The clamor for the restructuring of Nigeria has gone round the geo-political zones to need further edification. But the time has come for Nigerians to act and quit being talking. We talk too much; it is time for some actions.
The country is at a precipice. And attempts to continue shifting the incongruous nature of the state of her affairs and blaming it on providence is turning the word restructure into a mantra that may eventually become our undoing
The question is who is afraid of restructuring Nigeria and why?
Any nation that cannot boast of a twenty-four hour electricity generation to run her industries, homes, businesses and sundry affairs of her citizens is not a nation whose leaders are serious and concerned about nation building and the welfare of her citizens.
One does not learn at the job, you train for the job. Government was never met for mediocrities and a testing ground for the unwilling. It is for persons with proven abilities, sound mind, varying experiences, wisdom and knowledge. It is for persons who come in and hit the ground running after a brief exposure to the rudiments of internal and external governmental protocols and procedures.
To begin to get things right in Nigeria, we must start from the elephant in the house. We should start by first eradicating the federal police system and resort to state and community policing.
Nigeria has seen it all when it comes to violence and loss of life and properties, including hunger, strife and agitations. To state or suggest that the state police will exacerbate it is one too many a falsehood designed to keep postponing the inevitable.
The truth of the matter is that the federal police and the way it has been operated on in Nigeria, is a darling for dictators, oligarch, megalomaniacs and plutocrats who hide under the banner of democracy to continue colonizing Nigerians long after her independence from Britain.
All our past presidents since independence to present, love the power and might of the federal police, but pretend to ignore the fact that freedom suppressed today is justice delayed and an anarchy brewing to exasperate.
The agitations by varying groups, all seeking to protect their interests in Nigeria today, are as a result of the might and power of the federal police who they see as an invader of their territory, puck nosing into their ethnicity, culture and space. No one wants to continue to leave as a suspect in his or her own house and backyard.
We should do away with the federal police and institute state and community police before we can begin to have any meaningful discourse about the way forward in Nigeria. The effectiveness of community policing in crime prevention and detection, as attested to by the police, shows that state police would do a better job.
The excuse that states governors are going to use the state police to their advantage should not be the headache of Mr. President and his henchmen.
Let it be the headache of the citizens of that state. And if the capable men and women in that state choose to be docile and sheepish, so be it. And with time they wwould wake up to the reality of things in their locality.
Besides, the federal police can still be made to check on state police whenever necessary and if the state governors is found to use it as a tool in suppressing the rights, and privileges of the citizens of any state.
That is how it is done and it has proven to work and it can work in Nigeria too. FBI (Federal bureau of investigation) of the United States is a prime example of how a federal police should be operated.
The tale that the state police will lead to the break up of Nigeria is a gimmick of the political elites, not that of ordinary Nigerian citizens. It is the catcall of the elites, who have always used fear to marginalize and the threat of the eminent collapse of the country by feigning ‘one Nigeria ‘whose unity is non negotiable, to hoodwink the rest of us, while doing little to uplift the life of the average Nigerian citizen.
Ordinary Nigerians love Nigeria and want to stay together as one people.
The first casualty that will die a natural death the moment we do away with federal police is extortions in roadblock.
No state governor in his right mind will allow extortions in road blocks to continue in his or her state if he or she wants to continue in office without the threat of impeachment.
As it presently stands, no Nigeria feels guilty of any crime committed because they see it as a national past time due to the atrocities of what they see and read everyday about the corruption of their leaders.
I firmly believe that when the issue of federal and state police is addressed Nigeria will be gaining her second independence, this time from her own citizens and leaders. Only after then can we begin to profoundly tackle our present difficulties in a broader perspective.
Nigerians are republican in spirit and very creative outside the shores of her mother country than they do at home because of the over bearing power and tendencies of a central government who through the use of the federal police suppresses their freedom and entitlements.
It is time we look directly at the face of our leaders and tell them enough is enough
Reform is correction. A revolution is a change of power. We do not need a revolution, we need a reform of abuses and maladministration of our past leaders and system of government. The first step is to recreate the police.
Usi okunbor, lives in Lagos and can be reached at email@example.com