The audacity of hope — The Nation Editorial

Posted by News Express | 2 March 2023 | 333 times

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It is paradoxical that terrorised people could still negotiate with terrorists to allow them vote

Nigeria might have a political class that is not very famous for caring for the people, given the socio-economic situation that Nigerians have faced over the years. To have a population of 133 million Nigerians living under multi-dimensional poverty in 2023 is an eloquent testimony to the dire straits the people are in. However, despite the inconveniences, the average Nigerian still has hope in the democratic system of government.

As Nigeria prepared for the much awaited 2023 general elections, the people were all prepared to use their votes to speak. They started by collecting or dusting their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs). The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) reported that more than 90 million Nigerians registered to vote and more than 87 million eligible voters collected their PVCs, which in a way is a ticket to vote. So, on the part of the electorate, most of them took the necessary steps to qualify them to vote, thereby having a say in who governs them from the state to the federal levels.

For the people of Birnin-Gwari community in Kaduna State, their sense of citizenship and patriotism inspired their negotiating with terrorist gangs that have terrorised their communities in the last few years. Most of them have lost their farm lands, most of them have lost their relations, and some have been maimed or even killed.  At some point, there were reports that the terror gangs demanded payments from the largely agrarian community for them to farm on their lands. Some were even forced to work for the terrorists as slave labourers just to be spared from either being kidnapped or killed.

In what we see as government’s failure in its fundamental duty to the citizens, that of caring for the welfare of the people and protection of their property, the people of Birnin-Gwari, having been inundated with threats of no election in their communities by the criminal gangs had to negotiate with them so that they (the terrorists) could allow them to vote during the 2023 elections. Chairman of Birnin-Gwari Emirate Progressive Union (BEPU), said that their 11 political wards had been facing terrorist attacks but they are determined to exercise their civic responsibility on election days. The security challenges they had faced have affected all sectors of their lives, and displaced about 50,000 of them.

Source: News Express

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