Boko Haram Attacks Have Made Nigeria Too Unstable for Election

This map, courtesy of the Long War Journal, pinpoints locations Boko Haram has attacked in Nigeria since 2010.
This map, courtesy of the Long War Journal, pinpoints locations Boko Haram has attacked in Nigeria since 2010.

Boko Haram’s January attack on Baga and its sustained control of several towns in northeastern Nigeria make credible February presidential elections impossible, Nigeria relations expert Adeniyi Ojutiku told Baptist Press.

“There is no way there can be … free, fair and credible elections while Nigeria is engaged in war against terror, because people cannot feel free to be able to cast their ballot,” Ojutiku said after Boko Haram’s January attack on Baga and surrounding towns that killed about 2,000 and displaced 30,000 more.

“So whatever the outcome, the result of the election is going to be in disputation,” Ojutiku said. “Whatever party loses is going to claim it was not free and fair, so it will again lead to an escalation of the Boko Haram crisis.”

In addition to Baga, Boko Haram has established caliphates in towns covering some 20,000 square miles, including Gwoza, Damboa, Bama, Mafa, Dikwa, Kala Balge, Ngala, Marte, Abadam, Mobar, Kukawa, Guzamala Gubio, Magumeri, Chibok, and Askira/Uba in Borno state; Madagali, Michika, Mubi South, Mubi North, Hong, Gombi and parts of Maiha in Adamawa state, and Gujuba and Gulani in Yobe state, according to an Ojutiku associate in Abuju, Nigeria.

In elections slated Feb. 14, Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan of the ruling People’s Democratic Party faces a strong challenge from a Muslim candidate, Retired Gen. Mohammad Buhari of the All Progressive Congress, a political party formed in 2013 from three ethnically and regionally based parties, according to news reports.

“If [Buhari] loses, the north is going to boil with human carnage. If he wins, and Jonathan loses, the [deep] south where all the oil revenue of Nigeria comes from, is going to cordon off the oil revenue of Nigeria and Nigeria is going to topple into serious economic crisis,” Ojutiku predicted.

A Jonathan victory, Ojutiku said, would incite Boko Haram to escalate attacks and become more genocidal, killing non-indigents in northern Nigeria, including Christians who migrate from the south in search of employment.

“That was what led to the fourth Nigerian civil war. The Nigerian civil war was because the northern Muslims began to kill the Southern Christian Ibos,” Ojutiku said. “There is going to be a repeat of that event because this time they are going to just go after the southerners, the people who have migrated from the south to work in the north.” While oil is concentrated in the south, the revenue does not benefit southern Nigerians, Ojutiku said.

“We have two possible scenarios it seems like we cannot avoid. So whoever wins, whichever wins, there is going to be a crisis situation in Nigeria,” Ojutiku said. “Going into the election, people are already killing each other … destroying each other’s property.”

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SOURCE: Baptist Press
Diana Chandler

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