Nigerian Politicians, Businessmen Flee Ahead Of Elections
Ahead of the general elections in February, many prominent Nigerians have begun relocating their families outside of Nigeria, fearing outbursts of violence that may accompany the elections.
Recall that over 800 people were killed in the post-2011 general election violence.
Punch reports that a considerable number of politicians, chief executive officers and chairmen of various companies, top businessmen and wealthy Nigerians are among those leaving. "Medical check-ups, short vacation," among other things, are being cited as the reasons.
Speaking to Punch, aviation officials and travel agency representatives admit that the passenger traffic is unusually dense. They named the United States, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates as the most preferred destinations. Many of those leaving have booked the tickets for dates between late November 2014 and January 2015.
Some prominent Igbo politicians and businessmen residing in Nigeria's South-East region have also decided to go for "vacations abroad." Some have already relocated their families "months ago," according to an aide to one of the members of the executive committee of Ohanaeze Ndigbo – the apex Igbo socio-political organisation.
Also, according to the findings by Punch, a number of non-natives are relocating outside the North for the period of the elections.
Ebenezer Adegoke, an employee of a telecommunications company in Katsina State, said he had already rented an apartment in Ibadan.
"You cannot predict what will happen after this election. I heard many stories of people getting killed in previous post-election violence. That will not happen to me. I will relocate my family to Ibadan a week prior to the election. We will not go back to Katsina until after the polls. At least in Ibadan, I will be closer to home," he said.
An Akure native, Idowu Omolagba, a commercial motorist who resides in Kano, said he had relocated his family to Akure. He does not intend to return to Kano until after the election.
A 30-year-old mother of three, Abuja-based Chinyere Uche, returned to her home town in Ngor Okpala, Imo State, a few days after Christmas, but she has no intention of returning to her base.
"I did not come back home to vote. In fact, I did not register in my village. I only decided to return home because of threat that violence may trail the next general elections," she said.
A Gombe-based businessman, Mr. Christian Utta, also brought his family from Gombe to his Mbaise home in Imo State.
"I don’t want to be caught napping. By then, we may not even get transportation to come home. I am not praying for violence but it is better to be late than be late," he explained.