In a current broadcast, the Peoples Democratic Social gathering presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, talked about that almost all of those that would vote for him will not be on social media. Throughout his interview with Come up TV final Friday, Atiku famous that 90 per cent of the individuals comprising his political base, the Northern area of Nigeria, don’t use social media. This silent majority is his joker in comparison with his Labour Social gathering opponent’s on-line following. Some individuals made predictable noises about Atiku’s declare, however the man was hardly fallacious. In keeping with knowledge supplier Statista, solely about 53 million of us at the moment use social media. That’s a few quarter of the projected 200 million inhabitants of Nigeria.
Whereas a big chunk of northerners may not be on social media, lots of them additionally don’t vote if we go by the statistics of the final two presidential elections. In 2019, all of the votes forged to elect the President had been a mere 28.6 million—lower than 15 per cent of the nation. Regardless of all of the hype a few mammoth crowd of northerners who bounce out on election day to dutifully vote, we don’t document as much as 50 per cent turnout of registered voters. Even the election that introduced the incumbent President, Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to workplace in 2015 didn’t witness a exceptional turnout. For all of the fanatical love they are saying the North has for Buhari, and their putative tendency to indicate up on the polls for his or her regional politicians, the votes had been low relative to their estimated inhabitants. Both the nation’s inhabitants is exaggerated, or individuals simply do not need sufficient religion in democracy to expend their energies on the method.
Days in the past, after watching the BBC Africa documentary on banditry in locations like Zamfara and Sokoto, I puzzled how lots of the 90 per cent Atiku is banking on to indicate up for him on election day have voting on their record of priorities. The northerners I noticed within the documentary look traumatised and beleaguered; helpless victims of a dysfunctional nation. The documentary narrated the story of a area hard-pressed by more and more hostile environmental circumstances, the concomitant hardship reminiscent of communal clashes between farmers and herders, and the inevitable descent into criminality as individuals strove for survival. Watching the documentaries, you study that many hundreds of individuals had been killed. The hundreds of these alive bear the trauma of violence and grapple with rage, grief, and survivor guilt.
Some months in the past, TrustTV printed the same documentary, and it was simply as insightful. Between BBC Africa and TrustTV’s daring foray into the enclaves of the bandits, we see the tales of a individuals besieged. Even youngsters, born in the midst of a conflict they didn’t ask for, combat for his or her expensive lives. Amidst the monstrosity of violence and displacement, one nonetheless sees the pressure of human resilience within the actions of courageous mother and father/guardians instructing youngsters their schoolwork since they will not go to high school because of the state of insecurity. They handle to maintain the lights within the minds of their youngsters turned on regardless of every part. A number of instances throughout the documentary, I puzzled if these persons are part of Atiku’s 90 per cent rely. It could be ridiculous to ask them if they’ve thought-about voting both Atiku or his opponents.
All through the varied narrations of the individuals within the BBC documentary, one struggles to apprehend heroes from the villains. From the legal sovereigns whom we name bandits—the linguistic registers we’ve utilized don’t aptly seize what they symbolize—to the vigilantes repelling assaults and typically finishing up reprisals, to the Nigerian troopers and police braving the conflict and whose roles as saviours and executors often collapse, life is complicated. The bandits interviewed within the two documentaries had been totally different, however they shared comparable tales of an ever-decimating high quality of life, social injustice, and disenchantment with the rudderless nature of the Nigerian state. Their tales don’t justify their maniac violence towards poor and harmless individuals. There isn’t any circumstance underneath which we are going to acquit the blood on their arms and the struggling they’ve brought about. Nonetheless, one can be aware that their bitterness towards the nation coheres with that of hundreds of thousands of younger individuals in different areas of the nation the place violence has grow to be endemic. The issues have the same sample of Nigeria failing Nigerians; a forewarning that the night time would possibly get even darker if we don’t get up.
At one finish of the spectrum of Nigeria’s issues is the band of youths additionally braving every kind of center passages to depart the nation earlier than they’re totally enveloped in darkness, and on the different are those that can not go away however put their resilience into motion by taking to criminality as an occupation. In keeping with one of many bandits interviewed, what they do is now massive enterprise. The extra money these bandits are paid as ransom, the broader they increase their enterprise by procuring extra weapons, and the extra intricate the net of conspiracy towards Nigeria will get woven. An abduction of faculty youngsters that one bandit group carried out netted a whopping N60m. One may diligently put in 35 years of meritorious service into the civil service and nonetheless not come near 1 / 4 of that quantity. These younger males have tasted blood, discovered a straightforward means to free-flowing cash, and their conscience is useless. There isn’t any single or easy resolution to the disaster, but the state of affairs wants arrest earlier than the youngsters at the moment being traumatised by the violence and the displacement flip into one other technology of killers. As we speak’s bandits had been yesterday’s uncared for youngsters.
From the look of issues, our leaders have run the bounds of their wits in tackling these issues. Unused to the artwork of social reengineering, they appease the criminals by providing cash, amnesty, and different types of pacification. A senator as soon as sponsored a invoice proposing to ship repentant bandits to high school overseas. The Emir of Birnin ’Yandoto in Zamfara, Aliyu Marafa, turbaned Ado Alero, a bandit kingpin at the moment on Katsina State police record of wished criminals. The Emir should have assumed that ennobling a person like that with a chieftaincy title would put him on the aspect of the individuals, however these measures solely work within the brief time period. Whereas every state should work out its personal salvation, Nigeria nonetheless must urgently vogue out an overarching agenda that may confront issues of desert encroachment and different fallouts of environmental modifications inflicting rigidity in these rural areas. We want reforms and assets in any respect ranges of society.
The information about yet one more gunmen assault within the Federal Capital Territory on Tuesday got here in simply across the time I completed watching the documentary. This time, they hit the presidential guards and killed eight of them. The violent assaults which were happening in all places within the nation are lodging itself within the nation’s capital. It’s an unlucky improvement that highlights how a lot the debates round subsequent 12 months’s elections have been considerably missing. Folks have wasted worthwhile time hyperventilating over a Muslim-Muslim ticket when the starvation and ache assaulting us is irreligious. The tougher the circumstances within the nation get, the extra the insecurity state of affairs worsens. Our presidential candidates want to begin developing with concrete agenda to resolve the myriad issues of insecurity and the failing economic system. Sufficient of ‘agbado and cassava’ economics; a ‘demand and consumption’ ideology with little bearing on the truth of the individuals who have bought their farms to ransom themselves and their youngsters from abductors.The challenges forward of us are huge; we’d like a management that may systematically enhance life for all Nigerians.
Mockingly, some Fulanis within the BBC Africa documentary complained of marginalisation, saying they’re poor victims of Hausas’ nepotism. In the event you ask the Hausas (and the a number of ethnicities that represent northern Nigeria) for his or her aspect of the story, I’m virtually assured they’ll share comparable grievances. Sadly for the Fulanis, their southern counterparts consider them because the oppressors. They think about that the Hausa-Fulani (at all times categorised as a singular identification) get pleasure from some advantages as a result of they share ethnicity with the present occupant of Aso Rock. I ponder what the ‘Fulanisation agenda’ means to these Fulani and the bandits amongst them who assume they’re victimised due to their ethnicity.
Come to consider it, virtually each Nigerian group alleges marginalisation. One wonders, for whom has this Nigerian contraption ever paid off? From the North to South, we’ve been equal victims of a perennially irresponsible, corrupt, and radically evil management. Who even will get any profit from being Nigerians? The apparatchiks of darkness begging for our votes needs to be begging for our forgiveness for a way they’ve decimated us.