As the 2023 general elections are fast approaching, so also the worsening of insecurity in the country. Aspirants from various political parties are emerging in numbers in preparation for the next year’s polls. This is what we call democracy in action.
However, the incessant killings in the country have raised a serious question as to whether our desperate politicians have ever stopped, pondered and assessed the threat posed by the insecurity to 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 2023 general elections. They based their arguments on the deteriorating insecurity in the country with government looking helpless. The recent attacks on Abuja-Kaduna train by suspected members of Ansa-ruddeen terror group have further indicated Boko Haram expansionism. The terror group, which suffered massive onslaught by our gallant soldiers and presently in disarray, must have moved to states in the North West.
This movement did not come to many Nigerians as a surprise. Some time last year, the governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, raised an alarm over the presence of Boko Haram in his state.
But I don’t think the government has acted on the governor’s claims or at least taken urgent necessary action 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. The secessionist group, through its armed wing, Eastern Security Network( ESN), has held some states to ransom. The group, which assumed a state role, has since declared Monday as work-free day and directed citizens to remain indoors. Public places, banks and markets have to obey the order for their own safety. Besides free day declaration, the group has been attacking security formations and innocent people on a 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 into a dangerous trend, 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 soaked into the ocean of blood.
The primary function of government is to protect lives and properties. However, government is no longer performing this constitutional duty. It has become imperative to say no where 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 ghosts of their former selves.
Elections can only be conducted in a peaceful and secured environment. Evidence suggests that unless security improves, the country will go to poll with more corpses. There is no gainsaying the fact that dead people don’t vote. Elections are meant for the living. It is quite disturbing that most of the aspirants do not have a blueprint on how to tackle the insecurity that has 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 be held 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, above all, unravelling the sponsors of these terrorists.
Ibrahim Mustapha Pambegua, Kaduna State