21st March, 2011
The usual violence before, during and after the nationâ€™s elections has again reared its ugly head. Politicians have been arming their supporters to attack perceived enemies and opponents in next monthâ€™s polls.
Recently, the Transition Monitoring Group and several other Nigerians raised alarm over the danger posed by violence to the general elections.
All over the country, the political campaign have been characterised by violence, death, intolerance, poor crowd control and all manner of setbacks.
Political rallies have become battlefields where the ruling Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party, PDP, shows its might. As the elections draw nearer, the rate of violent attacks have become worrisome. This becomes more dangerous following last weekâ€™s warning by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, that those who loved themselves should stay away from political rallies in some states of the federation.
Last month, during the presidential rally in Port Harcourt, there was a stampede, the cause of which is yet to be ascertained, during which a number of Nigerians lost their lives. Early this month, rival political groups clashed in Ibadan, Oyo State, and several people were injured.
The PDP rally in Suleja, Niger State, also ended in injury and loss of lives when a bomb went off.The Gombe Secretariat of the PDP was also destroyed by unidentified persons.
We have noted with dismay that opposition parties have been antagonised by the PDP in virtually all states of the federation. The CPC has on several occasions, complained that its campaign plans were being frustrated by the PDP just as the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, has also complained of intimidation by the ruling PDP. It seems thereâ€™s no end to these state-sponsored violence.
We appreciate the move by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, which warned state governments to stop the intolerance or face the wrath of INEC.
Chairman of INEC, Attahiru Jega said INEC reserves the right to bring such people to probity and mete out appropriate punitive measures.
We hope the culprits would heed the warning as violence begets violence. If the opposition decides to retaliate, we may be in for a very violent election.