By Laleye Dipo
As insecurity reigns unabated in some parts of Niger State, the Coordinator of Public Affairs to the state Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, Mr. Jonathan Tsado Vatsa, has warned that banditry and other criminalities will affect the conduct of the 2023 general election in most parts of the state.
Vatsa said it might even be difficult to conduct elections in the state when majority of the people have either been displaced or migrated to other localities.
He made the remarks in a statement issued to journalists last Sunday entitled: ‘As Nigeria Bleeds, Can Nigeria Have Credible Elections in 2023?’
Vatsa remarks may not be unconnected with the almost total takeover of four local government areas of the state, Rafi, Mariga, Shiroro, and Munya, where not less than 50 villages have been deserted in one of the LGAs with several other communities displaced as a result of bandits’ attacks.
The APC chieftain observed that until the security situation is addressed and peace returned to the towns and villages, “any attempt to conduct elections in 2023, especially in these areas and under the present situation, will amount to deceit.
“Such election will never be credible. It will amount to sitting in one place and writing results, and the people will definitely resist such manipulation.”
The governor’s aide declared that Niger is one of the states that no credible election can be conducted without addressing the issue of banditry, which has brought the state to its knee.
“Right now six or seven out of the 25 local government areas of the state are under the siege of bandits.
“Today, there are over 20,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) across these local government areas; the state is overwhelmed with this situation and nobody is listening to the governor. So if you want to conduct elections in these affected communities, where are the voters?” He asked.
Vatsa, a former state Commissioner for Information, therefore advised President Muhammadu Buhari “to act fast because the masses who voted for him in 2015 and 2019 can no longer sleep in their houses; they can no longer go to their farms, and the country is bleeding, as the poor people are most affected.”