Opinion: The possible flashpoints in the 2015 elections

by Emmanuel Onwubiko

Godswill-Akpabio

Akwa-Ibom State is one of the flashpoints that if not checked could witness serious post-election conflict not just between political divides but even within the ruling Party (PDP) whereby a recent cabinet change carried out by Governor Godwill Akpabio swept away one of the most ambitious governorship aspirants.

The 2015 general elections are some months away but in politics especially in the Nigerian context, a thousand years is like just the next day and so most aspirants to political offices in 2015 are already galvanizing their machinery to take part in that elections that would remarkably become a defining period of Nigeria’s national life.

Political and human rights scholars know that elections are essential ingredients for the sustenance of vibrant democracy and the constructive participation by the people to ensure peaceful, fair and transparent conduct of elections are imperative and indeed finds support in several provisions of both local and international humanitarian laws.

Mr. Manfred Nowak in  his book “Human Rights: Handbook For Parliamentarians” reasoned that citizens of all democratic nations must become owners of the process that would lead to free and fair election of political office holders who would provide transparent services for the growth and advancement of such nation(s). Article 21 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 25 of the International Covenant On Civil and Political Rights [CCPR] support the aforementioned.

Democracy, Mr. Nowak said, is premised on the idea that all citizens are equally entitled to have a say in decisions affecting their lives. R. N. Munshi in his book; “World famous Quotations”, stated that “elections are periodic features of politics” and philosophers view politics as the techniques for administering a nation state.

Nigeria has since 1999 recorded violence in most elections both at the state, sub-national and national levels leading to avoidable deaths of citizens.

In the 2011 elections in which President Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party defeated General Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), hundreds of innocent Nigerians were massacred in violent unrests that trailed the announcement of the results especially in the Northern parts of Nigeria.

Bauchi and Akwa Ibom states in both Northern and Southern parts of the country were the most affected. In Bauchi State, several young graduates of Southern extraction posted to do their national youth service were killed by street urchins and hoodlums who were allegedly sympathetic to General Buhari who lost that election but several months after that violence no one has either faced the wrath of the law nor has the federal government put machinery in motion to avoid a repeat.

There is every possibility that Bauchi State may witness a repeat of this bloody post-election violence given that the current minister of FCT Senator Bala Mohammed is eyeing the governorship seat there and the incumbent Mr. Yuguda is not favorably disposed to allowing the current Abuja minister to succeed him in 2015.

In Akwa Ibom State, members of the then opposition Action Congress of Nigeria and the Peoples Democratic Party clashed in 2011 leading to the killing of over three dozen innocent civilians.

Political pundits have recently identified Akwa Ibom as one flashpoint where effective proactive measures must be put in place to avoid a repeat of the scenario that violently played itself out soon after the 2011 election.

Akwa-Ibom State is one of the flashpoints that if not checked could witness serious post-election conflict not just between political divides but even within the ruling Party (PDP) whereby a recent cabinet change carried out by Governor Godwill Akpabio swept away one of the most ambitious governorship aspirants.

This man who is said to find support among  some key members of the Abuja political establishment because of his speculated healthy financial status, has however denied that he was stockpiling arms to cause chaos in the 2015 election should he lose out in the emerging power configuration.

There are also allegations in certain quarters that some politicians with enormous wealth whose sources of money are questionable may also want to constitute a threat to peace similar to the ugly scenario in 2011 if their selfish political agenda are not met.

These persons are said to have unprecedented confidence in their enormous monetary fire power to deploy such resources to unleash unquantifiable violence on the state to disturb the peace and cause violence.

This is the political and existential dilemma which must be arrested without delay through peaceful and constructive dialogue by all political stakeholders including those persons that are currently having running battle with the current powers-that-be in Akwa Ibom State for the sake of the future of the good people of that state and especially the women and children who are always the greatest victims of crises. Sadly, there is no evidence to show that children of the political elite died during the 2011 pre-and post election violence in Akwa Ibom State.

 

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Read this article in the Leadership Newspapers

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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