The Politics Of Thuggery -The Kogi and Bayelsa States Experience.

Someone says,

No election can be rigged if the youths say no! This means, thugs should learn to reject gratification.

He is specifically referring to the elections recently conducted in Kogi and Bayelsa States – which were married by a lot of thuggery (mostly perpetuated by the youth).

Violence, Intimidation, Vote Buying Mar Bayelsa, Kogi Polls

Another person mused aloud,

Why is thuggery booming everywhere? Why doesn’t it thrive elsewhere during elections?

When numerous youths wake up in the morning and aren’t gainfully engaged, what do we think would happen when they are offered something that would put some coins in their tattered pockets? Ensure they can feed for the next one week or so?

When a man is sinking, he is not very particular about what he hangs onto- to stay afloat. A graduate who has been fruitlessly looking for a job for seven years and has more or less given up may grasp an offer from a political moneybag to go and disrupt electoral processes.. for a pittance. Thuggery is a form of temporary employment during elections for the idle – looking for income by whatever means. A low hanging fruit.

The idle mind is said to be the devil’s workshop!.

Someone opines that, the security agencies should be more alive to their responsibilities of maintaining law and order, and that the youths should get off their intellectual laziness and skill-up to be gainfully employed.

Are Nigerians Lazy?

I do not think the core of the problem is about not having skills, or even being lazy. There are skilled mechanics, artisans, etc who go into crime because of quest for survival. The environment is that harsh! There are numerous people with useful skills who are jobless, just managing to survive on daily bases. Why else would Masters Degrees Holders grab at a job to drive tractors for Dangote Industries… if not desperation? A job that even someone who didn’t get any schooling can do?

The crux of the matter would appear to be strictly the result of the societal problem of reduced opportunities to be gainfully employed. No amount of policing would stem crime if the breeding ground for criminality (political thuggery is just one manifestation)  is verdant enough. It would be like trying to kill numerous ants gnawing greedily at cubes of sugar..using a strand of broom. Good luck with that!

Let Us Make Crime Non Lucrative

We also forget that in Nigeria, security personnel, even those supposed to stop crime, like many others can easily be compromised. The immense corruptibility cuts across every stratum of society but he way. It is therefore surprising when we express surprise that there is irregularity in our political conducts -when hardly any other thing is regular in the country!

Tell me a junior policeman that you would give 50K that wouldn’t do what you looking away while electoral malfeasance is ongoing. A Kogi resident friend told us it was ₦36K to get the Oga Police at  his Polling Unit to look away !

How is someone collecting 5K to vote any different from another Oga Thug being paid 500k to organise a few of his boys to snatch electoral boxes? How really difficult is it to compromise an Electoral Officer even up to the level of the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) to manufacture electoral figures?

This is why it is apparent that corruption has a lot of fallout, ranging from youths being unemployed (and thus being ready tool for almost any paying evil).. to policemen being ready to compromise NOT to perform their policing duties… to judges selling out to the highest bidder in all sorts of cases (including electoral victory determination).

No, this electoral thuggery thing   is not (just) about the youth. It is much broader.

The solution is in nurturing a society where there is ample opportunity for honest gainful employment coupled with total intolerance for corrupt practice, at all levels.

How can start things rolling?

By being the best we can be at our individual levels …

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