Blood In Politics: Jos like Kenya!

by L.Chinedu Arizona-Ogwu

I sat dumbfounded as I watched Jos being set on fire with innocent Nigerians being massacred. Signs of rigged election! Jos like Kenya!! Aggrieved youths protest the result of the local government elections. If Iwu’s INEC can recite his statement on Nigerians 2007 polls and that of the united States voters result comparisons despite seeing Obama through to the white house, one would wonder why Chief Maurice Iwu’s controversial claims continue to brutalize and blood-let ordinary Nigerians up till now. Can Maurice Iwu reason that Nigeria’s greatness can be put in a simple and single wording: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope?

Democracy is not immutable. The institutions of democracy are fragile in the sense that they take a long time to build up but can collapse significantly more quickly, not least through violence. However, de-democratization can also creep forward, by small but conscious adjustments of important details of the structures. Without anyone really wanting it to happen, the institutions of democracy can thus lose their efficacy and their norms. This can take place by critical development being neglected or by political representatives consciously or recklessly misusing the confidence of citizens.

Politics must also realize its limitations and concentrate its work on areas where these values and control systems are superior to those of the market, civil society and the family. We must be able to expect mutual respect both by political representatives and, for example, of business on the basis of a realization that both benefit from the proper operation of the other system. Representatives of politics and finance must at various levels intensify their efforts to conduct a dialogue with mutual respect.

The electoral process itself deserves particular attention. A non-partisan neutral Nigerian does not trust the INEC procedure as it has not been reformed according to democratic standards. The election for the chairmanship seat of the Jos North Local Government Area held between Timothy Buba of the PDP and Aminu Baba of the ANPP. It was in anticipation of the release of the result of the election that fighting broke out between the opposing Muslim and Christians. The PDP candidate is a Christian, while Aminu Baba is a muslim. The Jos North LGA has become the most volatile political area in Plateau state of recent, due to the high population of Hausa and indigenous birom people fighting for political supremacy.

The fight transformed between the birom, mainly Christians, and the Hausa Muslims. The crisis broke out when some Muslim youths set ablaze St. Theresa’s Church, on Ahmadu Bello Way, maimed people, made bonfires and roadblocks. Many people have been killed in the uprising, but causality figure was not yet determined. Mosques, churches, residential and commercial buildings were also razed by the rioters. The areas most affected by the uprising are Gada Biu, Tudun Wada, and Katakwo. This is one of the things wrong with Nigeria. We elect officials not based on what they can do or what they’ve done but based on their religion and tribe. We refuse to be tolerant of one another. It’s just a local government election and we all know that local government chairman make little impact on the community so why the fighting?

Regret is a funny thing. When you’re young you constantly think in terms of how taking a chance will lead to future regret. Then when you get older you realize that the only thing you regret is not taking that chance. Why must Christianity run into the Politics of PDP and why should ANPP view politics as a religious dichotomy? If things go by this way, President Yar’Adua is a core Muslim and a PDP leader. What then connects this controversial election with massacre of already suffering Nigerians who gain nothing but pains from this government? Dud Votes! Dead Nigerians! All for the ruling party, who live by a name (executive) Powers Destroying People (PDP) to achieve what they understand as the unachievable. Recite, the Bayelsa re-run election, review the Cross River re-run poll, rewind Adamawa election, back-check that election in Sokoto and tell me your inference.

Are political systems related to collective violence and war? This is now fundamentally answered in one of three ways: yes, democracies are least violence prone; yes, civil society equalitarianism assures peace; and no, political systems and violence are unrelated. Recent theoretical and empirical research confirms the first answer: those political systems that maximize and guarantee individual freedom (democracies) are least violence prone; those that maximize the subordination of all individual behavior to state control (totalitarian systems) the most, whether socialist or not; and wars do not occur between democracies. If these were the citizens this government promised to protect…and they sent more military troops. To kill, maim and barricade the city on hostage in order to make “peace”. But I hardly see where peace is brought by gun and bazookas.

Perhaps the most surprising finding is that the less democratic a government, the more likely it will kill its own citizens in cold blood, independent of any foreign or domestic war. Now, riot is not the most deadly form of violence. Indeed, while about 30 thousand people have been killed in battle in Jos riot, at least 20 million Nigerians have been killed by government genocide, massacres, and other mass killing. And about 10 million of these were killed by the military governments (as many as 6 million by Abacha/IBB/Obasanjo government). There is no case of democracies killing en masse their own citizens.

Unrest in Plateau state has in the past triggered reprisal attacks between different ethnic and religious groups in other parts of Nigeria, this government must explain her security policy to all of us. Sometime, in 2001, the same type of incident claimed over hundreds of lives inside ethnic-religious fighting in the same Jos. Hundreds more died in 2004 in clashes in Yelwa, also in Plateau Sate, leading former President Olusegun Obasanjo to declare an emergency. Youths protesting over the local government election in Jos North Local Government trooped out early in the morning to protest. The youths attacked people and set private and public buildings on fire. The violence swallowed Zaria road, Jenta, Congo Russia area of a part of Nassarawa. Students were killed within Farin Gada area along Bauchi road by this said “protesting youths”.

After all, underlings often take their cues for both their actions and attitudes from their president and commander-in-chief, do they not? What, then, can we expect from a President who believes himself to be above the laws and Constitution of our country? What can we expect from a Vice President who not only challenges the constraints of constitutional government, but who strains the limits of imagination when he (with a straight face, no less) dares to proclaim that he is exempt from congressional scrutiny, because he is not part of the executive branch of government?

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1 comment December 4, 2008 - 6:13 pm

Islam and Christianity followers in Jos, Plateau State with time again at each other this time using newly adopted western form of governance-‘democracy,’ as unconscious weapon of choice. While friends who are political science experts and I have constantly differs in the Nigerian democracy our parents adopted is visionless, because public administration was curved out of political science as it does not encourage setting ethical standards. I further correlated that their parents did same by importing Islam and Christianity now as continues weapons for genocide. The proper way for Africans regains unconscious self in the 21st century is to revise to the theisms and traditional governance our ancestors abundant, for our future. We’re all in trouble with the adopted threefold. Excellent observation!


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