by Chin Ce
Abuja, Nigeria: The call for devolution of powers to states is getting loud and strident. And a nation whose leaders are notorious for playing the ostrich game towards citizen welfare now witnesses another gathering wave of political dancing to the gallery.
Already a clueless, reactionary presidency led by retired general Muhammadu Buhari is dangling the olive branch to bullish state governors intent upon appropriating more powers of the federation unto their offices. In a sum they want State Police. But in verbal sleight of hand what they want is more power to run their political thuggery and killer squads, exactly as the federal government is doing with the motley gangs of state coercion called Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Army, Nigeria Navy, Nigeria Air Force, Civil Defence, DSS, NIA etc hoc.
Nigeria’s senate and house of representatives are led by corrupt and mutually corruptible members of political parties whose visionless membership composition is evident from their incompetence in national reorientation through a revised constitution. In their lack of preparation for future generations of the country, save their own future of squandering the wealth of the collective, they have opted in on the process of self appeasement by joining the list of propositions for state police.
The failure of leadership persists in a country as divisive, heterogenous and fanatically inebriated in religiosity as Nigeria. It is against this backdrop that the perpective to set the stage straight must be made now. It is important to lend a warning voice against this fevered choir rousing to empower a bunch of depraved psychopaths and murdering cult leaders called Nigeria’s state governors.
Isn’t it obvious to the first tourist on the streets that there is no democracy operating within the constituent states of Nigeria? Democracy which thrives on the will of the greater collective resulting in a government of the people by the people and for the people is virtually non existent in every state of the Nigerian federation.
Historically the political process that enables the swearing in of a governor is strewn with abuse and manipulation at state levels. The governorship aspirants emerge from political imposition at primary party elections. The actual elections are a charade of violence, rigging, fraudulent manipulation and intimidation of electoral officers. Usually the gubernatorial representative who stole the voters’ mandate gets his endorsement by bribing his way through the judicial system in Nigeria also fraught with political manoeuvring and corrupt inducements always up to the Supreme Court. Are Abia state and Akwa Ibom state not latest examples of the moral perfidy of Nigeria’s electoral justice systems?
As soon the sitting governor in Nigeria takes charge of affairs all the tiers of government are herded into impotent appendages of the executive personage. The legislative arm is atrophied to the extent of becoming a robotic stamp of one autocrat. The autonomy of local government administration is completely abolished.
State judiciary lacks independence and objectivity under Nigeria’s governors. Salaries and allowances of judicial officers are either withheld or never paid for several months. The state coffers is the personal bank account of the governor and his wife to dispense with in accord with their whims and caprices. Are Imo, Ebonyi and Ekiti states not living testaments to this mockery of civil democratic rule in millennial Nigeria?
Security in the hands of sitting Nigerian governors is riddled with abuse. Already the emergent local state militia has seen the escalation of reprisal violence from the so called government agents who double as political thugs of the governors, hounding political opponents and eliminating voices of dissent. Currently the Nigerian states of Ebonyi, Imo and Abia in the south east, Rivers state in the south central and the north central states of Kaduna and Kogi typify the abuse of office by political thugs and deluded touts paraded as executive state governors of the people.
It is the position of some voices of dissent that these petty tyrants must not be allowed to turn to absolute overlords of the state structure they routinely desecrate by their abuse of office and living above the laws of the federation. A faulty constitutional provision called immunity from prosecution empowers these unconscionable humans to act with impunity on state treasury and citizenship rights and responsibility. The addition of state police onto their arsenal will be doing exactly more of the monstrosity that bedevils the country by its planless and short sighted constitution built upon blind, inane mimicry of America’s deep state.
It perplexes analysts of the polity why the federal government and national assembly are adamant against the reformation of Nigeria Police with the urgency deserving of civilised society. The constitution writers in their military mindset has it enshrined as Police Force – a coercive instrument only subservient to the Army, Navy and Air forces, all scions of the West African Frontier Force, which the colonial British, through Major Lugard of damnable memory, used to subjugate the large part of northern and southern Nigeria. Since then the venal reputation of the police and military of Nigeria as the most corrupt and insanely brutal edifice of the colonial heritage has been acknowledged the world over.
So why does every sitting president of Nigeria along with the national assembly refuse to see to the dismantling of police mediocrity commanded by chronically debauched rank-and-file products of the system called inspectors general?
By way of restating the point, why are the elected representatives of the people unwilling to unbundle the police and remove its control from the office of a corrupted inspector general, and a corruptible presidency who appoints him, and who couldn’t care less as long as the command rests under the beck and call of himself, his family and friends?
Since Nigeria’s national assembly is designed to be bloated, expensive, inefficient and incapable of effective or significant changes to a constitution deliberately skewed toward unitarian rigidity, what is urgently needed for economic transformation is a federalism whereby political coexistence moves forward with the constitution of six geopolitical regions coordinating their own economic, judicial, security affairs with very little interference from the centre.
Other options within the unitarian structure that concedes more to state governors in the name of devolution of powers will further spell disaster for the tyrannised and emasculated masses of Nigeria. It will be an invitation to anarchy as the country fevers freely to all sorts of self help and cult diabolism in the bid to disentangle from the clutches and aggravation of deranged narcissist power mongers in every conclave of the states.
Need we remind their people that Nigeria’s governors all through North and South have only one ambition: to empty state resources into private pockets and run the economy as personal fiefdom, as currently obtains in Ebonyi, Imo, Abia, Kaduna, Rivers and Cross river states under the full glare of their decimated and disempowered populations?
Until restructure of the polity, which goes with restructure of the police system, Nigerians should not replicate the despicable failures of Nigeria Police in State police. The disaster of such security experiment is guaranteed to turn an already volatile country into a Rwanda, Somalia, Congo cesspool of violence precipitated by a vicious, devolving cycle of African barbarians going by the grandiose tag of executive governors.
Chin Ce can be reached on Twitter @ceChinCe