The tardiness of the current postings redeployments of CPs does no credit to the Police High Command. Duty must go with sensitivity in such a crucial task
The road to 2019 is strewn with bumps and challenges. That, perhaps, is the only type of road Nigeria travels to its general elections. As it seems for Africa’s beleaguered biggest democracy, elections are not just war by another name, they can only be worth the name if the air surrounding them are pregnant and as precarious as the fate of a seriously ill patient in ICU. The prognosis is always less than encouraging; the outcome could go either way. Prayers and supplications to God for survival are not in short supply at such critical juncture. Alas the patient has a record of a troubled past. In the final analysis, it is in God’s hand – as they say it of Imo State. Literally. Unfortunately in this part of the world, so much that men could and should do for themselves are left in God’s hand. Thankfully, He remains a merciful father.
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The worries about the elections of 2019 are quite enormous and then some. For all of that, the issue that has progressively crystallized into a major stress point with frightening potentials for adversely affecting the elections is security. Not the intractable crisis in the North East. Not the Indigenous People of Biafra’s intermittent acts of civil disobedience in the South East flank either. Nor is the problem the still smoldering fire in the Niger Delta region. Serious as these security problems are, they do not present immediate and direct threat to the upcoming elections as many now view the Police and its perceived tendencies as doing.
The Police in Nigeria is of course, under the control of the government the centre. The accusation by opposition parties and political interest groups that the Police is acting out the script and interest of the government and party in power has always existed. The Police must have become accustomed to such charges especially around election period.
At no point in recent memory however, has the actions and tendencies of the Police in an election season generated such a huge cause for alarm as in the present dispensation. Curiously, if not worrisomely, the Police high command does not seem to bother about the apprehension many, especially in the flank of opposition parties feel about its conduct and tendencies. But it should bother. To do so does not in any way subtract from the professional firmness and alertness expected of it in the duty of securing the society.
Whether the Police is your friend or not does not really matter. The reality is that the Police bestride the society with a constitutionally fortified presence and has the duty to secure all citizens and activities within the country’s territory. As is the case with virtually all other activities in the civil society, the Police is a key factor in the conduct of elections. Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] realized this fact and so constituted an important committee on preparations for the conduct of elections known as Inter-Agency Consultative Committee on Election Security [ICCES].This Committee is jointly headed by the Inspector General of Police and the Chairman of INEC at the Federal level, and the Commissioner of Police and Resident Electoral Commissioner in the States.
The Committee which is composed of the leadership of all security services and agencies in the States and at the federal level meet intermittently and has the mandate to review security situation within their area of coverage, develop strategies for ensuring a secured environment for the conduct of peaceful elections and promote inter-security agencies synergy while working with the Election management Body to successfully execute programmes for elections. The very provision that the Inspector General of Police or the Commissioner of Police in the States should co-chair ICCES with the head of the Election management Body underlines the importance of the Police in the conduct of elections.
Recent developments at the Police High Command have however amplified worries in various quarters about the appreciation or lack of it by the Police leadership of the sensitivity in managing the electoral process.
Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson was the first State chief executive to raise alarm not too ago about the abnormal high turnover of Police Commissioners in his State. Bayelsa State has had no less than eight changes in the leadership of the Police in the State within a very short period according to the Governor. The Governor’s concern had nothing to do with the conduct of the 2019 elections, at least not directly. He was bothered in the main by the disruptive impact of planning and maintaining security in his state in a situation where the Governor has to deal with a new Police Commissioner every one or two months.
What Governor Dickson complained about concerning the high turnover of Police Commissioners in Bayelsa Sate has increasingly become the lot of various other states. For some states at the moment, it is almost one month one Commissioner of Police. The current bizarre process of posting and deploying Commissioners of Police in States at a dizzying frequency of fortnightly or thereabout presents a serious challenge in the concerted development of security strategies for the 2019 elections in many states.
The story was told recently of a new Commissioner of Police who just arrived and had his preliminary meeting with an INEC leadership in a State on strategies for creating a secure environment for elections. A follow-up and more detailed meeting between the new CP and his co-chairman of the ICCES was scheduled for the next week .Lo and behold few days to the scheduled meeting the less than one week old new Commissioner had been moved out again. How then does any reasonable and stable security plan emerge from this situation?
In case the Police High Command does not know, the impression out there is that the current frenzied posting and reposting of Commissioners of Police in the State has something sinister about it, with 2019 in view. The suspicion may or may not have substance. But then, even one is searching for a monster or a terminator, there must be better and more efficient means to identify and select the right candidate. The tardiness and disruptive style of the current postings and redeployments of CPs does no credit to the Police High Command. Duty must go with sensitivity in such a crucial task, especially at this point in time. Whatever else the primary duties of the Police High Command may be, it is not to unsettle the system and segments of the society who ordinarily should have no reason to be apprehensive about what ought to be well thought out and professional postings within the service.
Reactions to ‘Debate about Presidential debate’
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Please about presidential debate, may I plead with the debate organizers to allow our President to sit down during the debate if he wishes.
– Dr. Amachree Agbaniye
Andy, debates do not in any way help any candidate to win an election in a developing country. The past presidential debates that Shekarau outshone the others what was his electoral performance? The debate for the recent Osun State gubernatorial election was not attended by Senator Adeleke and he almost won the election. The population of citizens who will have both time and light to watch a live debate will be less than 5% of the voting population.
– Dike, 08033072852