Home Editorial Gombe attack on Jonathan’s convoy

Gombe attack on Jonathan’s convoy

Notwithstanding the 2015 pre-election, election and post-election ‘non-violence’ agreement that was witnessed with fanfare by the likes Chief Emeka Anyaoku, a former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, Kofi Anan, former United Nations Secretary General and several international bodies and observers, the spate of verbal and physical attacks between political parties and their supporters have marked the scene in the last few weeks.
These attacks have seen stones and sachet water sacks hauled at rival political parties, especially the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, as occurred in Katsina and Bauchi states on the presidential campaign trails of the PDP’s candidate, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan.
In Rivers and Ebonyi states, state institutions like courts have been bombed or attacked; all sorts of subterfuges have been deployed to deny, intimidate or destroy the election materials, especially posters and billboards of rival parties.
But following each of these anti-democratic and plainly violent attacks on political campaigners, their offices or campaign vehicles, rival party spin-doctors and talking heads have unpatriotically popped up to, either express lip-service condemnations, or to out rightly blame the victims for being attacked. Or, that the victim parties have stage-managed these atrocities to garner public sympathy and support. This is outrageous.
Of all the dangerous acts that groups or individuals have devised to intimidate or cow perceived rivals into not campaigning in some parts of the country, the Gombe bomb blast that went off along the presidential motorcade minutes after President Jonathan had left a rally in the state capital is the most blatant assault on the highest Nigerian institution and office by those seeking to discourage him and his party from campaigning in some parts of the country.
The attack was the antithesis of all that is peaceful, lawful and conducive to the eventual conduct of the 2015 elections and what the political parties have publicly agreed to, viz: to rein in their supporters and eschew statements that subconsciously encourage them to act in the belief that that is what their leaders would want supports to do to win political power.
The attack on Jonathan’s motorcade is a clear sign that not only is the ‘non-violence’ agreement a sham, but that the nation has clearly been polarized in mutually antagonistic religious, ethnic and regional camps and that the traditional power elite are comfortable to sit by and watch the nation edge inexorably towards a precipitous catastrophe.
It is worrisome that the nation’s media may have dangerously become complicit in encouraging the escalating tempo of this violence that has driven electoral issues to the sidelines.
Most of the media have jettisoned the sacred journalistic cannon of neutrality for political-party partisanship. In recent cases, some acts of violence by, say, party A are condemned while others by party B are simply ignored, under reported, or unreported.
These mind games would have been thoroughly enjoyable for any connoisseur of political campaign mind-games in the quest for power.
But the fact is that the issue at stake is beyond the question of who wins or loses in the 2015 presidential election. Nigeria’s continued existence is at stake if things continue in this dangerous and steady slide.
The issue is that the continued corporate existence of Nigeria, after the elections might have been won or lost, is what should  concern all Nigerians regardless of which side of the fence one is sitting on.
Over 160 million Nigerians are being programmed for violence with the condoning of violent and life-threatening attacks on national party leaders and institutions of state. Perhaps it has escaped the notice of the power elite – politicians, traditional rulers and the numerous civil society groups that parrot the need for a fair, free and credible 2015 elections, that these same conglomeration of centripetal factors and forces were vividly present in the 1960s and led to breakdown of societal order, the truncation of the First Republic and the Civil War of 1967-1970.
Is it that the power elite are unmindful of these dangerous trends or that they are in fact encouraging them?
Whatever be the case, the fact remains that these acts that push the nation closer to the abyss must be strongly condemned and checked. Otherwise, the outcome of these situations will be an ill-wind that will blow no one, including those that may be encouraging, condoning or ignoring them, any good.

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