Don’t fall prey to divisive politicians CNG sensitizes Borno people

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By Chimezie Godfrey

Ahead of the 2023 general elections,  the Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has intensified its activities to mobilize the North to resist divisive politicians who would seek to exploit the region’s religious and ethnic diversity for their self-serving purposes.

Speaking at the Borno State version of the “Election Sensitization Conference themed: “Politics of Sentiments: A critical factor militating development of democracy in Nigeria with the Sub-theme: Religious and ethnic tolerance, panacea to Nigeria’s survival as a nation,”  CNG national Coordinator, Jamilu Aliyu Charanchi the initiative aims to help the North retrace its steps and refocus its energies in the delicate task of nation-building to which everyone is committed.

The CNG, he said, believes that, the North and indeed the whole of Nigeria’s protracted social problems and conflicts found their origin in the misplacement of religious, ethnic and cultural values of the people.

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“We are also not unmindful of the fact that, every society in the world has their social issues unique to their society, but the problems bedevilling the North today have taken a new dimension. Northern Nigeria has witnessed several attacks from many fronts – the Boko Haram terrorism/insurgency leading to a hike in the population of internally displaced persons (IDPs), arms smuggling, rampant kidnappings, rural armed banditry, communal & religious violence, herdsmen/farmers crises, poverty & illiteracy, joblessness & despair, lack of women & youths empowerment,  incessant drug abuse; political thuggery, high number of out of school children and sabotage to University education.

“The CNG is therefore concerned, and will not fold its arms and allow our future, and that of our children be jeopardized by a few.

“1. Religious and Ethnic Sentiment

“When a multi-ethnic and multi-religious region such as ours faces an increasing crisis of confidence engendered by years of frustrations and disappointments, the temptation to seek refuge in the comparative haven of ethnicity and religion is almost obligatory. When Ethnic and religious intolerance replaces tolerance and understanding. Society can not prosper.

“Today, we see this scenario playing itself out across our region on a regular basis, raising fears about the continued existence of North as a one United region. The shadow of ethnic and religious intolerance lengthens; the shadow of understanding is growing shorter. We have no fears that the forces of unity will continue to defeat the forces of disunity in our region. And we can be sure that slowly but surely, we will bridge the widening ethnic and religious divide.

” The manner regional and religious jingoists are fanning the embers of regional tensions, spreading dangerous ethno-religious dogma and emboldened by those who should ordinarily provide guidance, and beat the drums of war and hatred is of a serious concern.

“The religious and ethnic cards are ready weapons in the hands of political failures who cynically exploit and manipulate the ignorant masses of our people towards selfish and undesirable ends. We must stop them. We must free the people from their grip and their indoctrination.

“1. Political Thuggery

The wanton destruction of lives and properties resulting from the activities of political thuggery have had far reaching effects for the practice and sustenance of democracy in the country. Democracy is synonymous with development as such should not be mistaken for instrument of underdevelopment by few unpatriotic politicians (elites) and the unlucky youth in the area.

“Over the  years, the activities of thugs in Nigeria have  been recognized and powerfully  backed by  the  political  class.  Thus,  it  has  gone  beyond  what  is  known  or  seen  in  the  first,  second  or  the aborted third republic. The  trade  is  no  longer  for  the  rag-tag  hoodlums  that  it  used  to  be.  Today, thuggery  has  been  given  new  garb  of  legitimacy  by  the  political  class. The  presence  of  energetic (but aggressive) youths can be noticed in the name of body guards.

” Unfortunately  physical  realities  have  shown  that  violent  activities  are  carried  out  while political activities like campaigns/elections are going on. The teeming youths who are supposed to have  been  harnessed  or  trained    towards    nation  building  are  used  (misused  rather)  by  politicians particularly  those  in  power  (and  the  opposition)  to  harass  and  intimidate  the  opposition  including the innocent citizens and at worse maim and kill under the influence of drugs and political power. Thus, their precious energy is misused in destabilizing the society.

“Findings reveal that poverty, high rate of unemployment, high rate of illiteracy among the youth and families having more children that cannot be catered for by their income are responsible for the increasing number of thugs. As a result these children have no good education, no proper home training, and no food to eat and even shelter. These conditions they found themselves make them more vulnerable to be hired as thugs to rig elections, to kill and to engage in other social vices in the society.

“Similarly, bread winners of many families lost their lives, houses and properties worth millions of naira were destroyed and many people became refugees, shops, business centers, properties and cars were destroyed worth millions of naira.

“The major problem is that instead of stopping such activities it is often regarded as normal way of  politics  and  those  in  power  often  provide  the  platform  upon  which  ugly  political  thuggery  is committed.

“Youth must desist from being used for political violence and rather turn their immense resources towards the promotion of peace and law and order,” Charanchi said.

The CNG also frowned at what it called the Federal Government’s messy handling of its terms of agreement with the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

“We are concerned that the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige appears to be handling such a crucial national issue that affects the future of the millions of students in higher institutions with levity and condescension. We see the action of the Minister as a gross show of unconscionable  immorality, insensitivity, and impunity abhorrent to the collective sensibilities of the students, parents and indeed the country at large. For the avoidance of doubt, Nigerian Students shall no longer wait and watch their future toyed with by unscrupulous politicians who have no concern for the future of the country except for their personal gains.

“We warn that now that all students are on campus, we shall come out in unity to resist any action that could lead to another closure of institutions.

“We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to prove his vow to leave behind a sound legacy by immediately sacking the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, and equally demand the federal government to hasten settlement of salaries due to the lecturers to avoid further inconveniences for students and their parents considering cases of some institutions already announcing hikes in their tuition,” he said.

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