Following last Wednesday’s invasion of the Nigerian Senate by a group of suspected thugs, who carted away the mace during plenary session, anxiety has gripped foreign missions in Nigeria over the 2019 elections as signs emerge that the general elections may trigger violence that could truncate democracy anddestabilise the country.
A source from one of the African missions in the country confirmed this to BusinessDay at the weekend, stressing that the foreign missions following intelligence reports are apprehensive, due to the behaviour of the Nigerian politicians especially as they heat up the polity with unguarded and hate-filled utterances. The source added that the pervasive killings allegedly perpetrated by the Fulani herdsmen appear to be another prelude to anarchy.
The source added that the belligerent attitudes of the main opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) towards the election coupled with the division of Nigerians along regional, ethnic and religious lines may well spell trouble during the election especially the presidential election.
“We are worried that the Nigerian politicians are in their belligerent dispositions, which depict some threatening situation especially now that there are widespread and unchecked killings across the country by armed gangs who may be recruited to cause mayhem. If the hallowed chamber of the Senate can be invaded by hoodlums who took away its symbol of authority in full glare of security agencies almost unchallenged and up till now the hoodlums’ have not been uncovered, then the situation is really disturbing’’ the source said.
Reacting to the killings across the country, another source from one of the European missions, who preferred anonymity, told BusinessDay that his country and many others in Nigeria are worried about the elections following intelligence reports that some foreign mercenaries have allegedly invaded the country to cause mayhem if certain candidates are not elected.
Incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, has declared his intention to seek reelection in 2019, under the platform of the APC, but he is facing unprecedented opposition from different quarters, who are bent on unseating him over what they claimed are his multiple failures. Buhari is also accused of clannishness and nepotism following his alleged lopsided appointment favouring his Fulani kinsmen and people from northern Nigeria.
Buhari’s former colleagues in the Nigerian Army and former leaders have also shown overt intentions to stop him from clinching the coveted seat in 2019. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former military President Ibrahim Babangida in separate letters severely criticised Buhari over his poor handling of the economy and his inability to curb the killings allegedly perpetrated by the Fulani herdsmen.
And recently another prominent Nigerian and a former Chief of Army Staff, Theophilus Danjuma, accused the military of colluding with the killer herdsmen, which is seen as a direct indictment on President Muhammadu Buhari. Danjuma has allegedly threatened to deploy resources to depose President Buhari.
There are other coalition of political parties and political movements such as Obasanjo’s inspired Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM), the Nigeria Intervention Movement (NIM), the Red Card Movement among others, who are committed to dislodging the APC and Buhari in 2019.
Innocent Odoh, Abuja