Violence is built into elections in Nigeria. The wealthy and middle class know it. Church leaders know it. The heads of NGOs and CSOs know it. The international community’s diplomats and foreign elections observers know it. There is just a conspiracy never to acknowledge this fact. In Nigeria, elections are always a “Do AND Die” exercise.
National elections are scheduled for end of February 2023 and this time there are additional reasons for violence to erupt. Nigerians are both fed up with, and frightened by Nigeria. Nigeria means lack of amenities, lack of infrastructure, and lack of opportunities. However, added to all that misery is the widespread knowledge that the narrative of “farmer-Fulani herdsman clashes” is false, and is used to hide the slaughter of indigenous peoples by armed Fulani for land grabbing, in order to bring about Ahmadu Bello’s Declaration of 1960 that Nigeria is to become the Fulani’s Islamic Sharia “estate”. Therefore, those Southerners and Middle Belters hoping for the 2023 elections are seeing it as a means of stopping the Fulani and their full-on Fulanization Agenda. That is why Peter Obi is the most popular presidential candidate in the South and Middle Belt since the other two main candidates represent the current order of massive corruption, insecurity, Fulani domination, and forced ascendancy of Islam.
Briefly, these two other candidates are Atiku and Tinubu. Atiku, a member of the immigrant settler Fulani, is seen as showing a “born to rule” arrogance, believing that after Fulani Buhari’s eight years, Nigerians should accept him, yet another Fulani. There is also old and visibly ailing Tinubu a Yoruba Moslem who with what has been interpreted as unconcern and even disdain for Christians, chose a Moslem with controversial links to Boko Haram (of course denied) as his running mate. Simply put, Atiku and Tinubu represent the status quo: thus Fulanization, more Islamisation, and continuing miseries.
The looming violence would be from clashes and frustrations from these two groups:
Those who want “change” ie the followers of Peter Obi, and that is mainly the South and Middle Belt. They will not accept anything except a Peter Obi win.
Those who want the status quo to remain, they are mainly the Arewa Sharia bloc, and they will not accept it if Obi is declared winner.
The situation is that if Obi wins the elections, Arewa (Hausa-Fulani) will make Nigeria ungovernable through violence; and if Obi is not declared the winner, the Union known as Nigeria will cease to exist in a most violent manner. Others have also recently stated that if Obi is not declared winner by the Fulani-controlled INEC, there would be “war”. Every honest observer can see that the anger levels of Nigerians have reached tipping point. The fury of the EndSARS protests of 2020 is still present and the young people of that movement want that change they protested for, and have now transferred their energies into insisting on a Peter Obi win. Thus, either way, whether Obi is declared winner, or not declared winner the centrifugal forces of civil unrest and violence to property and people will pull unitary Nigeria apart. These elections spell the end of unitary Nigeria.
The non-violent way forward
This is not 1967 when unknown to the Middle Belt and the Yoruba, the Fulani Caliphate was manipulating the situation to bring about their Ahmadu Bello’s Declaration of Fulanization, so managed to convince Nigeria to be against the East in the Biafra Genocide. Today, especially under Buhari, the Fulani Caliphate’s agenda of Fulanization has been unmasked. The Middle Belt and Yoruba now know without any single doubt whatsoever that they face an existential threat from the Fulani (and their Hausa-Arewa helpers). Today, the Fulani Caliphate cannot count on any part of Nigeria except Arewa Sharia bloc. Therefore today, the Fulani face the serious prospects of eviction from the Middle Belt and South, because it is impossible that indigenous Ethnic Nations will lie back and allow the immigrant Fulani using their armed Milita as “herdsmen” to continue with their ethnic cleansing/genocide for land grab, waterways grab, and resources grab.
In the mix, are the Self-Determination Seekers from every Ethnic Nation making up the South and Middle Belt. They understand that unitary Nigeria hijacks their inalienable right to Self-Determination and the more there is violence in Nigeria, the more the Self-Determination Seekers will rightly not want their Ethnic Nation to be part of any “Nigeria”.
The non-violent way forward to prevent the looming destruction of life and property throughout Nigeria is by following a Strategy that is ALREADY on the Table. On 16th December 2020 the NINAS Movement, an Alliance of the indigenous Ethnic Nations of the South and Middle Belt declared a Constitutional Force Majeure over grave constitutional grievances, and demanded a Transitioning Process for an ORDERLY Reconfiguration of the constitutional basis of Nigeria. That right there is the only way now to prevent massive civil unrest, massive bloodshed, massive destruction of property, and to cancel out Ahmadu Bello’s Declaration that Nigeria is to be the “estate” of the Fulani.
Even though two years have passed since declaration of the Constitutional Force Majeure, it is never too late to do what will stop violence and killing. Church leaders must now do the right thing. NGOs and CSOs must now do the right thing. Traditional Rulers must now do the right thing. Journalists, media staff, and Influencers must now do the right thing. Students must now do the right thing. The wealthy and the middle class must now do the right thing. Nigerians can STOP the impending violence – Nigerians have the people power to do so. All must use their influence and connections to see to it that the orderly, non-violent Transitioning Process that NINAS has had on the Table all this while, is now immediately actioned.
Link to the NINAS Notice of Constitutional Force Majeure:
Ndidi Uwechue is a British citizen with Igbo heritage from the Lower Niger Bloc. She is a retired Metropolitan (London) Police Officer, she is a signatory to the Constitutional Force Majeure, and she writes from Abuja.