From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
An Igbo statesman and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Chekwas Okorie, has expressed worry over the rising insecurity in the South-East, saying that the lack of state police, community policing and the issue of referendum as major causes of the problem.
He also identified a lack of synergy among South-East governors as a factor further aggravating the security challenges in the region.
Chekwas, a former presidential candidate of the United Progressives Party (UPP) and founder of the All Prrogressives Grand Alliance (APGA), said in a telephone interview that the security lapses in the country have become so worrisome that people have began to express doubts about the survival of the country. He said nobody could be comfortable about the insecurity in the South-East, adding that even the governors of the region have started to express doubts.
He noted that many Nigerians including himself have repeatedly called for state police forces and community policing, a call he said featured prominently in his presidential campaign in 2015.
Chief Chekwas insisted that until those fundamental security issues are addressed, the security challenges would never abate.
He called for the National Assembly work with executive arm of government to facilitate and expedite action in bringing about state and community policing, which he said had to be done urgently to arrest the situation as he advised the South-East governors to rise up to the challenges.
‘The lack of synergy among the leadership of the governors in the South-East is very disturbing and it didn’t just start today. Many of us have tried in our individual ways to appeal to them to be able to work together.
‘The South-East is not too vast in terms of land mass. It is easy for them to be able to work together to put the entire South-East under certain security measures and we will be able to have adequate security. We don’t need to wait for constitutional amendments. Lack of synergy is the problem,’ he observed.
He regretted that when some of the governors spoke, they would say that each state had its own peculiarities, which he dismissed as an excuse for not wanting to to co-operate.
‘This individualism that our governors are exhibiting has been the bane of the Igbo man in all aspects, which started since the civil war ended. It is unfortunate and I’m disappointed in them. We have been like this for a very long time, since the war ended,’ he declared.
He quoted Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first president of Nigeria, as saying that the worst thing that can happen to any people after the loss of a war is loss of self-esteem.
Chief Chekwas claimed that it was the loss of the civil war that has affected the self-esteem of the Igbo. He noted that the solutions are being sought, pointing to restructuring and state policing as two possible ways forward to restore ethnic self-confidence.
He called on the Igbo people to rediscover themselves, saying they have been blessed in many ways including population and enterprenuership, advising them to use those blessings consciously. According to him, the Igbo are the most backward people in terms of political consciousness.