Considering the body language of the government despite the outcry by many that the February 25th presidential election was rigged in favour of the ruling party, amid calls for rerun, it seems the government is going ahead with the May 29th inauguration.
For many, that will amount to installation of an illegitimate government.
Probably, that is top among the reasons some politicians and their parties that are insisting on reclaiming the mandate at the recently concluded general elections are heating up the political scene to pave way for anarchy.
The unguided utterances by the opossition parties are likely due to their frustration at the turn of events at the polls and need to reclaim their mandate, pundits said.
But, the rulling party, despite being hopeful of retaining power on May 29th, seems to be heating up the political scene more with toxic utterances and divisive actions.
According to some politics and public affairs pundits, the same scenario playing out before the May 29th presidential inauguration happened in 2015 when the opposition then, promised to make Nigeria ungovernable if Goodluck Jonathan, the then president, refused to declare them winner or handover to them.
“Nigeria has recorded the worst insecurity in her history as a country under this government because the mercenaries they deployed in 2015 ended up making their administration ungovernable. The north-west and north-east are bearing the brunt, including my village in Langtan. So, the politicians that are heating up the polity now, learnt it from the ruling party,” Bulus Danjuma, a Plateau State born retired senior security officer, said.
For the retiree, who now runs private security for estates and companies in Abuja and Kaduna, the ultimate aim of the actors is to incite, ensue anarchy and prompt the installation of an interim government, which President Muhammadu Buhari will hand over to on May 29th.
Trailing the current turbulent political landscape, Chjioke Umelahi, an Abuja-based lawyer, recalled that before and during the presidential campaign, Nigerians witnessed many unguided comments and divisive actions by the ruling party, its presidential candidate, the campaign team and supporters and the opposition is following that trend to possibly thwart the inauguration on May 29th.
“Before and during the presidential election campaign, the rulling party and its presidential candidate vehemently told Nigerians their stand and that was why many voted against them. They will not stop to utter more divisive comments, they are even getting worse as the inauguration gets closer and I see huge onslaught on the opposition and the masses who did not vote for them after the inauguration,” Umelahi disclosed.
According to the former Abia lawmaker, the polity will keep heating up because majority are dissatisfied with the manner the INEC conducted the elections, the obvious rigging and lack of confidence in the judiciary to rescue the situation.
“I think the only option in the fear of not getting justice from the court is to set the political scene on fire, cause anarchy and get justice from the jungle. There is a possibility of an intervention from the ‘usual source’ and hope is not lost for Nigeria,” Umelahi assured.
But Onyewuchi Akagbule, a senior lecturer at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, noted that the heated scene is the tradition of aftermath elections in Nigeria as parties, even when the election is relatively free and fair, will always contest the results.
“If no party is contesting the result of the election, the scene would have been calm. But I think those contesting the result have solid grounds and if the judiciary would be fair enough, Nigeria will have a new government with a different mindset and approach to development and addressing insecurity in the country,” he said.
Speaking further, the History and Anthropology lecturer, noted that the heating up of the political scene is part of politicking, but should be strategic in achieving masses-oriented results than causing anarchy.
“What has happened is like denying someone with very high UME scores admission in a state university where his from. The prospective undergraduate has right to fight to reclaim his admission and that may expose the rot in the system. So, the truly offended are throwing stones from every corner and it is expected. But those who allegedly offended them seem to be throwing more stones now,” Akagbule said.
According to the pundits, the issue will continue even after the inauguration considering the obvious signs that the incoming administration will be vengeful.
“I think Nigerians should hold the INEC and the judiciary accountable for any form of illegitimacy in government because most Nigerians voted for change on February 25th, but are now helpless at the turn of events today,” one of them concluded.
The ruling party, through the Minister of Information, Lai Muhammmed some days ago also accused the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi of treason.
The Minister said Obi was sponsoring protests against the current country, in an attempts to destabilize Nigeria and cause tension ahead of the handover date.
The allegation has been denied by the Obi and his media handler vehemently.
But the opposition parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has stated that it would not be intimidated by the ruling party’s allegation.
With the swearing in of the new President in the next few weeks, observers say that the current situation must not be allowed to aggravate, while the President-elect must truly begin the process of reconciliation among opposition candidates.
They said the conscious efforts must be made by stakeholders to unite the country and amid growing ethnic tension and citizens distrust toward the state.
A recent report by the Africa Polling Institute (API), with the support of Ford Foundation indicated that Nigeria is not as socially cohesive as it ought to be. The survey findings report growing citizens distrust towards the state and fellow citizens; as well as a proclivity towards ethnicity over nationalism.
It also reports that the country has become more divided today than it was four years ago, as observed by 65% of citizens interviewed; representing a whopping 20-points increase from 2019’s score of 45percent.
There’s evidence to suggest that the country has become more divided along ethnic, socio-economic, political and religious lines, thereby threatening the social fabric, unity and peaceful co-existence of the country.
There’s need for more proactive action on the part of government and stakeholders to promote peaceful co-existence, stability, inclusion and hope in Nigeria.
Speaking few days ago, former President, Olusegun Obasanjo lamented the deteriorating state of Nigeria, saying the country is presently more divided and corroded than what leaders of thought had in mind.
He said there was the need for a conscious process of national reconciliation among leaders across the country.
According to him, “One, given what we saw during the election, Nigeria is now even more divided and more corroded than we thought. This places a deep onus on any administration following the current one to urgently facilitate the process of national moral rearmament and national reconciliation that will assuage the youths.
“This must be done in sync with the imperative of national value orientation that Nigeria requires to build a collective sense of enduring and local values and national belonging.
Similarly, Public Affairs Analyst and Lawyer, Idowu Omolegan said the tension in the country was occasioned by the refusal of the ruling party and some politicians to tolerate opposition.
He said the it was clear the top government officials and members of the President-elect’s inner circle do not want Nigerians to express their views about the conduct of the 2023 poll.
He criticised the Minister of Information and the media handlers of the President -elect for making statements that was capable of causing confusion and more division in the polity.
According to Omolegan, “I don’t believe this guys when they talk anymore. The Minister went to the international community saying Obi has done this and that, even without evidence and due investigation.
“Nigerians can protest, peaceful one at that, I have not seen anything to show that we have had anything above that. It is wrong for you to say, Obi sent them, these are Nigerians who are not happy with the way the presidential election was conducted and you can’t silence them because they are not saying what you like.
“The verbal attacks and character assassination we have seen in the last few days is not healthy for our democracy and can’t take us anywhere.
“Our politicians should learn from the past and allow the courts to determine the cases before them.
“The candidates who lost in the presidential election are now in court, I would have expected them to start asking questions.
“Part of the question should be why the tribunal is yet to start hearing their cases?”
Also speaking, political analyst, Tolu Ogundimu condemned the increasing verbal attacks and media war among politicians against themselves since the results of the general election was announced, noting that it was capable of derailing the nation’s democracy.
The analyst said it was obvious that there were deliberate moves to silence and weaken the opposition, with false allegations.
He charged politicians to put the country first in their actions.
He said: “You can see what is happening, today it is treason, tomorrow it is interim government. I find all this amusing. It is only in Nigeria this can happen, if some people are planing something why not make arrest, rather than come to the media to shout.
“Let me say that what we have seen in the last few days is a calculated move to silence the opposition. You can see the trouble LP is going through nationally, it is a ploy. But I think politicians should put the country first rather than their personal interest and the kind of people we have now would not do that.”