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2019 elections and the dangers ahead

By Yinka Odumakin

“He (Jonathan) rang me and said ‘Your Excellency,’ and l said, ‘Your Excellency sir.’ He said ‘l ring to congratulate you.’ I will not forget the time. He said ‘l ring to congratulate you that l have conceded defeat, congratulations.’ He said ‘did you hear me?’ I said ‘yes sir. Thank you very much for your statesmanship’ because after being a deputy governor, governor, vice president and president for six years, for him to take that decision… because he could have caused some problems having stayed long enough in his capacity.’-President Muhammadu Buhari,19th January, 2018.

THE reticent General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye delivered some stern warnings at the April edition of the Holy Ghost service last Friday. With the Vice-President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo among his congregation, the man of God called on President Buhari to stop the killings going on across the country as the continuation may imperil  2019 elections and throw the country under the bus. In his words:

“I am going to ask you to join me in prayer, because unless these killings stop, and stop immediately, even Nigeria may not live. I am not talking about individuals now, I am talking about Nigeria itself…a bishop asked me not too long ago, ‘Daddy, has God told you who will win the next election?’ “I said, Sir, I am not even sure yet there will be an election. Because unless these killings stop there may be no elections next year. ‘Are you prophesying , Daddy?’ No, no! I am not prophesying. I am just reasoning. Because nobody will want to go out to vote if they are not sure they will be able to return home safely,” he explained.

A religious war

According to him, he has seen war at close quarters and knows that there is nothing good about war, “it’s a terrible thing. A nation may survive a civil war, but no nation can survive a religious war and remain the same. That Nigeria may live, these killings must stop. So all of you who love Nigeria, I want you to rise on your feet, and cry to God with all your heart, and say: Father, let the killings stop”.

Pastor Adeboye’s fears are real. Not many countries that are officially at war record the number of deaths we now daily record in our country. And the greatest tragedy unfolding is that the Nigerian authority is yet to show the willingness to put an end to the wanton killings in the country.

And to show that expecting the Federal Government to end these killings is like waiting for a marble statue to shed tears, Mr. President during his recent visit to the US told President Trump  that the Fulani herdsmen who have been terrorising most sections of the country with AK 47 only carry sticks and machetes.

Standing up to truth

One of the governors whose state has been at the receiving end of these murderous activities Mr. Darius Ishaku of Taraba has swiftly countered the false narrative when he said “It’s absolutely wrong for the President to say herdsmen don’t move around with guns. I mean, who then kills who? It couldn’t have been imaginary that people have been killed with AK-47 in the farmers-herdsmen clashes. We simply have to stand up to the truth and do something to stop the killings.”

If these killings were to stop by some divine intervention and the 2019 elections takes place, there are other clear and present danger in the land which should worry genuine patriots on our capacity to have a free, fair and peaceful elections.

The biggest of our electoral headaches is the temperament of the ruling party the All Progressive Congress, APC, whose government will supervise the elections. If what happened during its ward congresses last Saturday are anything to go by, this country needs all the prayers to survive the 2019 elections as no man can give what he does not have.

When the President made the statement I quoted at the opening of this piece in April this year,I remember my brother Eni B pointing out  that the faux pas was a warning of what we may face in future elections. Truly,the last sentence in that quote could mean that this those who are in same position presently would not give in so cheaply in similar circumstance.

In many parts of the country, last Saturday,the President’s men showed us  the “problems” they are capable of causing having “stayed long ” in their “capacities”.

In Rivers State where the Director General of the President’s campaign and  Transport Minister,Mr. Rotimi Ameachi comes from recorded death and burning of the party secretariat.

A congress of violence

In Ondo State, the congress was marred by violence and other irregularities as many members of the party were allegedly prevented from participating in the exercise.

The Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Sunday Abegunde, and the Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Mr. Jacob Adebo, were fingered in the alleged irregularities.

Abegunde and Adebo allegedly led members of the NURTW, to some centres in various wards in Akure South Local Government Area of the state, to chase out some delegates who were not loyal to him.

The exercise was postponed in Oyo State after thugs disrupted the congress at the party secretariat in Oke-Ado area of Ibadan, with people sustaining injuries.

Trouble started shortly before the exercise began as chairs were thrown at members in the hall during a stakeholders meeting while stones were also thrown  into the venue by suspected thugs.

The Chairman of the party’s Local Government and Ward Congress Committee, Musa Halilu-Ahmed, said two members of the committee sustained injuries.

In Delta State, a Chairmanship aspirant of the Party in Ughelli, Delta State was stabbed to death.

The deceased, Mr. Jeremiah Oghoveta, who was from Jeremi Ward 10 (III), Ughelli South Local Government Area of the state, was said to have been killed by a younger brother of one the leaders of the party.

Oghoveta, in his late 30s, was stabbed on the neck ahead of the nationwide ward congress of the APC which held near God’s Grace Ministry at Okwagbe.

It was a tale of sorrow, tears and blood in many states across the country over mere ward congresses with the icing on the disaster in Ekiti where governorship primary which held the same day ended in a fiasco. Thugs stormed the Olukayode Stadium in Ado Ekiti where the primary was conducted and brought the entire exercise to a halt.

The exercise was suspended indefinitely after some supporters of  some aspirants disrupted the voting process accusing accusing a governorship aspirant, of compromising the process.

A meeting of the aspirants held with the Organising Committee led by Nasarawa State Governor, Tanko Al-Makura, resolved to suspend the election indefinitely amidst continued agitations by supporters of the other 32 aspirants.

The crisis began when some agents raised observations and protested that officials of the State Security Service, SSS, were dictating to delegates who they should vote for.

One of the supporters attacked voting area and a commotion ensued, disrupting the entire process.

Police and other security agencies shot sporadically into the air to scare the supporters from further doing damage.

Many of the delegates scampered for safety outside the venue of the election and did not return. And of course, the combatants have been throwing brickbats ever since.

We ordinarily would not be worried much about these internal affairs of the APC if they were not the ruling party. That they run the government that would run the 2019 elections create serious scare in the land.Those who cannot play by rules of decency and fairness within are not likely to deploy such without.

The fellows who are drawing guns over ward congresses would deploy ballistic missiles when they they have to face general elections with other parties. If others have to prepare themselves to be able to engage them,it will be a house of war.

 

Feedback

…Mercy killing for Dino?

A DAY after I wrote about Senator Dino Melaye here last week, he was charged to court in Abuja on different charges. One of them was attempted suicide.That suggests that the Nigerian state was alive to its responsibility of ensuring that no citizen is allowed to take his or her own life.

But the applause for that was yet to die down when Dino was wheeled to Lokoja on a stretcher the following day and arraigned before some magistrate court on some conspiracy charge.It was a gory sight reminiscent of when we paid some mercenaries to put Umaru Dikko in a coffin and bring him to Nigeria.

The Magistrate would not grant a dying man bail but remanded him in custody till 11th June, 2018. A day more would have been June 12!

A man  was charged for surviving a suicide bid but now the state wants to administer mercy killing?

 


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