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Post Election Violence in Northern Nigeria: Postmortem Reactions or Elite Conspiracy

02 May 2011

By Bukhari Muhammed Bello Jega

The violence that greeted the announcement of President Goodluck Ebale Jonathan by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the northern part of the country, is quite unfortunate and should be condemned by all Nigerians irrespective of ethnic, sectional or religion background. The death and destructions of live and properties, is not worth the victory or failure of any man. Politics should be seen as avenue for positive engagement between leaders and followers; followers whose only desire from their leaders is to provide basic inceptives that make life meaningful and raise their standard of living for the better. There is no doubt; millions of Nigerians that line up on that faithful day to elect their leaders were not anticipating violence; but, were anticipating a peaceful transition of political power as shown in their enthusiastic faces to engage in the democratic process in recruiting and voting a servant leader; that will navigate them out of the misery and hopelessness they found themselves after long years of leadership failure, ineptitude, confusion and impoverishment.

The 2011 election was no doubt peaceful and people actually voted; but, the elections were manipulated at the various stages of collation centres; which were the transit points where elections were manipulated and figures were change against the opposition especially the CPC. What, the master riggers did was to make sure elections are peaceful and people actually voted; so that international observers will adjudged the elections free, fair and credible; which they did; thus capturing the acceptance of the international community, which is often the catalyst to leadership legitimacy among Nigerian ruling elite even when there is no domestic support. And Nigerians were also quick to jump to the conclusion that the elections were credible since the international community said so. That is why some people were surprise to watch with dismay that there were crisis in the northern region over the outcome of the just concluded elections; after it was adjudged by both domestic and international observers to be free, fair and credible.

The post election violence in northern Nigeria is classically the case of protest against injustice and shortchanging of the will of the people to exercise their political and civil rights, to chose leaders of their choice. Although the election can be adjudge to be peaceful during the voting pattern; but, the collations and final results as announced at the state collations centres say otherwise. It is important to say, it will be wrong and regarded as an act of mischief to blame the Presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), General Muhammadu Buhari for the post election violent in northern part of the country. This is because Buhari by his antecedent has exemplified patriotism and confidence and loyalty to the Nigerian state. General Muhammadu Buhari is an elder statesman per excellent and he will not resort to violence to claim or showcase his grievance over the outcome of the April 19, 2011 presidential elections. Whatever happens is the postmortem reaction of aggrieved people; who felt the figures given as the outcome of the elections did not represent the actual reality of the voting pattern in the region; thus the annoyance of the people, to vexed their anger on the supposed people that facilitate the rigging (northern leaders; political and traditional) on the election; but, the aftermath of killing of innocents Nigerians and disruption of their properties was an elite counter rebellion strategy to paint the internal revolt as religious and sectional one.

It is interesting to say, the post elections violence started as a reaction against the ruling elite of the northern extraction; not necessarily against any southern or non indigenes as we called it. There was serious panic from the elite circle because of the general uprising against their political and economic hegemony by the so called docile and unorganized people; whom they have impoverished and enslave over the years. The uprising came to them as surprise; this is because they (elite) have never thought in their widest imagination that the people will not react to their conspiracy of refusing their idol and leader to win the election with outright majority in a region that was adjudge to be his home based. I have no doubt, the killing and burning of churches that follow later, was engineered by the elite as a counter revolutionary and violence measure to make it look like a ethno-religious conflicts; instead of an uprising against the unproductive and gluttonous class of bandits in the region both political and traditional leaders. From the initial report received, it was indicated that the rioters were targeting and burning houses belonging to prominent politicians including the family home of the Vice President Alh Namadi Sambo, Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, Ghali Na'aba, The emir of Zazzau etc. The later turn of events; killing of southerners, burning of churches and businesses; from the report was engineered by the elites through their supporters to make it look like a religious riots, instead of an attacked against their power base. This was an attempt by the elite to save their neck and properties from the upheaval which they unanticipated. This is a conspiracy from the northern leaders, to redirect the reaction of the people against Lilliputian class of elite that had deepen poverty, impoverishment, and death of human casualties over the years. These are my findings from an investigation carried my friends in our conspiracy school of theorists to Nigerian politics from Bauchi, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, Jigawa, Borno, and Nassarawa states. It is unfortunate these wretched classes of bandits had to sacrifice the lives of innocents Nigerians to protect their image and political status.

I think the accusation by some pundits on the failure of General Buhari to quickly reacts and condemned the uprising is totally misplaced; because if there is anyone that has to react and condemned the act and give the necessary assurance to the citizens was the President. The postmortem reactions by the people; were sign of injustice and betrayal of the will of the people by the unproductive northern elites. I think the blame should be places on the door step of the Nigerian government and security circle for their failure to provide security in flash points areas, when the results were collated at the headquarter of INEC. In a normal security arrangement the federal government should have provided security and guard the region against any eventuality; just like if the reverse was the case, the Niger-Delta could have been boiling by now. Someone forgot his duties and was intoxicated with the supposed victory and quickly forgot the security of the belligerent people who passionately voted him into office. It was surprising to read in the papers that the Minister of interior Capt Emmanuel iheanocho was suspended for anti-party activities in his home state; instead of failing to provide internal security and protections of lives and properties. Reading such news make sick with how human lives are traded and wasted with impunity. What a pity for a nation that has no regard for the lives of her citizens.

This brought us to the issues of conspiracy theory. As a member of conspiracy school; after serious discussions and analysis of the post-election violent; we came into conclusion, that, the violent was meant to happen; so that it will distract the attentions of the public against any disparity the opposition will come with later that will prove the elections were not as free, fair and credible as we were meant to believed. The state governors failed to take proactive measure when they realized the growing discernment of the people. The group came into conclusion that, the state executives governors failed to take any proactive measure because of comparative advantage such crisis will offers them in clinching their seat. The governor, based on the voting pattern realized that it will be impossible for them to win out rightly; so wanted to use the presence of the security and emergency laws to limits the movement and determination of the people to throw them out of power; thus ensuring their ability to rig elections in the favour; since the people will not be able to protect or protest against the rigging that will take places in the forthcoming governorship and state houses of assembly elections come Tuesday 26th 2011.

Unfortunately this elite conspiracy and Machiavellian tactics has serious divided the country along what we though we have buried due to the unity of our suffering, poverty and confusion. The poor security handling of the post election crisis in northern region has led to death of hundred of law abiding and spirited Nigerians; whose only sin is the accident of belonging to one ethnic or religious configuration. While the elite continue for political reason to divide us along the walls of ethnicity and religious instead of our suffering, poverty, hopelessness and confusion; it is important we disabuse our mind and see each other as good neighbours and friends and leant to tolerant and appreciate our diversity; as there is no race that is superior to one another except those that are righteous and fear God most.

There is no doubt, the violent that erupted in the region has change the region's political and socio-cultural perception forever; from political passivism to that of radicalism. The north has been change for the better. Prior to this conflicts; political rigging was tolerated with God destiny; but, the hardship and frustration the people experience; which was artificially created have bided the people to redirect their destiny and anger against unproductive class who seems to enjoy the hopelessness and confusion of the people. Regrettably this has to be done with lost of peoples' lives; which is quite regrettable. We are calling on the various security agencies and the government, not to attempt rigging the forthcoming Tuesday 26 governorship and state Assembly Elections; because that is one elections that people have serious passions for; due to it closeness to them. The emergence laws must be relaxed and free movement and association should be allow; we are in a democracy not dictatorial regime. Any attempt to create a police like state in Nigeria just because of the fear and lack of self esteem of some disgruntle leaders shall be resisted and will fail woefully. Nigerians have come of age and they will no longer take any trash from anybody; the people must be left to choose who governed them as governor or members of the Assembly.

This is a passionate appeal to President Goodluck Jonathan, to ensure the tempo is sustained and the peaceful conduct of the elections we witness is complimented with actual results of duly elected governors and members of state assemblies not imposter; this is the only guarantee to peace and stability across the federation. The Professor Jega led INEC must ensure that, the problems experience in the last presidential election was tackled. And INEC must rise above partisanship and ensure that truly the vote counts especially at the collation where the rigging usual takes place. The security must be fair to all and ensure the lives and properties of people especially the patriotic National Youth Corpers are safeguarded. For the belligerent mass of the people; please conduct yourself orderly and ensure your vote counts without resorting to violence and killing of innocent people. Wishing my dear country a peaceful elections and God guidance to choose leaders that have us at heart and are passionate about solving our suffering and hopelessness. God Bless Nigeria amin

Bukhari Muhammed Bello Jega, Write from Wuse Zone 4, Abuja



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