The Abdulsalami Abubakar led National Peace Committee (NPC) may have set out to do a good job to ensure that Nigeria did not go up in flames during and after this year’s general elections, but the committee seems to have derailed or has failed in its assignment.
In the run up to the 2019 elections, the National Peace Committee got each of the about 72 presidential candidates contesting the election to commit themselves for peace, to pledge that they would not precipitate any crisis during and after the elections.
While a lot of people had hailed the initiative of the peace committee to ensure that what happened in 2011 after the presidential election did not happen this time around, some of us were however skeptical about what they had done.
Our worry was that we did not hear that the National Peace Committee had got both the Independent National Electoral Commission and the federal government to commit themselves that they would be fair and just in conducting the elections, and that they would allow the will of the people to prevail. We therefore had seen that agreement as onesided. But we kept our fingers crossed.
Thus, when during that election we saw the whole area militarized, with soldiers and other security agencies preventing voters from exercising their democratic right, we saw security personnel being used to intimidate and harass voters, and we saw results of the elections being manipulated to favour some particular candidates, we did not hear the National Peace Committee say anything.
We also did not hear the respected members of the peace committee say anything about the scores of people that were killed during that election or about soldiers preventing electoral officers from doing their work and taking over their functions.
But immediately the results of the elections were announced and certain candidates declared winners, we saw members of the National Peace Committee (NPC) woke up from their slumber and began to crisscross around the country, suing for peace.
Even at the conclusion of the Presidential election, and Atiku’s inlaw and the Deputy Director General of his campaign organization were arrested, the National Peace Committee did not say anything.
We then begin to ask, whose cards are these members of the National Peace Committee playing? Who are they working for?
Perhaps, members of the National Peace Committee may not have realized that the foundation for peace in any society is justice, fairness and equity. Where there is injustice, where there is inequity, and wher there is oppression or suppression, there will hardly be peace.
On the surface, what currently we may be seeing in the country is a semblance of peace, people pretending that everything is alright, but inside them, they are raging, boiling, and hiding their bottled up emotions. If and when these emotions would burst out, it would be calamitous.
The 2019 elections may have come and gone, but the scares are still very much afresh. They are like dirts swept under the carpet. The wounds of that election will never heal until there is a deliberate effort to remedy them.
What we are currently seeing in the country is peace of the graveyard, window dressing. Anybody who tells you that he or she is happy with what had happened during the last elections may not be telling you the truth.
But the National Peace Committee may not have seen anything wrong in that exercise. All they are interested is, let there be peace. But as earlier stated, can there be peace without justice, without fairness?