Alkasim Abdulkadir: North-East, Senate Presidency And Democratic Equality

By Alkasim Abdulkadir

Nigeria Social Violence Project based in the African Studies Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) has been documenting the casualties of social violence in Nigeria from 1998-present, its data is one of the most credible of the crisis, it shows the tragic number of those who have died from the Boko Haram insurgency.

It puts the number of deaths at 14,883 from 1999-2014; however, some analysts are of the opinion that that casualty from this violent insurgency is more in the region of between 17,000 to 20,000. In the final analysis whatever the actual figure is, this is the largest carnage of non-combatants since the end of Nigeria’s civil war.

The plurality of the actions of the Insurgent group, Boko Haram has ensured that not only has the human capital of the North East been decimated but that it has destabilized the region and in extension the lake Chad basin.

The foregoing prompts the filaments of Nigeria’s North Eastern corner to demand as a matter of affirmative action the emergency rebuilding of the region -from economic empowerment to the provision of affordable healthcare, to education, agriculture and above all infrastructural development. These can only take place adequately if there are well laid policy frameworks on the table.

There have been proposals for the North East marshal plan, but this is beyond just having a plan. It is a plan that should benefit from the synergy of the executive, the legislature, non-governmental organisations and international organisations.

Even though currently there are a plethora of initiatives meant to salvage the North East from the Presidential Initiative for the North East, PINE, to the Victims Support Fund VSF, to the Safe Schools Initiative, all interventions of the executive arm of government –the region needs a greater legislative political will power backed by NASS to ensure that these ideas not only succeed but are also sustainable.

It is only fair that in moving towards the holistic unification of the country the North East is made to feel as part and parcel of the entity called Nigeria. The next four years are critical in reconstructing the state of emergency of states from Yobe, to Adamawa and Borno Sstate.

Recently, one phrase that is being bandied about by political watchers has been the saying that zoning is dead. Though, zoning streamlines the search for the next President of the Senate, however, members of the red chamber should look beyond zoning and consider the notions of equity and fair play.

The latter, especially in the face of the overwhelming support and votes casted in favour of the opposition party the All Progressive Congress APC has ensured that the electoral value provided by the region became the fulcrum to galvanize the historic outcome of the elections.
Oversight functions of the various spheres of our national life still falls under the national assembly.

This forms part of the premise that the North East as region by the strength of its lobby, merit and contributions to the democratisation process in Nigeria should lead the red chamber in the 8th Assembly.

As it is in the past, especially since the return of democracy in 1999 the upper chamber caucus are wont to overlooking the North East for the Senate Presidency and Deputy Senate Presidency positions, this is an opportunity to bring to play the real tenets of democracy, which also considers the concept of democratic equality.

For a region that has suffered such tragedy, the effects of which will be felt for an entire generation, for a region that has shown not only great support, but demonstrated an unflinching electoral loyalty, it is time to have more than a passing shot at the senate presidency.

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Article written by Alkasim Abdulkadir

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