There comes a time in the political season, where aspirations that is considered familiar and goodwill towards society are being advocated to woo the masses’ confidence. Apparently, the advancement of such issues begins with a gentle but radical tone until it gradually builds up and set agenda in the minds of the citizens. The underlying assumption is to allow it snowball among the masses before the front-runners in this case, politicians use the bandwagon to grab power. At the moment, there is no catch phrase yet like the present administration rode on issues like true federalism and restructuring in its ‘Change’ and ‘Next Level’ campaign to power. A burden and heavy cross Nigerians still endure with growing pains considering the change and level at which things are shaping in the country. However, the motion would come with some baiting taste or irresistible candor to conquer, subdue, taunt or mock Nigerians. It is capable of holding the masses to ransom and they have no choice than to embrace and join the dialogue.
In the wake of the unending killings by insurgents, bandits, herdsmen and kidnappers across the country, can one therefore, say the appointed time for state police and resource control is nigh? The foregoing are only a few of the terrible things that may likely continue, if government remains in self denial about the common knowledge that the dark clouds over state police and resource control is the greatest sin in Nigeria’s politics today. However, the lone but prominent voice of His Excellency, Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai who, recently, in an event seized the opportunity to add his voice in the hullabaloo urging the federal government to give green light to state police and resource control respectively. While speaking at a live broadcast tagged: “The fierce urgency of now. Tactics and strategies to pull Nigeria from the brink”, he noted: “I would recommend the following immediate decisions and actions…give us state police now, vest all minerals in the states now, and decentralise our judiciary now, not later…”. Ever since that live broadcast, El-Rufai’s call has been the talk of the town, at bus-stops, vendors stand and street corners.
Although, he said nothing new that cannot be found in the editorial columns and opinion pages of Newspapers on any day. The views he expressed are regularly articulated daily at lectures and symposia across the country even before the advent of the ruling government. However, what gave the speech its cutting edge is that it came from somebody from the north where some incurable cynics for ‘one Nigeria’ believes that state police and resource control would tear the nation apart.
Indeed, governor El-Rufai had every reason to be concerned just like many well-meaning Nigerians who believe it was time to put a human face on the call for state police and resource control. This is because the federal government appears totally helpless as it seems it cannot do anything positively different to salvage the country from insurgency and economic doldrum. In the event of this shameful deficiency, the insurgents seized the opportunity to unleash terror and take control of more local government areas in some states in the northern part of the country.
Therefore, El-Rufai’s call is the kind of call no one should oppose as it would drive every state to think outside the box and be economically self reliant. No doubt, the call is purely patriotism at work. Still, trust Nigerians, many are skeptical as they ask, why now? could the call by any chance bear some hidden agenda, or political deception or ethnic or religious under tone? This is because, in every age and in every clime, all sorts of demand have been made in the name of patriotism with a hidden agenda that would play out much later.
As earlier noted, El-Rufai’s call is not sanctimonious. But, the call is for want of trying by government as it can no longer live in self denial with the height of insecurity in the country. Governor El-Rufai has made the incontrovertible point that, the country does not have enough soldiers, uniformed police, or secret police to project state power across the vast swaths, particularly the forests. The limited boots on the ground are not well equipped and are significantly lacking in the technology that can make their limited numbers matter. This is not only pathetic but shameful for a country like Nigeria, the ‘giant of Africa’. The most depressing thing about the call for state police and resource control is that despite several individuals, groups and organisations in the country that had argued that the Nigerian federation is unjust and unworkable with its current formation, government remains adamant to the call for restructuring. It is, however, sad that government’s continued refusal to recognise the need for state police and resource control has driven almost all the six-geopolitical zones into various forms of local security networks.
Governor El-Rufai probably provoked some of his colleagues to join the fray as governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state, during his second term swearing-in ceremony called for state police. He said: “The primary responsibility of any government is the security of lives and property of its citizens…we have been relentless in advocating for the establishment of state police…it is this incongruity which propelled the southwest governors to form a regional security network codenamed Amotekun…” Indeed, state police and resource control agitators had every reason to be concerned as the country continues to face the ordeal of insecurity.
Of course, the after effect is the disruption of economic activities while life is made unbearable for citizens as many hardly move freely to conduct their daily activities. In as far as security of lives and property remains the antidote for economic development and progress of every nation. It is therefore, improper that the federal government continue to romance and treat insecurity with kid gloves. In fact, the pre-eminence of security of lives and property in the country deserves no second thought for the creation of state police and allowing states to control their resources. At this point, it is worth stating the obvious that the country urgently needs an executive order for the creation of state police and allowing states to control its resources. The idea behind the central control of the police force and the cap-in-hand tradition for monthly largesse in Abuja must end.