The most important event that Nigerians are currently anticipating is the 2023 general elections when democracy would offer a fresh opportunity to overhaul the government.
However, the growing rate of insecurity in the country has indicated danger ahead of the general elections.
Despite efforts of President Muhammadu Buhari to curtail the ugly trend, bandits and other criminal elements have continued to multiply, posing threats to lives and properties of Nigerians.
More worrisome is the Northern part of the country where banditry has relatively become a ‘lucrative business’.
The era when elections are conducted with everyone adhering strictly to electoral rules is gradually fading away in most parts of the country.
The two run-off elections conducted in Ekiti and Abia State since the spike in insecurity, have signalled danger ahead of the 2023 elections.
Recall the recent bye-election for Ekiti East Constituency which ended abruptly, as thugs opened fire on innocent electorates, leading to the death of three persons, while several others were injured.
Two police officers, an officer of the Federal Road Safety Corps, a corps member and a presiding officer, as well as others were also shot during the mayhem.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Dr Adeniran Tella, subsequently announced that the election was inconclusive owing to the violence that characterised the exercise in some polling units.
NDREPORTERS recalls that Abia State Government before the just concluded Aba North and South Federal Constituency by-election raised the alarm over an alleged influx of hoodlums into the State to cause havoc during the exercise.
Despite the security beefed up in the constituency by the state government in a bid to forestall plans by the hoodlums who were allegedly sponsored by a political party, some polling units still witnessed violence during the exercise.
Voting was disrupted at the Umuola hall polling unit in ward eight due to an explosion that caused tension in the area.
This is even as Mike Ozoemena, a collation officer of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the election, was reportedly abducted by unknown gunmen.
In a similar vein, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State had on March 23 said the 2023 general election may be sabotaged by insecurity if it is not tacked before the election time.
The governor, who was recently attacked by suspected herdsmen, made the expression when he visited President Muhammadu Buhari to brief him on the security situation in Benue.
According to him: “there will be no 2023 elections in Nigeria if insecurity persists”.
A businessman and part-time lecturer in Ben-Poly, Abah Sunday, who spoke to NDREPORTERS from Benue State, accused the Buhari government of deliberately refusing to tackle the security challenges.
According to him, “Based on the rising insecurity in the country, every right-thinking Nigerian needs no soothsayer to know that there is a great danger ahead of the 2023 general elections.
“Let’s not deceive ourselves, the government is capable of curtailing insecurity but it won’t. This is because it enjoys the spoils of the nation’s perennial tragedy.
“The insecurity is to their advantage; that will give them an upper advantage in the elections. They owe the dogs, and they know when, and where to use their dogs.
“They use their dogs to attack whoever they want their dogs to attack. For peace to reign, we must rise above tribalism, religion and politics. We can sincerely fight terrorism if we want. But we are not ready”.
Similarly, a security personnel in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, who does not want to be mentioned in print for fear of victimization told our correspondent that the fight against insurgency in the North and other parts of the country failed to yield good fruits due to corruption in the system.
“The insurgents obviously have sponsors who procure the weapons for them.
“And it may surprise you that the sponsors are Nigerians also complaining of insecurity in many parts of the country,” he added.
However, the Senior Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu on Sunday, assured Nigerians that the current administration was addressing the security issues.
He gave the assurance in a tweet on his official Twitter handle.
The tweet reads: “I want to assure all Nigerians that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is addressing multiple challenges facing the country especially in dealing with insecurity.
“We are making progress in agriculture, economy and anti-corruption which are the key policies which the government and the party vowed to tackle when they came into office.
“It is sad for the country that the opposition is exploiting some of these things, and it’s quite unfortunate, but I want to assure that the President remains focused in preserving the security and unity of this country.”