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Benue APC: Please, don’t allow History to Repeat itself, By TONY IJI

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Benue APC: Please, don’t allow History to Repeat itself, By TONY IJI
• L-R: Governor Hycinth Alia of Benue State, President bola Tinubu and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Senator George Akume

AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT BOLA AHMED TINUBU AND APC NATIONAL LEADERSHIP

Your Excellency,

I am writing as a concerned member of our dear party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to draw your attention and that of the national leadership of our great party to the emerging ugly developments in the party in Benue State.

The first outing of APC in the governance of Benue State was not a very complimentary episode. All indications now are that history is on the verge of repeating itself if you as President and the national leadership of the party do not intervene urgently.

APC won the Governorship election in Benue state for the first time in 2015 after 16 straight years of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rule. At that time, Senator George Akume, leader of the party in the state, used his vast influence to secure the party’s gubernatorial ticket and electoral victory for Samuel Ortom whom he brought from the rival PDP at the last minute. No sooner did Ortom assume office than cracks began to appear in the relationship between him and Senator Akume over irreconcilable differences in the affairs of the state.

By Ortom’s second year, the muffled cracks had developed into open gullies. Sensing that he could not secure APC’s ticket for a second term in 2019, Ortom defected back to PDP, taking APC’s governorship mandate along with him. That meant that APC was in power effectively for only two years as Ortom got reelected in 2019 on the platform of PDP.

With his reelection, Ortom pulled a chunk of APC members with him to PDP, leaving the rest to languish in opposition, an unpalatable experience they had passed through for 16 years before 2015. It meant another six-year reign of PDP, from 2017 to 2023.

Fortuitously, Ortom failed to perform for those six years, igniting in the electorate another desire for change. And, once more, Senator Akume came to the rescue by bringing in Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, an immensely popular Catholic priest, considered untainted by the existing political environment, as APC’s ace for the 2023 governorship election. Senator Akume and Alia led the party to a convincing victory at the polls.

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The Alia administration is only eight months old but it has drawn all the parallels with that of Ortom in 2015 in terms of friction between the Governor and his mentor. It appears to be worse this time around, even. The friction began when the Governor allegedly rejected the candidates for the position of Speaker and other Principal Offices proposed by Senator Akume, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), and the party. It is alleged that he rather aligned with the opposition PDP to constitute the House leadership. It was reported that the Governor was personally in the House to supervise the election of the Assembly Officers. The election was eventually decided in favour of the Governor’s candidates on the second ballot after votes by Akume’s and Alia’s loyalists had tied during the first round of voting.

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Since then, the rancorous relationship has persisted between the state chapter of APC and Governor Alia. What started like a mere crack in the state APC family has developed into a wide gully, with the prospect of turning into a gulf. The crisis has manifested in press conferences or statements by different organs of the party and individuals accusing the Governor of excluding the party from participation in his government. These include the Forum of Local Government APC Chairmen, State Zonal Vice-Chairmen representing the three Senatorial Districts, the APC Caucus in the National Assembly, and Arch. Asema Achado, member representing Gwer/Gwer West in the House of Representatives. They cited the rejection of candidates recommended by party officials and leaders for inclusion in the House leadership, the State Executive Council, and Local Government Caretaker Committees, among other appointments, as evidence of Governor Alia’s policy of exclusion of the party from his government.

The Forum of Local Government Party Chairmen went a step further to threaten public protests in Makurdi, the state capital, and Abuja, as well as boycott state government public functions.

The crisis also manifested in an open brawl between the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) on the one hand and the Chief of Staff to the Governor and Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, on the other, during a meeting on the leadership crisis rocking the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).

As expected, relevant aides to the Governor refuted all the allegations against their principal through counter-press conferences and statements.

Although the existence and origin of the deepening crisis between Governor Alia and the APC leadership in the state has been widely acknowledged, nobody has been able to admit the true cause of it. For instance, the three Zonal Vice-Chairmen of the party said in the address they read at their press conference: “We have made frantic reconciliatory moves, trying to find out what the real issues were but in all our efforts, we could not get tangible issues capable of tearing the party apart. Our Leader, Sen. George Akume, has a deep love for Gov. Hyacinth Alia, and in all our meetings, he has never spoken ill of the Governor at any point; he has consistently admonished us to pray and support the Governor to succeed, the same way the Governor eulogizes Sen. Akume at all times and hints of a cordial relationship between them.”

As evidence that an end to the feud is not yet in sight, the Governor fired hot shots at his party critics in his Christmas message to the Benue people. He urged them to “resist attempts by desperate, selfish and disgruntled politicians to use them to cause divisions, mischief and disharmony.”

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He continued: “Watch out, especially for those who have abdicated their primary legislative responsibilities which you voted them to Abuja to perform. Be very wary of them at this crucial period as they have sadly failed to jointly sponsor even one newsworthy bill in the whole of the last six months, but have rather resorted to poisoning your minds with hate in the bid to divide and conquer.”

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A careful analysis of the allegations against the Governor reveals that they revolve around the filling of political positions – in the House of Assembly, State Executive Council, MDAs, Governor’s aides, Local Government Caretaker Committees, etc. It is apparent that the political hawks in the party, the core loyalists of Senator George Akume and Governor Alia, created and are the ones fanning the embers of the disagreement between them for their selfish gains. The hawks on both sides appear to be selling the idea to the two leaders that the only way they can maintain or take control of the party in the state ahead of the 2027 elections is for them to fix their people in strategic positions now. They disguise this self-serving advice in the garb of the long-term political interest of their respective principals who find it irresistible. These political hawks are playing a very dangerous game of pitching the two leaders against each other in their desperate efforts to secure favour from either of them. For instance, during the appointment of the local government Caretaker Committees, many of the hawks who lost out at the stakeholders meeting of their zones or Local Government Areas quickly moved over to sell a dummy to the Governor that the names recommended by the stakeholders were representing the interest of the SGF, Sen. Akume; that to work with the lists submitted by the party amounted to putting the Local Government Councils under Akume’s control. This prompted the Governor to drop the recommended lists of nominees which he had requested from party stakeholders in favour of the lists drawn for him by the political hawks.

What many concerned APC members like me find disturbing are the growing speculations that the escalating crisis might lead to the impeachment of the Governor, or that Alia, like Ortom, might defect to the rival PDP if he cannot be sure of securing an APC ticket for reelection in 2027. Neither scenario is good enough for the party or Benue state. Apart from stultifying the development of our state, either of them is capable of weakening the party’s support base in the state to the point of, once again, costing us future elections and control of the state. We have gone through this road before and it was a harrowing experience. We must not allow history to repeat itself.

SEE ALSO:  Prof Chidiebere Onyia: Celebrating the Unrepetant Technocrat with a Difference

We cannot continue to pretend that there is no crisis in the APC family in Benue state. Unfortunately, the ominous clouds are gathering and the denial of the existence of a feud between Governor Alia and Senator Akume is no longer tenable. Public shows of camaraderie between the two leaders, in speeches and before the cameras, are largely farcical. For instance, the apparent cordiality between the duo, symbolized by the Governor’s faithful participation and encouraging speeches during activities marking the SGF’s birthday as well as the Governor’s Supreme Court victory celebration to Akume’s Abuja residence, were soon neutralized by commensurate hostile public outings by their supporters. The most recent such hostilities were the defection ceremony of PDP members to APC in the state and the APC primaries to fill a vacant House of Assembly seat in Guma LGA. In the former, the loyalists of Senator Akume, reportedly publicly berated the Governor and members of his cabinet for allegedly boycotting the event. In the latter, the Governor announced the cancellation of the primaries over alleged irregularities, but Akume’s supporters describe the announcement as a face-saving attempt by the Governor whose preferred candidate had allegedly lost to that of their principal. The matter is yet to be resolved.

The animosity between the hawks on both sides has split the party stakeholders into two from the Federal level down to the Council Wards, with each fighting for control of party structures, Local Government Councils, palliatives, and other advantages. Latest unconfirmed media reports say there are moves to impeach the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, a Governor Alia loyalist, a move interpreted by political analysts as a prelude to the impeachment of the Governor.

Our dear President, a stitch in time, as the English proverb says, saves nine. To avoid further escalation of the crisis that may prove too costly for our party, our state, and our country’s democracy, I call on you and the national leadership of our great party to intervene urgently. The two leaders should be called to a round table where a formula for the sharing of the fruits of hard work and victory of the party in the 2023 election in Benue state will be worked out and agreed upon. The hawks hovering around the SGF and Governor Alia should be identified and called to order. They should be told clearly that the two leaders and their supporters were instrumental in getting the Benue state electorate to give their mandate to APC. Benue people deserve to reap the dividends of democracy under APC which cannot be achieved in a crisis-ridden atmosphere.

Tony Iji
Concerned APC member,
Oju Council Ward,
Oju LGA, Benue State

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Opinion

Prof Chidiebere Onyia: Celebrating the Unrepetant Technocrat with a Difference

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By Prince Ejeh Josh

Writing in the popular British Financial Times on March 17, 2017, Tim Harford, in a piece he titled, “Somethings are best left to the technocrats”, drew a remarkable contrast between democracy and technocracy in considering how decisions that affect the general well-being of the society are made. These are broad questions affecting the economy, healthcare delivery, infrastructure, development, security, digital skills, education among other critical spectrums.

Harford had argued that while voters are more interested in the politics of who lead them in the name of democracy and freedom of choice, they eventually fail to look beyond the colouration and aura of going to the polls to the aftermath of their decisions. Behind the fanfare of politics is the biggest elephant that must be contended with—policies—that will shape the wellness of the people. Policies are often an intentional course of action set out by the leadership of a country, state or organisation. Getting it right entails that any policy output must be validated by conscious, sound and critical reasoning among the competing alternatives. On this note, Harford shrugged that for any piece of policy, the typical voter does not understand what is at stake.

He quite submitted that many democratically elected politicians and even voters themselves were not placed at a vintage point to attend to technical issues and where politics appears to falter, we turn our searchlight of redemption to technocracy, albeit, indirectly. Employability of technocracy is not the herd mentality of the general public but the elected leader who had recognised either himself being a technocrat, or the need for technocrats. In spite of the lengthy argument, the defeatist approach of the FT editor capped his submission: “Ultimately, democracy must trump technocracy, and it does”.

This sheds light on the intrigues that played out during the election of Dr. Peter Mbah as governor of Enugu State. Events that accompanied the electioneering period are important to make inference to. Among the top contending issues being considered by the electorate and analysts deduced from opinion sampling or vox populi were the issues of professionalism, technocracy, sphere of influence, and sadly, clannishness. While it was also a consensus ad idem that Governor Mbah had the first three qualities against others that were feeding basically on politics, the issue of clannish interest crept in. This beclouded sound judgement and almost knocked out rationality on its face value. That’s democracy and freedom. However, it’s the weakest link of democracy or politics where the decay is noticeable.

Raced up, technocracy knitted in democracy, like an enigma, triumphed. Governor Mbah, it would be recalled, had campaigned vigorously and unrepentantly about his disposition to disrupt the convention of political considerations in governance and administration. That should be the last forethought on the pyramid of decisions. People did not appreciate or were slow to understand what the message signposted until the complexity of his decision began to rip off the norm—the old order that had sunk the state into comatose.

SEE ALSO:  Prof Chidiebere Onyia: Celebrating the Unrepetant Technocrat with a Difference

The governor started with the appointment of the Secretary to the State Government (SSG)—Professor Chidiebere Onyia. His announcement was a chill pill. “From where?,” was the question blistering the political atmosphere. For some of us with a quick tap on the google button, we simply gave a terse reply: “Onyia is from the development space working with different world bodies, and consulting with the most civilized or developed nations”. That was the genesis of technocrats dominating the administration of Governor Mbah. It takes not just a technocrat but a complex, versatile, multi-talented and distinctive technocrat to discover and reach out to other technocrats.

The governor often tagged a quote on his mission to making the state the best or the most outstanding in terms of security, investment, tourism, standard of living and eradication of poverty as being a leader who should take the people to where they ought to be rather than where they wanted to be. To achieve the above, there are far-arching implications. Taking the economy from a wobbling $4 billion to $30 billion; constructing a 10 thousand kilometers of road; eradicating poverty; training and upskilling thousands of youths on a yearly basis; making the state attractive to investors; getting the world to see Enugu as the next tourist attraction; digitisating the state’s services, etc, are not just a thing for political settlement, or as Harford called it, for democracy to determine, instead, they are core technocratic decisions. That informed the rational behind the governor assembling a world-class team to drive the mission. On the operational level, the SSG is now piloting it. A quick glance from the SSG’s quote: “Gentlemen, do not allow the His Excellency to descend from the Executive Level of decision-making to Operational Level. We must drive this together”. Indeed, the executive level is no cruise; it’s no envy; it’s no smile. Every day at that level entails making hard, demanding decisions just to advance towards the goals.

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For those that have been following the trend in Nigeria and Enugu State in particular, Prof. Onyia has not had it so rosy. He often admits that the space where he formely played sharply contrasts with the present political space where members of the public, used to politics, defined everything from the lens of politics and politicking—this could be the murky waters of politics that has become a toga in the lexicon of our socio-political sphere. Regardless, the journey to take the people to where they ought to be must continue. That determination is no apology. Enugu State must get it right this time, and time, being the ultimate verdict of human affairs, is ticking against odds in favour of a new dawn in the State.

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One thing cannot be wished away; Governor Mbah started on a wise and, arguably, the best note. His operational team, often brandished by him, has been on the ground driving the core policies and programmes. In the past 8 months, transformation in the state has taken a new shift; a new definition most acceptable from all indicators of development. We’ve got the SSG passionate about the mission and vision, frontally and vigorously pursuing the course. It is not surprising.

When the state cancelled the illegal sit-at-home orders by some faceless non-actors which had badly hurt the economy and people of the state, it took a strong willed people, including the SSG to stand firm and weather the storm of blackmail, threats, fake news and false campaign sponsored by the enemies of the state to reassert the primary responsibility of the government—to protect life and property of the citizens. It was even baffling that most of these victims of sit-at-home orders and the accompanying consequences of diferring such orders did not appreciate that the government was fighting to protect them from the scourge of the bloodthirsty hoodlums. I guess they are now seeing reasons to appreciate the government for sticking to its gaunlets.

Although not attached or close to Prof Onyia because of the different spaces at which we play, I have had the opportunity, in recent times, of working with him. My role has increasingly tilted me to his space for directives and meetings. Having worked with him and understood his orientation, drive, passion and traits, I could submit of him that a vista of hope, reinvigoaration and narration in the state are only possible because of people like him.

Prof Onyia has never shied away about his staunch discipleship of Governor Mbah’s school of thought and governance philosophy. He preaches it and tries to make disciples of us in the system. He warns against deviation from the governance philosophy and insists every of the governor’s pronucements in terms of projects to execute or what to achieve must be accelerated by field workers. It is a standing mandate since he believes, as the governor also does, that everyone that made it into his cabinet and team was selected out of competence, competitiveness in capacity and informed technocracy. This places a burden of expectation on every member of the team to work as a family with superior intellectual and practical capabilities.

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Should I also be surprised? No. Prof. Onyia has proved, even beyond any shadow of doubt, that his technocratic prowess is tested and proven in different spheres. It was no politics that his choice of appointment was made. Heading sectoral clusters in the development space is no Pavlovian response by the critical bodies that had always engaged him. His operational excellence transcends his professorial fields in education, sciences to development and capacity building. He should as well be called a Professor of Development and Human Capacity Building!

I’ve been fascinated by the restlessness of the Professor to achieve those things set out by the governor in his Social Contract with the people. Every day counts in the calender of the government. Every day measures individual’s outputs and every day is significant in the journey to achieving a modern Enugu State. This caps the mission of Governor Mbah Administration.

Even as we were at today’s weekly Strategic Meeting, a reiteration reminding us of our Key Performance Indicators (KPI) by the SSG were the following words: “Gentlemen, His Excellency, Governor Peter Mbah, is in a hurry to deliver, and we must also be in a hurry to ensure all he promised are delivered before time”. If the principal is in a hurry delivering, keeping sleepless nights in the office, inspecting already executed and other ongoing projects, querying contractors on job specifications, what less is expected from the field workers! Courage!

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I will leave with these few words; meritocracy of idea, team spirit, respect, evaluation, traceability, transparency, discipline, accountability, optimal performance and disruptive innovation, are all the governing philosophy hanging like an almanac on the wall of our office and bedroom, reminding us like Andrew Marvell’s “To His Coy Mitress”, “But at my back I always hear time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near”. Glad the administration has achieved in areas of water, security, infrastructure, education, empowerment, poverty eradication, youth training, technology, healthcare delivery, agriculture, sanitation, tourism and others. It is possible because the right people were involved.

In love and in respect, I am more than glad; superlatively glad that a day like this where some of us could celebrate an epitome of technocracy knitted with workaholism is afforded. Dear Professor Onyia, even though you’re too serious, bullish and unapologetic about delivery, you remain a good man. Your heart is full of compassion and love. More strength. Congratulations! Happy Birthday

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Opinion

10th Senate; Giant Strides/Starts of Senator Ahmed Wadada Aliyu

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Senator Ahmed Wadada Aliyu

By Alfa Shittu Ishiaka.

Senator Ahmed Wadada Aliyu (Sarkin Yakin Keffi) Fondly refered to as ” The Horse Rider” is the Chairman, Senate Public Accounts Committee of the 10th Senate of the National Assembly under the leadership of Senator Obong Godswill Akpabio as Senate President, having won under the platform of Social Democratic Party SDP from Nassarawa state in the last March, 2023 general elections held in Nigeria and sworn in June, 2023.

Wadada representing Nassarawa West in the Senate is a political heavy weight both at the state and national level with ranking advantage as former member House of Representatives in 2011, when he represented Keffi, Karu and Kokona federal constituency of Nassarawa state.

A regular and frequent attendant of both plenary, committees and special session of the current Senate, was highly rated as one of the active senators in the current dispensation through public opinion poll, unknown to him.

An analyst described him as Agile, hardworking, Courageous , Fearless , focused, vocal and always up and doing,. Senator Wadada’s appointment came at a time when the need to rejig oversight functions of not only Ministries, Departments and Agencies needed a review and improvement, but including the need , to position government agencies with a view to delivering on their mandates.

Six months down the line as member of the Senate of the 10th Assembly, the workaholic , tireless Nassarawa West Senator has sponsored five bills with National and State impact on his constituents in Nassarawa state, a rare feat in recent times.

The bills covered areas of Agriculture, Auditing, Land Registry, Investments, and Transportation in the nation’s city, which played a crucial role to the development of both Nassarawa state and the country at large.

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1. Agriculture Research Council of Nigeria Act Amendment Bill, 2023(SB.56) for establishment of a School of Fisheries and Aquatic Science at Umaisha in Toto Local Government Area.

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2.Audit Service Bill, 2023(SB 132).

3.Federal Land Registry ( Miscellaneous Provision) Act. Amendment) Bill 2023(SB 178).

4. Nigeria investment Promotion Commission Act(Amendment) Bill, 2023(SB.196).

5. A Motion for the law enforcement agents to stem the tide of illegal garages, pick – up and drop off points in the FCT metropolis.

This was in June 2023 three days after the convening of the 10 the Senate.

All hail above mentioned bills have scaled first reading and are awaiting the second reading to enable the Senate debate it appropriately.

There is hardly a day, Senator Ahmed Wadada Aliyu doesn’t contribute to the activities in the Plenary being a vocal, focused and a ranking legislator already conversant with the challenges of law making and all required to achieve maximally. His voice in the constituency is also loud as he is a man in sync with his constituents.

In addition to his chairmanship of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts , Distinguished Senator Aliyu Wadada also hold the membership of the following committees of the Senate.

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1. Marine Transport.

2.Ecology and Climate change
3.Agriculture Production ,Services and Rural development.

4.Employment and Productivity
5.Foreign Affairs.

6.Agriculture Colleges and Institution.

7.Solid Minerals.

8.Youth and Sports.

9.Navy.

10.Oil and Gas host Communities.

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11.Trade and investments.

12.Women Affairs.
and

13.Media and Public Affairs.

To solidify the oversight functions of his committee, Wadada in 2023 advised President Bola Ahmed Tinubu through his committee on the need for appointment of substantive Auditor General of the federation OAGF, an advise the President oblige without delay in line with the constitutional requirements.

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As we look forward towards the resumption of the National Assembly by January 30 , 2024 , no doubt the Nassarawa Senator will do more in all areas to ensure smooth running of government in all areas.

• Alfa Shittu Ishiaka is Senior Legislative Aide to Senator Ahmed Wadada Aliyu

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Opinion

‘No gree for anybody’ slogan and the faulty mindset of the Nigeria Police, By Law Mefor

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‘No gree for anybody’ slogan and the faulty mindset of the Nigeria Police, By Law Mefor
•Dr. Law Mefor
This Friday, African Independent Television (AIT) aired two opposing press statements of the Nigeria Police and the Army regarding the Netizens’ 2024 slogan, “No Gree for Anybody.” The Police spokesman Olumuyiwa Adejobi issued a warning, stating that the slogan might cause the nation’s law and order to collapse.

He said, “We have been informed from our intelligence that this slogan is coming from a revolutionary sector that may likely cause problems across the country.”

On the other hand, the Army took up the slogan and used it to exhort Nigerians to rise against the banditry and terrorism that are destroying their nation. The Director of Defence Media Operations, Edward Buba, promised that the military would take action with citizens’ cooperation.

Hear him: “Make Nigerians no gree for terrorists this year. You see something, you say something and we assure them of doing something,” he said in pidgin.

To be quite honest, one had anticipated that the Police would be riding high on the slogan, much like the army had, and encouraging the populace to use the term constructively, aid the Police in their efforts to rid the country of crime. Instead, it was the army that seized the opportunity, and it was not surprising.

One perceives the slogan from a good standpoint. The slogan was created by the netizens to give them the courage to face the economic challenges head-on. Therefore, it is best seen as a motivational stunt by the young people of Nigeria to keep going despite crippling poverty, skyrocketing inflation, and rising unemployment.

There are moments when one questions why the Nigerian Police frequently view gatherings by Nigerians, particularly the younger generation, as dangerous. In civilised countries, the police are the most valuable social asset for the populace. Because of this, people in the West typically threaten to “call the police,” and when they do, the police show up to help them within minutes. Can Nigerians proudly do the same?

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Due to their flawed policing philosophy, which has caused them to become estranged from Nigerian citizens, the Police have not yet attained that position in our country. For instance, the majority of Nigerians frequently lament that the country’s police force seldom answers their calls for help. The public complains that “Bail is free” is just for people who haven’t visited Nigerian police stations, and that our police typically show up long after armed robbery attacks. Numerous residents have complained that the police will occasionally just watch while people are robbed without taking any action. Money may influence the course of justice, as many claim that a person cannot even get their complaints investigated if they are unable to pay for the investigation.

So, not the slogan of the netizens, “No Gree for Anybody,” which they coined as a self-help, but the reason for the police’s indifference and officers’ bystander’s apathy should bother the police leadership, especially IGP Kayode Egbetokun. In the criminal justice system, Police dispassionate investigation and meticulous prosecution is a sine qua non.

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The foundation of this flawed police mentality has its roots in the colonial past, which sowed the oppressive character of the Nigerian police. The Police were then employed by the colonial overlords as an instrument of repression to maintain the oppressive colonial rule over Nigerians. Very little has been done by Nigeria’s succeeding presidents to turn the Nigeria Police into a people’s force and civil organisation.

I’ve questioned several senior Nigerian law enforcement officials with whom I am acquainted why they are against renaming the Nigeria Police Force. My beef is with the name that ends in “Force,” and I want to know why. Just “Nigeria Police,” please. There isn’t a single civilised nation that I am aware of whose police department names itself “Force.”

Every name has a psychological connotation. People frequently live up to the connotations of their names, which is why some people decide to change their uninspiring or negatively charged names. Therefore, it seems to me that the Nigeria Police’s use of the word “Force” is the foundation of the oppressive mentality and attitude towards citizens, as well as how they handle their members.

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The Police should cease acting as a “Force,” acting as though Nigeria were still under military rule or colonial rule. The police shouldn’t use force as a tactic making it compete with or emulate the military. A civilised society is mostly determined by the civility of its police, and using force to accomplish police tasks is not always necessary.

Additionally, policing under a democracy differs from policing during a dictatorship or military era. This gave rise to the idea of Democratic Policing, which has since gained traction and ought to be the main focus of the necessary reforms in the Nigeria Police, which IGP Kayode Egbetokun should also lead. The idea that public support and consensus underpin policing is the fundamental basis of democratic policing. Furthermore, police transparency and accountability are necessary for democratic policing. A democratic police is, in a major way, politically impartial. For instance, police are not supposed to take sides, or obstruct the course of justice. Equal law enforcement is the goal of a democratic society. Nigerians long for this kind of police and IGP Kayode Egbetokun should lead in providing it.

Eliminating the “Force” and sticking with the term “Nigeria Police”, as it is in Western countries, is a good place to start. The Nigeria Police Force will start the process of becoming a people’s police when the word “Force” is removed, which would also give greater credence to the adage “Police is your friend.” No one ever shakes hands with their fists clenched, as reformer Mahatma Gandhi once stated.

Every IGP before now has disagreed with the idea of community and state police. IGP Kayode Egbetokun sir: Will anything change?

It important to point out that Nigeria is a federation, and it is the only one of the 26 federalist nations in the world with a centralised police force. One always hears that Nigeria is not ready for state police and community police whenever the topic is brought up. According to this misguided reasoning, Nigeria is not yet ready for true federalism, of which state police are an essential component. Because of this mentality – a holdover from the lengthy military rule—Nigeria is a federated country with a unitary system.

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More insecurity has resulted from forcing Nigeria to become a unitary state. Ungoverned areas in Nigeria are growing. Many areas of the nation have been overtaken by bandits and terrorists mostly as a result of the Nigeria Police’s shortcomings, which could have prevented them in their tracks and this is evident in the Nigeria police structure, manpower, motivation, and other factors. For example, Nigeria’s police officers and men are only 371,800, who are expected to efficiently police 176,000 wards, 774 LGs, 36 states, and a federal capital territory. Since this is not feasible, the army is actively engaged in internal security operations, which are officially within the purview of the Nigeria Police.

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A vast number of the Nigerian military has been diverted from their primary military responsibilities and assigned to domestic security operations due to the insufficiency of the country’s police force.

IGP Kayode Egbetokun only needs to accomplish these two things to write his name in gold: 1) Change the image and give the Nigerian Police a human face by treating the country’s young and populace as allies rather than enemies, and 2) advocate for changes that would result in State Police and Community Police. Without democratic policing, civilianising Nigeria’s society and people will be impossible.

God bless Nigeria. God help the Nigerian Police. Say amen to that.

•Dr. Law Mefor, an Abuja-based forensic and social psychologist, is a fellow of The Abuja School of Social and Political Thoughts; drlawmefor@gmail.com; Twitter: @Drlawsonmefor

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