America should keep off Nigeria’s 2019 elections as Nigeria did not interfere in America’s 2016 elections. This is not to say Nigeria’s 2019 elections will be followed by violence
Here we go again. Nigeria holds general elections in 2019 and already prophets of doom have commenced business, portending as much as Armageddon. You would think it is a curse for the country to hold elections. For these prophets of doom, it is always harvest time, parading themselves as experts in our political direction.
The latest of these prophets of doom are the Americans. If only for the timing of this their political misadventure, what could be the business of the Americans expressing concern on what they consider prospects of violence after the results of the 2019 elections? First, there is the hypocrisy of the Americans. Here is a country whose prophets of doom are interfering in the Nigerian elections fixed for 2019. Americans held their elections in 2016 since when, and up till now, they have been moaning on how Russians interfered in that election to produce Donald Trump as the President. Series of probes are going on in Washington on the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, all with the aim of looking for the remotest evidence on that score to impeach Donald Trump.
In every way, that is the problem of Americans. It, therefore, goes to follow that the same country like America should not be seen to be getting involved in whatever manner in Nigeria’s 2019 elections.
Put bluntly, if Americans (still) detest Russian influence in their 2016 elections, what is America’s rationale for predicting the possible outcome of Nigeria’s 2019 elections? There is this condescending attitude of American political leadership towards Nigeria over the years, a failure to reconcile themselves to the reality that Nigeria is not one of those beggar nations always at the command of the White House. The headache of the Americans is the God-given Nigeria’s omnibus resilience – political, economic, diplomatic and even structural. Through their World Bank, the strategy is to constantly give negative assessment of Nigeria’s economy. Yet, despite weaknesses and imperfections. Nigeria marches on.
For example, Barack Obama, during his eight-year tenure as American President, visited Africa several times but on each occasion snubbed Nigeria. Did Nigeria, on that account crack or go cap in hand, begging? Those who got worried were Americans themselves such that, early this year, (the then) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had to visit Nigeria to advise caution on growing Chinese influence in Nigeria. Who cared to listen?
Tibor Nagy, described as US American Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs and a member of President Trump’s administration, while making a presentation at US Congress hearing on Nigeria’s 2019 elections, was reported to have predicted violence after the results. It is the same old story by these self-assuming experts on Nigeria who cannot, in any way, love our country more than we love Nigeria. Let us for a moment concede such dim prospects. So what? The worst of such violence was in 1983 after the presidential election results when political opponents were decapitated or burnt to death in Ondo State. Such violence is ever spontaneous rather than the mischievous falsehood that it is necessarily organised. In the absence of rigged elections, results are always accepted all over the world, including United States.
Time there was when Americans could pontificate or even intimidate Nigerians on such matters. Fortunately, the same Americans have proved that post-election violence is not peculiar to Nigeria, as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sought to do in the past when she came to Nigeria to condemn the 2011 post-election violence.
When Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 American presidential election to Donald Trump, the results were followed by nationwide violent protests for weeks, especially shortly before and after the swearing-in of Donald Trump.
Questions. Despite their civilisation and fair conduct of their elections, why did the voters embark on violent protests in which some people died? Why was no presentation made to American Congress foretelling the violent protests? Why did Hillary Clinton herself not condemn the violence? Did Hillary Clinton, as the loser, necessarily organise the violent protests or it was spontaneous?
Meanwhile, America should keep off Nigeria’s 2019 elections as Nigeria did not interfere in America’s 2016 elections. This is not to say Nigeria’s 2019 elections will be followed by violence. But if violence occurs, Nigerian government will contain it as American government contained the nationwide post-election violence in 2016.
On the home front, whoever may aim at joining violent protests after 2019 elections are advised in their own interest that Nigerian politicians are not worth dying for. In any case, they won’t lose their brothers or children in such violence.
Those who may die are the sons and brothers of somebody else. Poverty is no excuse for anybody or group of people to make themselves sacrificial lambs in post-election violence.
Americans should keep off Nigeria’s elections. In the run-up to the 2015 elections, a former American ambassador in Nigeria, (Mr. Campbell,) gleefully predicted Nigeria’s disintegration after the elections.
It’s futile denying Amnesty report
As expected, Nigerian Army disputed the very accurate report of Amnesty International, which accused soldiers of fueling the killings of farmers by herdsmen in particular parts of the country.
The denial was bad enough but most disturbing was the disgraceful and false charge of the army that, with its report, Amnesty International was out to destabilise Nigeria. If anything, the single potent for distabilisation of Nigeria was the apparent failure of our security forces as law enforcement agents to save defenceless Nigerians from licentious murderous provocateurs, be they fellow Nigerias or foreign invaders operating all over the place. Amnesty International might have been wrong in the past or even inaccurate in the future. But for now Amnesty International is correct and timely in all ramifications of the killings of Nigerians by herdsmen.
Did Nigerians not cry out all along as the killings were going on? Did we not criticise the killings of farmers in Benue State, Adamawa State, Taraba State, Plateau State or even Edo and Delta states? Who were the murderers? Cattle rearers whose leadership openly boasted that it would defy and render ineffective new laws passed by the states concerned to save the lives of citizens.
The situation was most horrifying in Plateau State villages, where inhabitants were always freely and intermittently murdered by the herdsmen. What was the pattern? Most of the time, potential victims would alert the army as often directed on the presence of and imminent attacks of the cattle-rearers. Nothing would be done by the soldiers to ensure the safety of the unarmed farmers/ villagers until after the tragedy materialised. At a stage, this almost became a routine.
Most worrisome, the Federal Government, either out of frustration or playing the ostrich, would describe the murderous cattle-rearers as foreigners from neighbouring countries like Niger, Chad or Cameroons. If true, must we be massacred in our country by these foreign invaders?
This apart, was the impression not created that there was a split in Nigerian government in handling those murderers?
While Federal Government described cattle invaders as foreigners, those assigned by the same Federal Government with the task of protecting our farmers, specifically Minister of Defence and Inspector-General of Police, said the killings, especially in Benue State and Taraba states, were as a result of communal clashes. When the Defence Minister held such parochial view, what message was that supposed to send to army hierardly? The same army hierardy the Commander-in-Chief dispatched to the “war zone” to quell the violence? What is more, the implication of the Defence Minister’s open disagreement with government policy was that the armed foreign invaders deserved equal rights with unarmed Nigerians being killed over their property in their various villages?
Commander-in-Chief Muhammadu Buhari ordered, presumably as a matter of urgency, Inspector-General of Police to relocate to Benue State to quell the killings of unarmed farmers by the invading herdsmen. Days later, Governor Samuel Ortom, whose people were being killed, was later to complain to visiting President Buhari that the IGP was around for only a couple of hours before returning to Abuja. Little wonder that the killings continued. President Buhari responded that he was learning of that for the first time, and promised to investigate. Report of that probe is yet to be released, if submitted at all. In that situation and without the trial let alone conviction of the culprits or those who abandoned their command posts, what could be wrong in the report of Amnesty International? What is more, the reward for military hierarchy was the renewal of their appointment.
Nigerian Army should read the report of Amnesty International again. The accusation is that the army fuelled killings of farmers by cattle men in Nigeria. Against the facts, Amnesty International was, in fact, too mild in its report. And the army had the guts to accuse Amnesty International of destabilising Nigeria? Blatant lie and desperation. On killings of Nigerians by the army, Amnesty International has emerged as the voice of the deceased. There is this culture of blood-thirst, which must be resisted, and only the likes of Amnesty International can assist. Biafran agitators expressed political rights as guaranteed not only in Nigerian Constitution, but also by the United Nations under the principle of self-determination all over the world. The unarmed Biafran agitators were mowed down by Nigerian soldiers in Onitsha and Port Harcourt. Later, some of the survivors of the intermittent massacre were arraigned in court for alleged treason.
How many Shite protesters and demonstrators along Kaduna-Zaria road were killed by Nigerian soldiers?
Why should protests and agitations by Nigerians incur the wrath of our security forces, be they soldiers or policemen? For the sixth consecutive weekend, protesters in France will take to Paris streets this Sunday demanding the end of President Macron’s economic and social policies. So far, the
French leader has dropped the increase in fuel prices and promised to do more. These concessions have not ended the protests and demonstrations. But more remarkable is the fact that, in five weekend protests and agitations, French security and law enforcement agents have not killed a single person.
In contrast, Nigerian soldiers or other security agents would have escalated the crisis with their overzealousness by banning the protests or claiming to have discovered plots by some people to cause mayhem in the country. And at least, some of the protesters would have been shot dead in Nigeria.
Surely, we are under siege with blood being shed like barbarians. Then, there is the desperation of calling for the expulsion of Amnesty International from Nigeria. So that future fatal casualties would be unknown to the world?
When Biafrans were being murdered in Onitsha and Port Harcourt by our security agents, the Shiite religious group could not be bothered. Army then turned on Shites along Kaduna-Zaria road. Number of Shites killed?
Farmers in Benue, Adamawa, Taraba and Plateau were unconcerned. Hence, blood eventually freely flowed with herdsmen as the murderers. Instead of expressing concern, Biafran agitators easily remembered that they buried their dead in Onitsha and Port Harcourt all alone. In all these places, the victims did not kill themselves. Those who believe Nigerians have no rights to protest against grievances, or who preferred the rights of foreign invaders killed the Nigerians. Amnesty International merely narrated and documented tragedies we earlier condemned.