‘Politicians Have Weaponised Poverty’

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Iboro Otu

Mr. Iboro Otu, Akwa Ibom State governorship candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party addresses security concerns in the 2019 general elections

Why do you think members of the public allow themselves to be used by politicians to cause mayhem?

I don’t think any right thinking person, who has a job, food to eat and a future, would allow themselves to be so cheaply used in causing mayhem. I strongly believe these paid hands are hungry jobless miscreants – ironically stymied by same politicians – whose only avenue of making money is by presenting themselves as tools and agents of destruction.

Certain people in certain quarters believe when youths are kept unemployed and hungry, they’ll do any bidding of theirs. Such myopic and self-destructive patterns have existed over the years. Our present crop of politicians, sadly, have weaponised poverty. They have designed a formula where our youths believe when you do the bidding of politicians, you stand a chance of getting political relevance. This is how most of the present crop of political leaders rose. This is also why you notice they are bereft of ideas and can’t even make one correct sentence.

If politicians love the people, why do they mastermind destruction of lives and property?

Our politicians don’t love our people; they love themselves and use our people to achieve their aims. And even at that, I strongly doubt they love themselves at all when I look at the actions they stand behind. No one has monopoly over violence. History can tell us events that start big wars and even the Arab spring were not tectonic events but little impunity taken too far. This is why I often ask, do these politicians know what they are doing when they take hungry people and arm them? Many local governments are ungovernable and inaccessible to both our state government and security services, how did this come about? Where did these guys get the weapons? These are serious questions that need to be addressed.

We are beginning to see states like Akwa Ibom were once generally acknowledged as peaceful, showing signs of becoming a flash point in the 2019 elections, what is responsible for this? 

These are signs of chickens coming home to roost.  This stage was set many years ago when a government come to power and setup up a reward system where political thugs and minions were rewarded with power. Two things happened;  the thugs bred more thugs; and upcoming youths saw thuggery as a way to political relevance and prosperity, and thus were negatively inspired.  What happened afterwards was a proliferation of pitiable scenes where young people would gather every morning from Monday to Sunday in parlours and joints, waiting for political godfathers to stop by so they could sing praises and get raises.