Random Notes on #BringBackOurGirls; the National Conference and the 2015 General Election By Jaye Gaskia
A lot is happening in our country at the moment, and a lot more will happen, and with greater intensity and rapidity as we approach the 2015 general elections.
For better or for worse, the 2015 general elections will be decisive for our nation, both in the immediacy of its impact, as well as in its longer term effect. And for the avoidance of doubt, the events and critical factors that will shape the conduct and outcome of that general election are already unfolding and being played out.
But first some commentary on the increasing boldness and effrontery of the Boko Haram insurgents in their blind and inhuman campaign to obliterate everything human and humane that is standing on their path. We have witnessed such a huge groundswell of global outrage and global support for the campaign to bring back our abducted girls. The campaign itself has witnessed such phenomenal growth in its global acceptability.
In the apparent strength and success of the campaign however also lies the potential for its essential weakness and failure. Why is this so? The very strength of the campaign and movement lies in the fact of its uptake celebrities and high profile politicians and individuals globally. The tiny danger lurking in the shadows is the emergent fate of the parents of the abductees and the people of Chibok community, whose anguish, whose cry of pain and resistance, and whose initial response to the calamity that befell them spawned the global outrage in the first instance. We are all living witnesses to how the affected community through their own initial efforts transformed themselves from victims to active agents in the battle to regain their daughters and reclaim their humanity. Alas we are also now living witnesses to how quickly they are becoming mere footnotes and appendages to the now celebrity dominated, and high profile individuals occupied global bring back our children campaign!
It is important that we all note that while the struggle against Boko Haram insanity is a collective human responsibility, nevertheless the specific struggle to bring back our girls should empower not disempower the community immediately affected by that savagery.
Furthermore there is also the attempt by politicians to change the focus of the campaign from a demand on the state whose responsibility is to protect citizens, to a demand on Boko Haram to release our girls! This is like insisting that victims of armed robbery should demand for justice from the armed robbers and not from the law enforcement agencies and the judicial system.
Let there be no doubts about it; the responsibility to protect our children in their schools, to protect our people while undergoing lawful routine everyday businesses at designated bus stops, motor parks, or markets, is that of the state and its law enforcement agencies and security agencies. This is particularly even more so in the context where the scenes of these heinous crimes are places supposedly under the rule of a state of emergency or are under the protection of special military task forces.
So as we approach the 2015 general elections, the intensity of the catastrophic internecine warfare between the ruling class factions will increase; and so will be the potential capacity of the self-destructive actions of these inept and irresponsible ruling elite.
The closer we get to the elections, the more aggressive will the politicians get, and the more aggressively they will recruit hapless and unemployed youths into their army of political thugs. If our history is anything to go buy, our treasury looting politicians are already engaged in a process of competitive grooming of young thugs, and competitive accumulation of arms with which to arm these thugs and wage the electoral warfare. In this scenario ideas do not matter, programs have no place, debates are outlawed; and what reigns is brawn over brain, insolence over intelligence, and armed street battles replace enlightened debates.
It is in this context that the National Conference returns to plenary to take the reports and recommendations of its twenty committees. Only two of the twenty committees have had their reports debated and adopted; the committees on Citizenship and Land Tenure. And already contentious issues are emerging with respect to the future of this country and our people. And the battle line is beginning to crystalise between the social forces who represent change and transformation, and those who are sworn to defend the status quo.
If the reports of the first two committees, and the nature of the debate around them are anything to go bye, then the long phase of the intense class struggle within the conference, reflecting in a more concentrated manner, the class struggle outside the conference, has only just entered a new potentially explosive, and potentially positively transformative for our people and nation.
With the resolutions on citizenship and residency rights that have been adopted; with the resolutions on Land rights of citizens; with the resolution to extend all the sections in the Minerals Act that guarantee community rights to also cover petroleum and gas sectors; with the resolution on the modernization and transformation of nomadic livelihoods system; all already adopted; it is becoming crystal clear that this National Conference, and many of its resolutions can become the issues to shape the preparations for and outcome of the 2015 general elections.
For the first time in more than three decades we once again have the opportunity to make electoral contest issue based, rather than personality and money driven.
It is upto us to see the big picture, and connect all the dots of the numerous incidences; it is even more upto us to take our destiny into our own hands, and Take Back Our Country.
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