Nigerian elections continue to be marred by extensive violence. National election processes are mangled by pre-election violence. Our elections have history of violent local relations connected with which party should control power in the state. Electoral polarization is fueled by ethno-religious divisions and facilitated by escalation of violence by local social and political networks of political thugs paid to disrupt the voting process.
We say we practice democracy, yet the underlying logic of our politics does not reflect such. Power and resources are still largely concentrated in the hands of few cabals dominated by ethnic bigots, thus raising the stakes of elections. In a country where the winner takes all and the loser is left with nothing, in a country where election is politicized and polluted with stolen treasury money, the big whales and sharks of the Old Brigade of Thieves would do anything to protect their interests.
Because of the immense benefits better still, immense looting, to be gained from the control over the executive office, and the high costs often associated with electoral loss, the stakes to achieve electoral victory through violence becomes higher. Consequently, the ways in which candidates and political parties seek to influence electoral outcomes and processes in Nigeria have become violent, deadly, diabolical, and full of blood letting.
In 2011, President Muhammadu Buhari incited his supporters to take to violence in northern Nigeria after 2011 presidential election. That year, he lost the democratic election but achieved his dream of violence. He refused to condemn post-election violence. The Red Cross reported that thousands of people were killed in the north and many displaced in the 2011 post-election violence. As a serial election loser, in 2015, Buhari threatened that “If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood.” In 2019 in his pre-election speech, he ordered the military and the police to shoot any ballot box snatchers.
As expected, the locals armed with the Commander-in-Chief marching order, capitalized on it and turned the electoral process into a killing exercise. One Demola who was allegedly responsible for snatching ballot boxes was apprehended, stoned, and burnt with his motorcycle. In Amukpe near Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State, three people were killed when thugs of APC and PDP shoot at voters. The list keeps growing by the day.
The four-year term of President Buhari has been nothing but management of savagery. The country has been oscillating between chaos and crisis, violence and killings, insecurity and instability. Buhari didn’t see anything wrong with the anarchy in the country. He didn’t take decisive action to stem the tide of violence and killings. Indeed, Buhari didn’t give a damn! When Boko Haram and Buhari’s kinsmen herdsmen beheaded believers, children, farmers, women, wiping out communities, destroying farms and people’s livelihood, Buhari was more concerned for the life of cows than citizens. He didn’t order the military and the police to shoot at sight Boko Haram and herdsmen terrorists.
President Buhari has proven over and over again that he is too morally stunted to end ethno-religious cleansing, Boko Haram terrorism, and uniting this three nations – Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa – hostile, separate, and unequal. Under President Buhari, our personal freedom has been taken away. Our splendid culture and our jealously guarded values and morals have been destroyed and replaced with a mindless barbarism. The disturbing and painful irony of it all is that Nigerians especially those at the receiving end of Buhari’s reign of terror, don’t seem to feel they were being tortured, impoverished, cowed, and held down by unscrupulous aging tyrant. On the contrary, they support him with genuine enthusiasm, and they endorsed his evil and barbaric ways of governance. Nigeria is a nation of idiots and evil leaders.