In the last couple of years, Nigeria has had a multitude of problems to contend with. With failed leadership and docile followership creating the perfect environment for dysfunction to thrive, the country has become a theatre for all manner of difficulties.
Nigeria`s poor have only continued to increase in number thanks to shocking government policies and incompetence. Corruption has also been on the rise. In fact, there is a strong suspicion that in the last seven years, corruption has only taken on other less recognizable yet pernicious forms in spite of the anti-corruption rhetoric of the current administration. Nigeria`s experience in recent years has been that of lurching from one problem to the other.
An atmosphere of insecurity.
Nigerians are a resilient bunch. In recent years, they have shown that they can weather storm after storm. In the last couple of years, Nigerians have shown that they can adapt to whatever is thrown at them. Yet, in the last couple of years, one challenge has proven more formidable than others: insecurity.
Nigerians have stayed in their homes only to be attacked. Kids have gone to school only to be picked off from their schools by criminals. People have gone to different places of worship to exercise their right to freedom of religion and have been slaughtered. Markets have been attacked, security outposts have been attacked, many public buildings have been attacked.
Travellers have also been attacked. People have been attacked, killed or abducted no matter the means of transportation employed. These constant attacks have reinforced the atmosphere of insecurity which has been around the country for many years, going on to naturally beg the question whether Nigeria has failed or not.
With the 2023 general elections a matter of months away, conversations have turned to one of democracy`s greatest gift: the gift of choice and the opportunity Nigerians will have at the polls to elect those who will work with them to steer the country in the right direction.
But will insecurity permit? The Independent National Electoral Commission recently raised the alarm that the pernicious activities of non-state actors were threatening the conduct of elections in about 686 in 90 Local Government Areas(LGAs) across 18 states.
According to the commission, the North accounts for 90% of the affected communities with 336 in the North-west, with Zamfara accounting for about 200 of them. In the North-east, 168 communities were identified as red zones. In the North-central,114 wards were identified; 55 were identified in the Southeast and 10 in the South-west. By all standards, this is troubling.
Insecurity often has the capacity to alter lives and livelihoods. With the disintegration of the security architecture in Nigeria in the last few years, it was always going to be a challenge to conduct any exercise as national as elections.
It is not just the elections proper that will be affected. On Wednesday September 28, 2022, campaigns for the elections were officially declared open. But there is no gainsaying that many areas in country will be no go areas for the political gladiators and their supporters. With the uncertainty insecurity will create, it is also not farfetched to conclude that things will be made easier for those who have designs on rigging the election.
Insecurity has cost Nigerians so much in the last couple of years. With the spanner it is about to throw in the works of the elections next year, it may just be about to claim its greatest scalp yet.