Some eminent Nigerians have called for decisive actions to save the country from socio-economic, developmental and security woes. The solutions they proferred included immediate amendment of the constitution, decentralisation of the Nigeria Police Force, restructuring of the country, and taming criminality and graft among others.…CONTINUE READING
Those who spoke were Leader of Pan-Yoruba Socio-Political Group, Afenifere; former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Chukwuemeka Anyaoku; former Anambra State Governor and 2023 Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi; and immediate past Minister of Labour and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige among others.
They shared their thoughts, recently, in Lagos at the presentation of a book: “Policing the Nigeria Police,” written by former Chairman of the Police Service Commission, PSC, Chief Simon Okeke.
Speaking at the event, Adebanjo, who restated his stand about restructuring Nigeria and change of the current constitution, hailed the author, who chaired the Police Service Commission during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, describing him as a man of great character.
He said: “This book only reinforces my stand about Nigeria and I’m very grateful to you (Okeke). You really portrayed the fact that the problems we are having today started long ago. And, it is largely because we lack good leadership, we have not been fortunate.
“I also read from your book about state police, which is a product of restructuring Nigeria. Many people don’t appreciate when we say that Nigeria must be restructured. This has been done in America, India, and Australia among others.
“Don’t deceive yourselves, Nigeria will be united principally on the principle of federalism, not by the principle of segregating a section of the country and pretending that we are one Nigeria.
“Many people don’t know why I took a strong stand on supporting Obi. It is not because of anything, it’s a matter of principle. I always say it, if they are sincere to continue this country together, they must adopt federalism, and state police is a component of a federal system.
“So, if we want to be sincere about ourselves, we must call a spade a spade. If we don’t change this constitution, don’t expect any free and fair election. And I tell you, the constitution we are asking you to change is not our constitution, it is the military constitution imposed on us and all the problems we are having in the country today, are contained in that constitution.
“I don’t live in denial, deceiving myself. So, it is left to you young men, don’t put your hope in these present leaders in this country, only those who are behind Obi were ready to work. Others were looking for an opportunity to loot, Obi wanted to change the system of corruption.
“If you want this country for our generation to come, and you want the youths and women to take part, change this constitution now.
“So the next stage after the so-called Supreme Court judgment is to agitate for immediate change of the constitution. Under this constitution, the power is so tempting and if anybody gets it, he won’t like to change it, that’s why you must agitate.
“I am only sorry for you young men, if you don’t fight for this constitution to be changed your future is bleak.”
Security of Nigerians should be decentralized — Ngige
Ngige, whose name was copiously mentioned in the book, said: “My name was mentioned in the book because the author, was the chairman of Police Service Commission, at the period I was Governor (in Anambra State before Supreme Court’s nullification of his 2003 election and declaration of Obi as winner in 2006).”
While also applauding Okeke, he also spoke on the change he desires to see in the police. His words: “First, there is no need to have a humongous Nigeria Police Force that is not decentralized. Security of the Nigerian people should be decentralized like we gave in the judiciary. We owe the people of Nigeria, the states, local governments and every ward the security of their lives and property.”
Nigeria has been turned into a gigantic criminal enterprise — Obi
On his part, Obi, who thanked elder statesmen like Adebanjo and Anyaoku for their contributions to nation-building, said: “Thank you for what you people have continued to do but I will continue to urge you, before you leave the stage, there is still more you need to do for Nigeria. We need to do a lot for our country. We know what we are going through today.
“Mine is to continue to urge all of us to work for Nigeria. When I see people like General Ike Nwachukwu, retd, I remember a simple story he told me about how his security vote was less than N10, 000 and he had to account for it.
“Today, those of us in politics are stealing billions without accounting for it. It is very sad and we allow it to go through. People like us have turned our country into a gigantic criminal enterprise. Please, put Nigeria in your prayers.
Always pray that those of us who are politicians will use public funds for public good.”
Also, Obi commended Okeke for the book and all the elder statesmen at the occasion while urging all Nigerians to keep praying for the country.
He said: “We need to do a lot for our country. We know what we are going through today and I thank all of you for your wonderful contribution.
Lessons from the book — Anyaoku
Chief Anyaoku, who chaired the occasion congratulated Okeke for finding time to write such a readable book on structure and organisation of the police.
“As someone, who has lived and witnessed policing in the United States of America, and in the United Kingdom, I must say that ‘Policing the Nigerian Police’ by Chief Simon Okeke is a contribution to the knowledge and the current debate about the structure and organization of police in Nigeria,” he said.
He continued: I have read the book, it is in my view, a fascinating and elegantly written narrative of his five years of public service as the chairman of the Police Service Commission, the commission is a body set up by our constitution.
I have enjoyed reading about the commission chairman’s interactions with the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, about his often bumpy relations with the Inspector General of Police, who seemed not to accept the full extent of the supervising role over the police as envisaged in our constitution.
“I also enjoyed his cordial collaborative interchanges with his colleagues.
His narration in the book is depicted with a vintage sense of humor and character of speaking truth to power and generally saying it as it is.
An example of this is his anecdote of how he handled his meeting with the President after counter-minding the instructions from the above to the state commissioner of police that the Police security personnel attached to the Governor of Anambra State, Chris Ngige should be withdrawn.
“And I also enjoyed reading the profile of the person and character of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as President and as a human being.”
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