INSECURITY: Will 2023 polls hold?

GOING by the calendar of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the 2023 presidential election is exactly 671 days away.

On October 15, INEC National Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, announced February 18, 2023 as the date for the 2023 presidential contest.

He made the disclosure at the inauguration of the House of Representatives committee on 1999 constitution review.

Since the date was fixed the polity has been charged as hordes of presidential contenders and pretenders criss-cross the length and breadth of the country strategising, aligning and realigning. There have been posturing among the six geopolitical zones over which region should produce President Muhammadu Buhari’s successor. The two leading political parties-ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, are locked in efforts to ensure internal harmony, attract decampees from other parties, and be in a vantage position to reap electoral dividends in the next cycle of elections.

Amid these, there are fears that the election may not hold. Reasons: Increasing waves of insecurity and climate of violence, agitation for secession by some parts of the country, and insistence by many groups and leaders that the country must be restructured with fiscal and other powers devolved to the federating units before elections could be held

Besides, 2023 is the third year of a decade, which usually presents Nigeria with a bouquet of survival threatening challenges as have been witnessed in the last 70 years.

The jinx of third year of a decade

Since 1953, the country face major upheavals every other 10 years as observed in 1963, 1973,1983,1993, 2003, and 2013

1953 Kano riots

In May 1953, riots broke out in the ancient city of Kano, the largest city in Northern Nigeria. The riots, which lasted four days and claimed many lives, arose from clashes between northerners – generally opposed to Nigeria’s independence, and southerners – who supported immediate independence for Nigeria.

During pre-independence debates, Southern political leaders tried to press ahead with the independence drive, while their northern counterparts, who feared “domination by the south,” tried to slow the process.

On March 31, 1953, a prominent member of the Action Group, AG, Anthony Enahoro, moved the motion that Nigeria should become independent in 1956 at the federal parliament in Lagos. The motion got the backing of AG members and majority of the National Council of Nigeria and the Camerouns, NCNC, members.

However, the Northern People’s Congress, NPC, kicked against the motion for self-governance in 1956 because Northern politicians felt that their region was not yet ready.

Sir Ahmadu Bello, the NPC’s leader, proposed an amendment saying self- governance should be granted “as soon as practicable” instead of “in the year 1956” in Enahoro’s bill.