A University lecturer and Director, Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training, Zaria, Prof. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed has said that the 2023 general election may not hold in some parts of the country because of persistent rising insecurity.
According to him, “we have been studying this (banditry) for the past 10 years, what you see is that it is expanding. It started as criminality and now people who are ideologically inclined are moving in.”
He added that they wanted to force Nigerians into their ideologies. They are winning more territories. The bandits are criminals, only interested in money and not the territory.
He noted that the other group are not interested in money but in territories. And it is going to be difficult because they believe in their own cause.
He made the assertion on Tuesday while speaking on the theme of the event, “Party Politics and Electoral Violence in Nigeria,” during the 6th edition of the annual Northern Elements Progressive Union, (NEPU) Day to mark the 72nd anniversary of the union organized by the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, Mambaya house in Kano.
Prof. Mohammed said the country is losing more territories to terrorists citing instances of places such as Birnin Gwari in Kaduna State and most parts of Zamfara State.
His words,“I am not a soothsayer but I know that if nothing is done to stem the tide such as we have seen, election may not hold in many places. Take for instance, Birnin Gwari, they have taken over the place. So how would you conduct election there? Another instance is many parts of Zamfara, can you conduct election there? Unless they have been defeated.”
He however noted that “unlike in southern Nigeria where political violence was incidental and spontaneous whenever it broke out, political violence was deliberately institutionalized in northern Nigeria through the collaboration of the British colonial administration and the Native Authority whose officials were partisans of the dominant political party the Northern People’s Congress as the experience of NEPU proves.
“Since its formation on August 8th, 1950 NEPU and its members were subjected violence both in the form of harassment and direct physical assault. Extant police intelligence report has shown that all the meetings of NEPU from that of its inception and subsequent meetings, conferences and congresses came under effective police surveillance.
“Since its formation, the NEPU was feared by both colonial administration and the Native Authority both because of its radical political ideology and its association with what colonial officials described as aggressive and extremist southern agitators in Kano and elsewhere who were intolerant of colonial government and bitterly hostile towards the Native Authority. Hence the formation of the Association Political Party Thugs, in Jam’iyyar Mahaukata by the then ciroma of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi. These thugs were usually unleashed on members of NEPU and other opponents of the colonial administration and the Native Authority.
“In response to the frequent attacks and molestations by these NPC thugs, the NEPU formed a defence committee known as Yan Akussa, who retaliated those acts of violence. This was how political violence came to be institutionalized in the party politics of northern Nigeria.
“As a matter of fact, election and other political violence being witnessed in Nigeria from the second republic to the recent in 2011 and some of the most recent have their genesis in this phase of the political history of Nigeria.”
He then stated that what is more disturbing is the fact that the culture of political and election violence continue to persist in Nigeria though successive governments have tried to address this problem.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, BUK, Prof. Sagir Adamu Abbas stated that poverty of ideology is one key challenge confronting the present-day political parties, unlike NEPU.
Prof. Abbas represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academics), Prof. Sani Muhammad Gumel however commended the organizers of the event noting that, “the theme of the event “Party Politics and Electoral Violence in Nigeria” is very apt and topical in view of the fact that most political parties today are bereft of ideologies and articulated programmes.