……says Nigeria losing more territories to terrorists
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, a University Lecturer and Director, Centre for Democratic Development, Research and Training, Zaria, Prof. Abubakar Siddique Mohammed has expressed fear that election may not hold in some parts of the country due to rising insecurity.
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.
He stated this 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.
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 ideologically inclined are moving in. They want to force nigerians into their ideologies. They are winning more territories. The bandits are criminals, only interested in money and not the territory. The other group are not interested in money but territories. And it is going to be difficult because they believe in their own course.
“I’m not 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 said.
Speaking on the theme of event, “Party Politics and Electoral Violence in Nigeria,” Prof. Mohammed said that the colonial masters deliberately institutionalized against NEPU.
“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 extremists 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 to this phase of the political history of Nigeria. What is more disturbing is the fact that the culture of political and election violence continue to persist in Nigeria. Successive governments have tried to address this problem,” Prof. Mohammed stated.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, BUK, Prof. Sagir Adamu Abbas said 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 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. Unlike NEPU, the present political parties are neither defined by ideologies nor are they supreme in organizational terms. One of the key challenges of party politics in Nigeria is poverty of ideology.
“As important institutions of democracy, political parties should draw lessons from the ideals of founding fathers of NEPU. This party was unique in its ideological foundation and struggle and it differed immensely from other political parties of it’s time and later years,” Prof. Abbas however stated.