Investigations carried out by Street Journal have revealed that the Congress for Political Change (CPC) is one of the organizations affected by the Libyan crisis which put the North African country in a civil war mode. Things have not been the same since February 17, 2011 when Libyans chose to observe the “Day of Rage” like most of their Arab neighbours.
Intelligence reports had revealed that the Libyan leader had planned a monetary aid to the tune of $ 730 million for the political party. The aid according to sources was to enable the party strategize and also fund most of its campaign tours and programmes before the election. Street Journal also found out that apart from the fact that the internal crisis gave the Libyan leader something to worry about, it went a long way in affecting Ghadaffi’s purse and how he uses Libya’s funds. From the reports obtained by Street Journal, the date that the grant would have been obtained by the CPC was the same day the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) launched its first strike on Libyan targets. In the March 20 air strike which has been tagged as the broadest international military effort since the Iraq war, 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired at Libyan targets from American and British warships. The air strikes were more or less the confirmation that Libya might be in for a long war and that Muammar Ghadaffi, the self styled “King of Kings of Africa” might be on his way out of power.
While it is believed in some quarters that the scuttled plan to get monetary aid from Libya affected the fortune of the party during the polls, it is also held by some that the funds that failed to materialize might have been one of the factors that catalyzed the violent reaction that came after Nigeria’s presidential elections in April. It will be recalled that the CPC’s candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) lost to the PDP’s candidate, President Goodluck Jonathan with a margin of more than 10 million votes.
Many families are yet to recover from their losses while some will bear the pains for life. Lots of lives were lost in the post-election violence that occured in some states in the northern part of Nigeria. Some international observers have put the fatalities at 800.
Right after the results of the presidential elections which showed that President Goodluck Jonathan had 57% of the total votes while Gen. Buhari had 31% were announced, violence broke out in some states in the northern part of Nigeria, including Bauchi and Kaduna. Wanton destruction and arson suddenly looked like the norm as people; especially those from the south had to flee for their lives. Not less than 17,000 people fled their homes across eight states in the northern part of Nigeria. Some of those who were lucky to escape being killed were maimed while a lot of others were rendered homeless. Across Kano, Kaduna, Katsina and Zamfara States, arsonists and rapists had a field day burning, looting and causing untold pains to innocent people.
Those who lost their lives included some fresh university graduates who were undergoing the mandatory one year national youth service scheme. Agreeing to man polling centres as agents of the Independent National Electoral Commission was their undoing. Apparently seeing them as the stumbling blocks that prevented things from going in their favour, youth corpers became the first targets of the protesters especially in Bauchi State. Innocent youths who were serving their fatherland were murdered in gruesome manners.
Not even the Vice President was spared as his Kaduna home was torched. The perpetrators of the violence also went ahead to set prisoners free after they attacked a correctional facility. Some southerners who were lucky enough to escape had to take shelter in military barracks.
In Kano, homes, shops, churches and mosques were burnt and many other buildings set ablaze.
The CPC denied that the violence was orchestrated by its members and while the police authorities in the state maintained that the violence was neither ethnic nor religious, but that it was initiated by those who were not satisfied with the result of the elections, the CPC came under severe criticisms for trying to justify the violence that followed the elections. Abubakar Malami, the Legal Adviser of the CPC said “we recall the anger of the people of the Western Region in 1965 and the people of Ondo State in 1983 against the use of federal might to dislodge opposition governments in the South West in favour of the ruling parties at the federal level with concocted results.”
Some of Malami’s critics however wondered why some of the riots happened in areas where Gen. Buhari won. Others also opined that the CPC was merely crying wolf where there was none because reports showed that the results were collated peacefully at all levels; from the ward, local government and state levels. So the issue of manipulation as being alleged by the CPC may therefore not arise. Some have also opined that the riots went beyond the protest over results of an election. Those in this school of thought believe the riots were well planed and executed with precision.
Though the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) denied complicity in the violence that trailed the elections, many of its members were arrested. At the first instance, the Congress for Progressive Change secured the bail of 600 suspects.
Those who are privy to the security report that revealed the planned aid from the Libyan leader have been able to link the inability to secure the grant to the lack of proper organization of the party’s structure and programmes in some states and its eventual loss at the polls. It is also being insinuated that for some time now, Ghadaffi might have been financing rebel movements in some parts of Africa a, an issue the West has been looking for a way to address. Though the right moment came when Libyans revolted, NATO’s decision indirectly affected the fortune of the Congress for Progressive Change.