15042019 - North now land of bandits, says Northern Elders Forum

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18 — Vanguard, MONDAY, APRIL 15, 2019

THE experience of Nigerians in

terms of security and inadequacies

thereof continue to be of interest

as it seems we are gradually

gravitating into a situation where

law and order is in retreat.

What happened during the last

elections in terms of police

performance is at issue here.

Apart from Lagos where armed

thugs disrupted the elections and

maliciously disenfranchised a section

of the population, and the

Kano supplementary election in

which security agents failed to

rein-in marauding hoodlums, the

Police generally performed creditably

during the 2019 general

elections.

On Wednesday, April 3, 2019,

Acting Inspector General of

Police, Mohammed Adamu, led

the top brass of the Police to the

office of the President of the

Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to discuss

ways of fast-tracking two

major Bills towards evolving a

Need to pass Police reform bills

better funded and more effective

Police Force.

These include the “Bill to

Reform and Re-enact the Police

Act of 1943”. It is aimed at

removing the colonial legacies of

the Nigeria Police which place

emphasis on protecting colonial/

state interests at the expense of

the citizenry.

The Bill will make the Police

more community/peopleoriented,

professional,

accountable and fine-tuned to

respect the international

standards in policing with

emphasis on respect for human

rights.

The second Bill is the Police

Trust Fund which aims to

meaningfully increase the funding

of the Police by ensuring that the

Federal, state, local governments

and the private sector contribute

to the funding of the Police. Police

will be funded from the

contributions of the three tiers of

government from the first line

charge of the Federation Account.

If these two Bills are passed into

law, it is hoped that the problems

that weaken the Force’s ability to

perform its functions effectively,

such as large-scale corruption,

impunity, inhuman treatment of

suspects, anti-people disposition,

poor equipment, neglect of the

welfare of officers and frequent

killings of innocent civilians, would

be tackled at the roots, while the

Force will then be made to be fully

accountable. The recruitment, training,

equipment, promotion and professionalism

will hopefully be

boosted.

We call on the Eighth National Assembly

under the leadership of

Saraki to make good its pledge and

pass these Bills as a parting gift to

Nigerians.

We also call on the President,

Muhammadu Buhari, to give them

his speedy assent to enable the

Police take off on a clean slate as

the next government is inaugurated

on May 29, 2019.

With a stronger Police Force, the

military will be less involved in jobs

meant for the Police in our

democracy.

OPINION

Imperative of a post-election renewal of Nigeria

By Sufuyan Ojeifo

WITH all its perceived imperfections,

winners and losers have emerged from

the just-concluded general elections. But

contrary to pre-election apprehension of

potential massive post-election protests, there

has been an eerie peace in the country. It

appears the spirit that propels citizens

overboard in disruptive protests to ventilate

anger and rejection of polls’ outcomes has

either been tamed or exorcized by a greater

force.

It is possible the restrained response to the

outcome of the 2019 presidential poll reflects

the non-violent and statesmanlike character

of the candidate of the leading opposition

Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku

Abubakar, who had indicated before the poll

that he would accept the result if it was adjudged

to be free and fair. He had also assured his

ambition was not worth the blood of any

Nigerian.

Abubakar’s decision to head to the

Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to

challenge the poll’s outcome has been largely

salutary to the achievement of the eerie peace

that pervaded the polity immediately after the

announcement of President Muhammadu

Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC,

as the winner of the election. As it is, the frontiers

of peace are expanding and there are daily

opportunities that the Federal Government can

take to strengthen the process of obligatory

post-election reconstruction or renewal of

Nigeria.

Countrywide reconstruction is imperative for

rekindling confidence in the Nigeria project.

It may flow with some sections of the country

if the exercise is described as restructuring,

which was the major plank on which the PDP

candidate struck a deal that earned him the

massive support of Southern Nigeria. If

tweaking the concept of restructuring to align

with the consensual disposition of Nigeria for

reconstruction and rearrangement of the ways

our commonwealth has been administered is

what is needed at this point in time for peace,

stability and progress, why not?

Steps should be taken for collective

reassurance of Nigerians that better years that

will usher in a more stable, united and much

stronger Nigeria are ahead, though we have

in our hands outcomes of a poorly-conducted

general election. Getting there requires peace

and stability of the polity. This is why the

measured peace in the country is critical. It

should not be taken for granted by anybody,

especially President Buhari.

Abubakar’s decision to petition the Tribunal,

challenging the poll’s outcome, had infused a

faltering polity with some breather of

sorts. There is a palliative air of equanimity

that has helped to greatly discount anti-Buhari

sentiments in the milieu of politics and in the

consciousness of members of the political elite

who exercise control over thousands of their

partisans. There is a significant sense that the

electoral process has yet to be concluded until

the courts dispense of the petition and deliver

their verdict. In essence, this is much better

than creating an atmosphere of utter

hopelessness that forces anxious partisan

elements to opt for self-help whether at the

clear prompting of their political leaders or at

the reading or misreading of the body language

of the leaders.

Whereas, what is paramount is taking steps

that preserve the national interest; the critical

elements that are requisite in driving the ship

of state in accordance, to wit - political

rapprochement, accommodation and/or

inclusiveness - must be deliberately deployed

by President Buhari in advancing national

reconstruction. The president had already

hinted at an inclusive government in his

victory speech. This progressive approach will

always help to becalm negative agitations if

sincerely adopted and pursued.

To be sure, this cannot be helped if the

opposition elements take deliberate and

precipitate actions that will make the nation

ungovernable. The national mood and the

capacity of the incumbent administration to

manage the nuanced public sentiments at

every point in the process will somewhat

Nigeria has the latent

capacities that can be

exploited to manage her

internal local politics and

dynamics

determine how the Tribunal and Supreme

Court will deal with the presidential election

petition. And, whatever the Tribunal and the

Supreme Court decide is what, in the long

run, should be paramount. It is expected their

verdict will be guided by national interest.

Therefore, the three arms of government,

acting responsively to the dispositions of

Nigerians and other external stakeholders,

must intensify effort towards ensuring that

peace and stability of the polity are

maintained. Nigeria cannot afford a

fractured and polarised polity at this critical

intersection where providence has placed on

her the leadership role not only in the West

African sub-region but also on the African

continent.

To mismanage this sub-regional and

continental leadership role in peacebuilding

will not augur well for Nigeria’s

profile in global affairs. Nigeria has the latent

capacities that can be exploited to manage her

internal local politics and dynamics. There is

also a patriotic, Nigerian spirit that inspires a

unique sense of resilience that makes citizens

to endure pains and strains of a seeming

unending voyage to political emancipation.

That is good for Nigeria’s growing democracy.

In this context, the National Assembly must be

commended for keeping up with its

constitutional and oversight functions

subsequent to the general election. The Federal

Legislature is moving fast, as if tomorrow will

not come, to wrap up consideration and passage

of the 2019 budget. Granted it is doing its job,

members must, regardless, be given plaudits

for putting behind them, the conduct and

outcome of the general election, especially those

who failed reelection.

On the executive side, President Buhari must

take pragmatic steps to reform the electoral

process. Nigeria had passed through this way

before. The nation had experienced an

admixture of the good, the bad and the ugly in

previous presidential elections. Whereas, the

1999 presidential poll had gone down in history

as the most credible in the Fourth Republic

democratic governance trajectory, the 2007

election had stuck out as the most rigged to the

extent that the beneficiary of the victory, Alhaji

Umaru Yar’Adua, had treated the process and

outcome with contempt.

To demonstrate seriousness, he initiated a

comprehensive electoral reform. A former Chief

Justice of Nigeria, Mohammed Uwais, was

appointed to head the Committee which came

up with far-reaching recommendations. Sadly,

the report is characteristically gathering dust

and cobwebs in the shelves of the Federal

Government.

Continues online

•Ojeifo, a journalist, wrote fromAbuja

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