Kaduna guber election: Our politics must be about humanity, Salihu M. Lukman

#TrackNigeria: Kaduna State need peace and we must enjoin our leaders across all the divides in Kaduna State, be it religious or ethnic, to provide the required leadership for peaceful coexistence in the state. With gubernatorial election scheduled for March 9, all of a sudden, everything about the gubernatorial campaign in the state is turning into Muslims Vs Christians, Hausa/Fulanis Vs non-Hausas, Northern Kaduna Vs Southern Kaduna, etc. The reality however is that the leading candidates in the elections are all Muslims from North – Mallam Nasir el-Rufai for the APC and Alh. Isa Ashiru for the PDP. The APC is projected as the Muslim-North favorite and PDP for Christians-South. 

As it is, March 9 gubernatorial election in Kaduna is decidedly a contest between so-called Muslim-North and so-called Christian-South. Respective Muslims and Christians supporters are mobilized and are in overdrive mode. The reality is that the parties and candidates will not be able to control supporters during and after the election, if nothing is done. With so much inflammatory and provocative campaign materials freely and liberally in circulation all over the place and hardly any moderating voice, the danger signs are very clear. The election will hold and it will produce a winner and loser. With over-charged supporters, it is almost given that supporters of the loser will violently reject the result.

The sad reality is that the divisive campaigns have openly taken over sermons in our Mosques and Churches across the state. Especially on Fridays and Sundays and in the presence of our leaders both in government, non-governmental and even senior officials of our law enforcement agencies, divisively provocative and inflammatory sermons are transmitted. It is as if these are lawful conduct. Yet, in whatever ways one look at these sermons, they are calls for unruly conducts, religious and ethnic dissents with high risk of outbreak of violence and loss of lives.

It is very certain, we are headed towards another bloodshed in Kaduna in the name of election. Where is our humanity. Why should our politics ignore the reality that our humanity is being threatened? In any case, if politics is about development, can we have any development if human life is at risk? Our leaders at all levels must wake up to the challenge of mobilizing our people to respect one another. All our political leaders must be reminded that politics must place high premium on human life. God created us with our differences for a purpose and no one among us had any privilege of choosing his/her tribe. Our differences should be an asset but our politics has turned it into a curse. As a people, we need to urgently take measures to begin to turn things around for good.

The signposts for post-election violence in the state are very clear. Some significant actions by our leaders to commence the process of demobilizing our people away from violent conduct is imperative. Such demobilization should immediately halt the ongoing campaign of animosity pitching Hausa/Fulanis vs non-Hausa, Muslim-North vs Christian-South and our security officials must be mobilized to enforce all our laws promoting peaceful co-existence in the state.

In particular, our parties, especially, APC and PDP and their gubernatorial candidates, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai and Alh. Isa Ashiru must take all the necessary steps to dissociate themselves from all the divisive campaigns going on in the state. Above all, they must be enjoined to direct all their supporters not to be part of any divisive campaign in the state.

Finally, the attention of the Peace Committee is urgently needed in Kaduna now. Bishop Mathew Kukah should remember his roots! He (Bishop Kukah) shouldn’t a peace ambassador who is indifferent to threat to peace in his home base. We need members of the Peace Committee to come and compel all leaders, political parties and all gubernatorial candidates in the state to conform to some minimum standard of political conducts. The time to act to prevent any bloodshed in Kaduna is now, before the election. It will be very depressing if we end up with post-election violence in Kaduna because nothing is done with all the signposts. It will simply mean that our politics is not about humanity and our leaders at all levels don’t care if our humanity is at risk.

All men and women of conscience must just wake up! A stich in time saves nine!!!

Lukman is of Progressive Governors’ Forum

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