Federalism is the answer, after all -Part 18
The news that Nigeria is troubled is obvious to every discerning mind. The country’s security is pulling apart at the seams, and with an incapable state humouring itself that it is still in charge. Every medicine that is applied to the sick man of Africa that the country has become is undermined by recidivist feudal elite controlling the state apparatus. There has always been a residue of hope by well-meaning Nigerians that this house built on quick sand can be restructured, in other words rebuilt on a solid foundation that is federalism. Recently, free riding bandits created and nurtured into a monster by an irresponsible state actor fixated to implementing domination, struck and took our children from their boarding facility in a government secondary school in Kiagara, Niger State of the country. On account of this, there is the sudden awareness to go back to the prescription of state police, a sub-national force fit for countries organised as a federation. In our context, the idea has been hobbled by the ruling feudal elite, foisting on us their so-called community policing controlled by the Abuja central authorities.
It took the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, who candidly declared that they had lost confidence in the neutrality and capacity of community policing to serve the purposes engrossed in the Police Act 2020. The governors argued that the newly introduced community policing was already being abused with a noticeable detour from a decentralised grassroots policing with assigned role to stakeholders including the governors. Part of the contradiction of the new initiative is that it is being marred by partisanship. They therefore called for decentralisation of the police force as well as the introduction of state police as a recipe to the ravaging insecurity in the land.
Similarly, the Senate has also called on the president to declare a state of emergency over the security situation in the country. This call came on the heels of the abduction of students of Government Science Secondary School in Kagara, Niger State and the consequent point of order raised by Senator Sani Musa (APC Niger East) on the situation. Senator Sabi Abdullahi, also from Niger State gave a sense of territoriality to the insecurity in the land, by noting that the forest from the FCT, which extends to Niger up to Zamfara State had been under the control of the criminals. The overall implication of the development is that even the country’s capital of Abuja is threatened. Senator Bima Enagi, the third from Niger State on his part underlined the incompetence of the president to handle security challenges in the country. On suggestion note, he called for the amendment of the constitution to empower governors as chief security officers as a result of the failures of federal authorities to fulfill their constitutional role, to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.
The security question also resonated from the South East of the country where governors from that geopolitical zone of the country have resolved to form a joint security outfit to contend with the security situation in the country. Gen. Obi Umahi who was the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division of the Nigerian Army noted that while the nation’s security was ready to tackle the spate of insecurity in the country, he fingered sabotage within the security network including the military. He however urged Nigerians to unite to save the country from looming collapse.
We have always reiterated the point that the Nigerian security architecture smacks of domination by a section of the country. The federal principles would ensure equal representation in the security apparatuses of the country and mutual respect for the component units. As questioned recently by Retired Navy Commodore Kayode Olofinmoyin, what security representation can there be for the rest of the country when the country’s National Security Council is dominated by the north? Is it right for one section to decide alone the security needs of other parts of the country? This spells, in our opinion, internal colonization, and explains the domino effect of insecurity in the land with increasing gravitation to self-help.
To be sure, the subsidiarity principle is the federal genius. We have always lamented the fact that a federation where state governors as chief security officer have no control over the security apparatus of the federating units amount to a governance deficit. It is to be noted that there has always been the fear that state police would be abused by state chief executives, and correspondingly, we also allayed the fear that check and balancing measures will go with it. In other words, constitutional strictures would be created in ways that the control rest with the people, and arbitrariness of would be emperors would thereby be tamed. We saw how these layers of control played out in the mob invasion of Capitol Hill in the United States a few weeks back. We make bold to say that as things stand today, state police objective is an inevitable recipe for pulling together the dying state machineries. Again, it is not too late to save a country almost ruined by the power of a retrogressive unitary system. Federalism is the answer to all these national questions, after all lest we should be the last in the comity of even black nations we are expected to lead.
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