incessant killing in the country has raised a serious question. Have our desperate politicians ever pondered and assessed the threat posed by the insecurity for their 2023 ambition? It seems the country has been divided into two. One is being controlled by the terrorists and the other by the Nigerian government.
The sultan of Sokoto and other religious leaders have expressed fear of the likely conduct of the 2023 general elections. They based their arguments on the country’s deteriorating insecurity, with the government looking helpless. The recent attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train by suspected members of the Ansa-Ruddeen terror group has furthered indicated Boko haram expansionism. The terror group, which suffered a massive onslaught by our gallant soldiers and is presently in disarray, must have moved to northwestern states.
The movement of Boko Haram to some northwestern 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 the deadly terror group is a few kilometres away from Abuja. The shocking statement from the governor, who happens to be the chief security officer of his state, must have forced the government to deploy security officers to scoop necessary intelligence gathering. But, I don’t think the government has acted on the governor’s claims or taken the urgent action required 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 with IPOB. Through its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the secessionist group has held some states to ransom. The group that assumed the state role has since declared Monday a work-free day and directed law-abiding citizens to remain indoors. 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 formations and innocent people on a daily basis.
There is no doubt that Nigeria is waging a survival war against the violent activities of non-state actors. While the country is gradually moving into a failed state with corpses littered its length and breadth, our politicians are busy scheming on how to be or remain in power. They don’t give a damn about the escalation of tension or how Innocent lives are being soaked into the ocean of blood.
The above reminds me of the recent sermon by Sheikh Nuru Khalid, 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 the government agrees to protect them. There is nothing wrong with his sermon. However, he has just called the government’s attention to live up to its essential responsibilities. The primary function of government is to protect lives and properties. However, the government is no longer performing this constitutional duty.
It has become imperative to say nowhere is safe in the country. Our road, airport and rail station have been targeted and attacked by terrorists. Our rural communities that serve as the country’s food basket have become a ghost of their former selves.
Elections can only be conducted in a peaceful and secure environment. Evidence suggests that unless security improves, the country will go to poll with more corpses. There is no gainsaying the facts; 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 for tackling the insecurity that bedevilled the country.
When the Buhari administration came on board in 2015, it promised to secure the country. One year for the administration to go, it seems, security has worsened under its watch. For the 2023 elections to hold and the living to vote, the government should quickly stem the tide of growing insecurity in the country. This can be achieved through intelligence gathering, negotiation, massive bombardment, and unravelling the sponsors of these terrorists.
Ibrahim Mustapha Pambegua wrote from Kaduna state via email@example.com.