Jos: Residents Live Along Ethno-Religious Lines, Mindful Of Upheavals
THE palpable apprehension being nursed by the electorate on February 14 Presidential election and beyond cannot be wished away with a wave of the hands.
This becomes apparent especially when people like the former Niger Delta militant, Asari Dokubo, was threatening war if his preferred candidate, President Jonathan, does not win and the All Progressives Congress (APC) that it will form a parallel government if its Presidential Candidate, General Buhari (rtd.) does not clinch the slot at the end if the day.
Political watchers say this portends violence at the end of the elections no matter who wins at the end of the day; it is just anachronistic and an anathema that the two dominant parties PDP and APC – appear to be on a war path as to the decision of electorate on the day. This is very unfortunate and contrary to the guidelines of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
However, unfortunately, Plateau State people are now living in the state according to their religions. If somebody says he lives in Angwan Rogo, everybody in the state will know that the person is a Muslim. If somebody, on the other hand, says he lives at Angwan Rukuba or Gadabiu, automatically, everybody knows the person is a Christian. That is obtainable in Plateau.
People in the state live along religious and ethnic lines. It will therefore be very impossible to have a clash in the event of any crisis arising from the general elections.
An elder Igbo statesman, who has lived in Jos for more than 35 years, Chief Okafor Eni, said in an interview with The Guardian, that there should be no apprehension whatsoever before, during and after the general elections.
According to Eni, that fear is human but doused it that Plateau people with different ethnic nationalities, the Christians and the Muslims have been living together peacefully despite the fact that they are living along religious divides.
He said, “In Plateau, that apprehension affects it a little because some of the women that travelled in December, based on the family arrangement, believed that coming back to Jos will be a problem to them. But in my own observation, as an Igbo man, “I observed that majority of the people that travelled home came back to Jos after the ceremony.
“I was in Umuahia, waiting for a bus but it happened that before they could load from Aba to Umuahia, there was no space. Everywhere was jam-packed. So, we believe that we are one Nigeria and that we believe that there is no way we can protect the interest of this country if we say we are going to our villages.
“And if we go to our villages, the problem is still there. So, the best option is that people are coming back home (Plateau) steadily. The Igbos who travelled down East are coming back. I experienced it; about four buses loaded from Aba down to Kano, about four buses loaded from Aba down to Maiduguri; about four buses loaded from Aba down to Kaduna.
“So, you can see that we believe in the oneness of Nigeria and that is why when they go home, after celebrating Christmas and the New Year, they are back.”
Eni further explained that the tension must always be there “because you cannot go to the bush to go and look for treasure without preparing because the way you went is not the way you come back.
“So, you must prepare your mind before you go to look for that treasure. The people are feeling that what is happening in the North East, they believe that the utterances coming from some the presidential candidates make them have that apprehension that something is going to happen after the elections. Based on such utterances, that is why some people say let me remain back in my villages and come back after the elections.”
Eni said that some people believe that such threatening utterances are just mere empty threats and “that is why some are back to Plateau and some still remain back until after the elections.”
He assured people of the Plateau like this: “We know how Plateau was one family and one home. But today, we know that we have two families. The other family is down and the other family is up. So in times of insecurity, we know that if you are a Muslim, you know the area to reside. If you are a Christian, you know the area to reside for you to have that peace.”
Eni finally advised that the problem is not to run to one’s village, which cannot solve the problem. “There will be no problem in Plateau. The elections will be conducted without any rancor. It will be free and fair. The security personnel are there to ensure that there will be no problem. Nobody will molest anybody. So, my advice is that those who ran away should come back. Let us join hands and rebuild this state and the nation at large.”
The Plateau State Police Command has also assured the citizens of the state that the police are fully prepared for the 2015 general elections. Spokesman of the command, Deputy Superintendent Abuh Emmanuel said that the measures put in place to deal with election violence before, during and after the elections are known to the police alone, which should not