Elections, terrorism and 2022 in retrospect
Nearly 645 people lost their lives in diverse circumstances across Kaduna State in the first six months of 2022. Speaking under the aegis of Southern Kaduna Peoples Union (SOKAPU), the then acting President of SOKAPU Awemi Dio Maisamari had stated that the terrorists had not only captured and occupied Kaduna State but had been “running the government’ in the State since 2019. He lamented that most rural communities and villages in Kaduna State especially in Chikun, Kajuru, Kachia, Zangon Kataf, Kauru, Lere, Birnin Gwari and Giwa Local Councils had not only been deserted but occupied by the religious terrorists.
The Catholic Church tearfully will not forget the year 2022 in a hurry. In 2022 alone, 39 Catholic Priests were murdered and 30 abducted in Nigeria by terrorists. However Sahara Reporters reports that 145 Catholics priests were killed in 2022. Only God knows the number of Catholic Priests who would be murdered in 2023. Already one Catholic Priest has been murdered on January 15 2023. In fact, on January 14, 2023, Fr. Michael Olofinlade, a Catholic priest in Omu Ekiti, Oye Local Government, Ekiti State was kidnapped.
On May 12, 2022, Deborah Samuel Yakubu, a second-year Christian college student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto (SSCOE), was stoned to death and set on fire in a barbaric manner by some fanatical Muslim students of the same SSCOE for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammed (Peace be on him). The murder was facilitated by some Islamic scholars, despite condemnation from the Sultan of Sokoto and calls for justice from members of the public. Abubakar Atiku initially condemned the murder on Twitter, but later deleted the tweet obviously owing to the fear of losing Northern Muslim votes in the upcoming presidential election.
Atiku’s ambition to become president is seen as prioritised over the value of human life. As far as Atiku is concerned, his vaulting ambition to become President takes precedence over the preciousness of human life. If there is anything that would make Atiku lose many votes on February 25 2023, it is putting his ambition to become President over and above the sanctity and inviolability of human life.
On June 5, 2022, the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), a splinter group of Boko Haram, carried out a planned terrorist attack on St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, Nigeria, killing about 50 worshippers and injuring many more. On January 7, 2013, over 22 passengers, including some Nigerian Railway Corporation employees, were abducted from Igueben Train Station in Edo Central, Edo State, by kidnappers. On January 15, 2023, Rev. Fr. Isaac Achi, who had survived three previous terrorist attacks, was killed when terrorists set his house on fire ostensibly owing to their inability to gain entrance into the house. Shortly after the murder of Fr. Achi, some terrorists abducted Mr. Kefa Ishaya, a Catechist of St. Monica Catholic Church, Ikuru-Pari, in Chawai Chiefdom, Kauru Local government Council, Kaduna State.
The terrorists actually came to kidnap Fr. Joseph Shekari but when they could not find the priest because he had traveled, they now descended on the poor Catchiest and kidnapped him. It will be recalled that Fr. Shekari was first abducted by the terrorists in February 2022. The terrorists even killed his cook in that operation. But Fr. Shekari later regained his freedom after a day in captivity, of course, upon the payment of ransom. But in January 2023 the same terrorists or another set of terrorists came looking for the same Fr. Shekari but fortunately the poor priest had travelled living behind his Catechist whom the terrorists abducted.
I have written the foregoing not to scare you or create false fear, but to bring attention to the waste of human lives in Nigeria over the past seven and a half years. You have the right to express yourself and vote for whoever you choose in the 2023 elections. However, I advise you to not make the mistakes which could harm your future and that of your children and grandchildren. To be forewarned is to be forearmed.
Don’t trade your birthright for temporary gains. Allowing strangers and terrorists to control your ancestral land is foolish. It doesn’t make sense toying with your existence. So, I ask, do you want Boko Haram, jihadist terrorists, kidnappers, and bandits to continue killing innocent Nigerians? If not, why would you consider voting for a sponsor of terrorism who plans to complete the Islamization of Nigeria?
In an online video which has been watched by many Nigerians, Gen. T. Y Danjuma (rtd) said: “Every one of us must rise up, the Armed Forces are not neutral, they collude with the armed bandits that kill people, that kill Nigerians, they facilitate their movements, they cover them. If you are depending on the Armed Forces to stop the killings you will all die one by one”. So, be informed and cautious when voting, as supporting a candidate with ties to terrorism is illegal and can result in severe consequences.
You must rise up against the saboteurs. Stand up and be counted. Don’t vote for a terrorist on February 25, 2023. I tell friends that the Nigerian people are the architects of their own destruction. You might argue that greedy politicians in Nigeria are weaponizing poverty and religion for political gain. But the first instinct of humans is self-preservation. There comes a time in the life of an oppressed people when they should reject all sweeteners offered to buy them over and focus solely on self-preservation. The time is now.