As I said last Monday, misgovernment at the subnational level poses a greater threat to our democracy than we are programmed to admit. Our hearts are always on the federal government. But we cannot turn a blind eye to the deplorable situation in many states that have failed to provide the necessary legitimacy for democracy as specifically provided for in Chapters 2 and 4 of the 1999 Constitution. .
Meanwhile, some people are still counting the losses suffered at the hands of the previous government. For example, the people of southern Kaduna can only hope and pray that the new governor, Uva Sani, does not consider public safety in his politics, but that is his first responsibility to the people and is guaranteed by the constitution. ing. They should be protected under a democratic government so that they do not want another kind of government in their prayers day and night and do not resort to self-help.
The Constitution of the Federal Republic states that it is the government’s duty to protect its citizens. People in every state are entitled to protection. But Kaduna’s numbers over the past eight years have been terrifying. Even at the end of El-Rufay’s regime, members of the Bazi community had to contend with sabotage forces ordered by the state government. It’s hard to believe that 12 civilians were reportedly killed while trying to defend their homes from bombing teams. In the false euphoria of the 29 May transition, there was some kind of media blackout on this. I don’t know if it was intentional or not, but I don’t think people should die for violating any kind of building code. Even if they trespassed on state property, the crime would not be so serious as to take a life. After all, all land originally belonged to a community before the government acquired it to prioritize the public interest.
At another level, the Southern Kaduna People’s Union (SOKAPU) said 245 communities covering seven of Southern Kaduna’s 12 LGAs have been destroyed since 2016, resulting in more than 10,000 deaths. ing.
The area occupied by bandits and armed pastoralists is said to be about 6,000 square kilometers.
More than 150,000 people live as internally displaced persons (IDPs) and more than 10,000 children have been forced out of school. I know the government has good statistics, but the important thing is that people should be protected in their hometowns and ancestral lands. In this regard, the federal government bears a greater responsibility for turning a blind eye.
The economic impact is that rural areas where cotton, peanuts, sorghum and ginger are grown have been hit hard by insecurity. Taxes that were supposed to go to state governments were lost, livelihoods were lost, and poverty increased.
In Benue, now headed by priest Hyacinth Aria, there are high hopes that the people will never again experience the horrific ethnic cleansing that has been witnessed over the past eight years. According to available records, more than 5,000 people were killed in seven years. Former Governor Samuel Oltom became famous for his frantic ties to the far-flung federal government. The carnage was terrifying and undeniable, even though many on high ground wanted to live in denial.
I pray that Aria, the man of God, will do something about this situation. Benue has been hailed as the number one food basket in Nigeria, but this claim is no longer relevant as farmland has become a burial ground. The able-bodied who cultivated the land are now in camps for internally displaced persons. What this meant, again, was that the rural economy was destroyed and the tax that was supposed to boost the state economy was in ruins. Poverty is on the rise and democracy is in jeopardy.
Aside from being distracted by anxiety, Ortom did not promote any particular governing skill. And his politics were also disastrous. The person who most flaunted his position in front of us was former Rivers Governor Neesom Wyke, also known as Mr. Project. For eight years, Wyke invaded our private spaces and lived in reckless pretentiousness. We’ve grown so familiar with his acerbic voice and unedited demeanor, even with our backs on the TV. He paid a great deal to attract an audience 1300 miles from his territory. Rivers was too small to contain him. A man with ambitions to become Chief of the Federal Republic should have appeared on DSTV 24 hours a day. He made very good use of his space and never lent an inch of it to anyone.
In eight years, Wyke reshaped the political space in Rivers State. The province once surrendered largely to the control of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), where he recorded some of the “best” election results. Its success was not in the hands of one man. Some party officials and members brought campaigns and “battles” to the remote and remote areas where elections were held. 2019 was not so easy for the PDP, but the party managed to contain the All Progressive Congress (APC) and its federal forces. At that time Wyke still had allies such as Uche Secondas, Senator Lee Maeba, Dr. Abie Sequibo, Senator George Sequibo, Sir Celestine Omejia and Austin Opara. It was a complete team.
But in the run-up to the 2023 election, Wyke was at odds with his brothers and allies. He became a one-party dictator, like Benito Mussolini. He became the chief funder and his PDP campaigner, which led to his three-times-a-day sponsored broadcasts to explain his battles and how to deal with his enemies. This is the reason why it was necessary to appear on time. Sometimes he would steal time and space from the clergy during church services and rain curses on his opponents. All expenses are covered by the state.
With no one coming to help him, the damage done to the party was enormous. And the reality of the bimodal voter recognition system (BVAS) was that elections were anything but ordinary for Rivers and other parties everywhere. There are fears and anxieties that the Rivers will likely be overrun by the Labor Party (LP) tsunami, and it is impossible for Wyke’s weakened PDP to get enough votes to form a government without a backdoor operation. The signs were very clear.
Nevertheless, Wyke installed a governor of his own choosing. While we allow electoral courts to screen ballots and weed out fake ballots, we are watching how new party leader Siminalai Hubala collects information. He either opens the door to re-enter the exiled population or continues to expend national resources on unnecessary political struggles. Governors must change their strategies and take more responsibility if democracy is to grow.
The resources that governors have wasted on political significance in the run-up to the 2023 election have yet to be quantified. I want an independent auditor to do the work and demand accountability. We saw Wyke groomed G-5 governors flying around in chartered planes. We watched helplessly as no one was able to give them an order. Their legislatures are as helpless as ordinary citizens, having given up their appropriations to seize the governor’s powers.
Their APC counterparts also gathered here and there to pay tribute to the sick leaders hibernating in foreign hospitals. And they shamelessly advertised pictures of such pilgrimages. We saw crowds of politicians accompanying candidates to Chatham House. Only in Nigeria do citizens accept and celebrate these absurdities. We brazenly squander our resources just to beg for the forgiveness of our debts.