Jos Killings, High Time For Change.
This is in response to the recent politically motivated killings in Jos, Plateau State Nigeria, where over 200 people have been reportedly killed. As usual the government sources put the number of dead people to about 50. In the UK where the writer lives, Sky news reported 200 people dead. Houses, churches, mosque and other properties worth millions of naira were destroyed. As always the case, political violence in the northern parts of Nigeria usually turn into tribal and religious riots.
Now who can tell Nigerians when this kind of killings and political violence will stop? Who can guarantee us when politically motivated riots can stop? The truth is that, there is no end to political violence in Nigeria in as far as our electoral system remains the same. I stand to be corrected.
I strongly believe that had the option A4 system been used in Jos Plateau state, this mayhem would have been avoided. I wasn’t in Jos at the time of the crisis, but suspicion of electoral malpractices between the rival political parties that is, People’s Democratic Party otherwise known as Peoples Destruction Party (PDP) and All Nigerian Peoples Party alias Against Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) were the root cause of this problem. The two rival candidates are not genuine leaders at all, otherwise one of them wouldn’t have been involved with rigging in the first place and the supposedly loser wouldn’t have subscribed to violence. It is because they have a different agenda from true leadership that this crisis happened, otherwise losers should accept failure in good faith and winners rejoice with good heart. It’s a question of winner takes all (greed and looting). If people are genuinely seeking a selfless service to mother land, there wouldn’t be any need for rioting and killing. Am glad Nigerians know the reason behind this.
Nigeria is not new to electoral malpractices and political violence, but are we all going to support the electoral system that guarantees us violence and killings. How many more Nigerians do we want killed through electoral violence before we can ask for change? Where is our civilization, enlightenment, and knowledge? Must we fold our hands and watch this kind of system that will continue to kill Nigerians. Political violence and killings does not know who is a wealthy man or poor man. The high profile politically motivated murders such as late Engineer Funsho Williams (former Lagos state governorship aspirant), Bola Ige (former Nigeria attorney general and minister of Justice), Harry Marshall (former PDP South South Leader), etc are examples of losses accrued from political killings. Can we ever quantify in monetary terms the value of these men and other Nigerians? It’s impossible.
The problem with this kind of Jos killings is that, there will be a multiplier effects or a chain reaction. There are higher chances that these killings might spread to other parts of Northern states in Nigeria if care is not taken. As usually this kind of riots are usually hijacked by criminal elements that will turn it into religious and tribal wars. As soon religion is attached to it, it will spread like wide fire. Innocent people will suffer. Hardworking Nigerians will bear the heaviest burden. A particular section of Nigerians will pay the greatest price, as has always been the case since the 1960’s. The Ibo tribe has paid the costliest price whenever there is a problem in the Northern part of Nigeria. Am sure this Jos crisis would not be an exception. A reprisal attack might likely follow these Jos killings in some South East and South South region as a spill over effect.
Our electoral system in Nigeria is the primary cause of all these problems. Its not transparent, it’s prone to manipulation and abuse. Therefore in the process of cheating, people resort to violence and killings. Now to save Nigeria, is to reform our electoral system so that true leaders can emerge. The present system cannot allow any honest person to emerge. Our electoral system is over due for changes and reformations. The only proven method Nigerians know is the Option A4 electoral process.
Records have it that, there was no single political killing/violence when this method was used. Progressive Nigerians need to join voices and ask for the re-introduction of this electoral method. Let’s go the way of Option A4 method and hence stop electoral violence and killings. If we fail to put an end to political violence, political violence will put to an end the entity called Nigeria.
Finally, let’s not forget that the cost and effects of political violence affects all of us directly or indirectly. An example is, if someone is displace by violence. The victim might never recover to sustain him/herself financially. The victim might become frustrated and hopeless. Such person might end up being a criminal or a hired assassin thereby becoming a threat to the larger society. This is the time to start asking for this change, because a stitch in time saves nine, prevention is better than cure. Please speak out now and join the crusade for change of our electoral system to Option A4. This way, our future will become brighter again. God bless Nigerians.
Your comments, compliments, contributions or criticism of this article will be highly appreciated .Apologies for any grammatical error
Chinedu Vincent Akuta
An activist based in Leicester.