By Morris Nwako
The prevailing security and increasing tourism business in the oil-rich Rivers State should not be allowed to be thwarted by what Governor Nyesom Wike describes as the security agencies’ partisanship in the state. Wike’s swipe is particularly directed at the Nigeria Police Force and the Department of State Services, whose partisanship in the discharge of their duties is no longer hidden.
The governor, who spoke at the opening ceremony of the Nigerian Bar Association’s annual conference in Port Harcourt, decried the decision of the police to execute an interim injunction on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) national convention and disregard a judgement that ordered it and the Department of State Services to provide security for the August 17, 2016 convention of the party in Port Harcourt.
Wike had succinctly argued that there was no reason for the police to execute the interim order of Justice Okon Abang in a suit where it was neither a party nor served with the order delivered late on August 16, 2016. Apart from describing the action of the police as scandalous and undemocratic, the governor accused the police of obeying orders from ‘above.’
The Police authorities should not dismiss Wike’s reservations on their men’s unbecoming conduct in Rivers State, especially their penchant for partisanship. Wike’s observation that while a large contingent of policemen were at the Sharks Stadium to prevent the PDP convention from holding, the protection of lives and property of the people of the state become inconsequential in the reckoning of the Commissioner of Police and the State Director of DSS, should not be overlooked by the police and DSS high commands.
Another bias alleged by Wike that the security agencies should be worried about is the fact that “in Rivers State, politics and partisan considerations now determine the posting of senior security officers to the state.”
The governor also expressly illustrated such insensitivity and perfidy with the frequent change of the police head in the state since May 29, 2015. In his words, “With an average turnover of less than three months, the present Commissioner of Police is the fifth police chief they have posted to Rivers State since we assumed office.”
These accusations should not only worry the head of the security agencies in question but also the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership and the presidency that promised Nigerians change and other mouth-watering goodies. Nigerians had thought that the change will signpost the end to impunity, discrimination, divisions, perfidy, partisanship, nepotism, tribalism and other ills associated with our nation.
They had erroneously thought that a change regime would not muzzle the opposition and not interfere with the judiciary. Public spirited Nigerians should rise up and condemn the alleged partisanship of the security agents. The entire security of a state should not be compromised on the altar of partisan politics.
Those in power today should realize that the survival of this nation and consequently this democracy lies in a multi-party democracy and not in one-party system or dictatorship. The descent to a one-party state or dictatorship will not only spell doom to this democracy, it will also kill the nation.
While the government is fighting corruption, it should also not tolerate impunity of its security agencies. All political parties and all Nigerians must be allowed to be. They should not be muzzled out of existence because of their political beliefs, aspirations and affiliations. Despite these diversions, Governor Wike is working round the clock to make Rivers State a tourist hub in West Africa. This can be attested to in the number of national conferences being held in the state in recent times. All Nigeria Editors have just finished theirs, some weeks ago.
The Nigerian Bar Association is about concluding theirs. Many of such conferences are still going to hold. Most of the visitors to the state are convinced that the governor has started on a good note and done well in road construction and other projects. Some of them are the Law Centre, the Civic Centre, the Federal High Court being constructed by the Rivers State Government, the Garrison-Akpajo-East West Road, Second Nkpogu Bridge and Dr. Peter Odili Road.
Others include the Abuluoma-Woji Road, Woji-Akpajo Road, Elelenwo-Akpajo Road, Sakpenwa-Bori Road, Rumukwurusi Eneka Road, Igwuruta-Okehi Road, Rukpokwu-Eneka and Oroigwe Road.
And to ensure that the security of lives and property in the state is not compromised at all, Wike has marshaled out some pragmatic measures to sustain it. He started this with the recent inauguration of the Peace and Security Committee of the state.
The committee comprised of all heads of security agencies and members of traditional institutions in the state. At the occasion, the governor charged members of the committee to work towards promoting security of lives and property within the ambit of the law.
In the same vein, his recent collaboration with the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) on security, technical education and agriculture is part of the measures to strengthen security in the state and create more jobs through vocational skills and agriculture. The governor has agreed with DFID’s director in charge of West and Southern Africa, Mr. Keith McGigan, to enable the state to deploy technology to fight kidnapping and enhance intelligence gathering.
Under their technical education arrangement, Rivers State technical education teachers will be trained in Britain for the purpose of equipping them with practical knowledge that they would impart to their students. The emphasis here is on vocational skills acquisition. The governor intends to use the vocational skills acquisition to create jobs for the youths.
He is also interested in making land available to British investors who want to invest in agriculture. This will boost the agricultural potentials of the state as well as lead to creation of jobs through agriculture. It will equally boost tourism.
Nwako writes from Abuja