Ndidi Uwechue’s Column: The Smart African… a place for intelligent discourse

Opinion | Is it sensible to go to elections in 2023 under this raging insecurity?

By Ndidi Uwechue
Ndidi Uwechue

Whatever form of insecurity you can think of, Nigeria has it a-plenty. Whether it is food insecurity, educational insecurity, health insecurity, economic insecurity, electricity insecurity, job insecurity, development insecurity, or physical insecurity, etc – they are all there and increasing by the day.

The type under consideration here is physical insecurity from Fulani militias and from Islamist terrorists (aka “bandits”), and there are reports that at times these two groups of killers carry out joint massacres. What one believes are the causes of this type of insecurity depends on the amount of research (if any) that one has done, plus most importantly on one’s level of morality.

There are two broad opinions for the causes of this insecurity. Some say that it is due to bad governance, while others say it is an agenda to eliminate the indigenous peoples in order to grab their lands. Whichever of these two opinions, the big question is WHY are Nigerians preparing for General Elections in 2023 while there is such a raging insecurity?

Included in that question is the fact that in Nigeria, General Elections are violent events in themselves, with the use of thugs and killers in a do-or-die contest, that in itself also adds to the already present insecurity.

By now, with the long history of Mankind behind us, Nigerians would be expected to know what is good for community. For instance, the basic knowledge that security is an essential ingredient for economic growth and national development. Not only does that attract investors (both domestic and foreign), but it puts people’s minds in the right frame of calmness in order to innovate, and progress. Right now, with all the kidnappings and armed killers moving about freely, even simple travelling has become so very stressful, and not just because of the terrible condition of the potholed roads.

In December 2020, the influential USA House of Representatives non-partisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission held an important hearing on “Conflict and Killings in Nigeria’s Middle Belt”. What was clear from that hearing is that increasingly, evidence was pointing to genocide unfolding in the Middle Belt. Reports from various sources and events in Nigeria since then show that this slaughter for land grabbing is spreading.

In fact, in the presentation made by Baroness Cox during the hearing, she provided a slide with information that as at May 2020, 350 Igbo villages had become occupied by Fulani herders and Shuwa Arab mercenaries. The slide also stated that (as at that time) Boko Haram had killed 43,000 people and Islamist Fulani had killed 19,000. In that same hearing, it came out that Nigeria: has no effective civilian security, no effective police protection, and terrorists appear to enjoy freedom of movement. All this meaning that organised criminals are terrorising Nigerians across the land.

This hearing had confirmed what Nigerians know through experience. It is that Nigeria is a terrifying place, and thousands who can, are fleeing the country, heading mainly for Western countries.

A difference between the people of Western countries and the people of Nigeria, is in how they each deal with (existential) threats. The way that violence and evil are spreading in Nigeria and the horrific manner that entire communities are slaughtered, and with even children maimed and raped, then hacked to death, is alarming, yet there has been no adequate response so far from the majority of citizens.

Under such an atmosphere of massive insecurity the regular news being promoted by government, by mainstream media, by NGOs and CSOs, by church leaders, by scholars, and by influencers is that Nigerians should begin to prepare for Elections 2023! It is as if the massacres going on in the country mean nothing. It is as if the lives of the slaughtered mean nothing. It is as if the plight of those displaced by the extreme violence means nothing.

Previously, in September 2019, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial and Arbitrary Executions, Agnes Callamard had described Nigeria’s arrangement as “an injustice pressure cooker” that “gives rise to extreme concern” and “warning signs are flashing bright red”. Experts have clearly shown that it is the imposed 1999 Constitution, a forgery, that creates injustice, enables insecurity, and facilitates corruption. Those approaching Elections 2023 will renew the life of that illegitimate 1999 Constitution when the winner swears an Oath of Office to uphold it, defend it, and govern by it.

Those pushing for Elections 2023 seem blinded to realities. Their hearts are fixed on the personal gains they get under the illegitimate 1999 Constitution, and not on the horrors and torture that victims of massacres enabled by that Constitution have gone through, and would go through. They are so held captive by selfish interest that they fail to see that the only thing that happens to a brutal and barbaric country, is the complete collapse, then termination of such a place.

So, is it judged as sensible to prepare for Elections 2023 with such raging insecurity going on? Or, should concern for victims of insecurity lead citizens to say: Let us suspend preparations for Elections 2023 to first deal decisively with the killings, as has been mapped out by the non-violent NINAS Movement using the ORDERLY PROCESS of Constitutional Force Majeure, based on United Nations processes and International Law. (Visit http://www.ninasvoice.org)

Ndidi Uwechue is a British citizen with Igbo heritage from the Lower Niger Bloc. She is a retired Metropolitan (London) Police Officer, she is a signatory to the Constitutional Force Majeure, and she writes from Abuja.