Overcoming Nigeria’s security challenges: State police or leadership – Punch Newspapers

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A leader is the one who knows the way, shows the way and goes the way
—John C. Maxwell
One of the objectives of good leadership is to help those who perform poorly to perform well, and those doing well to do better
—Jonh Rohn
Leadership can therefore be simply defined as inspiring and motivating others to accomplish desired goals. Some of the basic attributes of a good leader are integrity, compassion, selflessness, vision and intelligence. A good leader knows when to sacrifice or subordinate his personal interest to national interest. A good political leader or statesman knows when to subordinate partisanship to the national interest.

Leadership character and society development are intertwined. That is the development in a society is to a larger extent the reflection of the leadership. But unfortunately,  some have, out of sheer ignorance or zealotry argued that what we need in Nigeria is not leaders but strong institutions. Do institutions operate themselves?  Who determines the modus operandi of institutions? Who ensures adherence to the procedures and rules of the institutions. An institution is made up of procedures, methods and rules that are to be adhered to.
Have we taken time to ponder over the consequence of bending or out rightly breaking the established procedures, rules and methods of an institution to satisfy narrow interests? Promotion of Osibanjo, Aisha Buhari’s ADC raises dust; that was the headlines of one of the dailies last month. Some police officers were duly favoured in promotion exercise over their contemporaries. What could be more demoralising and demotivating than when your mate or junior for no special or any exceptional performance,   suddenly becomes your senior? The present seemingly invincible insecurity is not unconnected with moles in the police and military, birthed by nepotism and favouritism in promotion and recruitment.  Also worthy of note is that nepotism and favouritism could cause ill feelings, bitterness and indiscipline amongst security personnel which could in turn birth moles in the force.
Another case of leadership deficiency that could cause institutional inefficiency was when in 2019 a highly placed political officer in less than a month of his resumption sent a list of unemployed graduates to a government agency for employment. Over 70% of the list was from a particular part of the country. This is against a proper procedure of advertisement in three national dallies for equal opportunities participation.  The consequence of this kind of faux pas is grave and as such, we should not cry over self-inflicted injuries when flies start paying us visits.
An IG once superintended over a police recruitment exercise in this country where about 70% was from a particular state.

When men in authority, who ought to ensure adherence to established procedures and rules deliberately and flagrantly compromised them to satisfy selfish and parochial interests, who should be blamed for malfunctioned institutions like the police?  Would state police solve the above-highlighted challenges? Is leadership or badly structured police responsible for the below-average performance of the Nigerian Police Force? If the recruitment process was tight and neat enough, Inspector Richard Gele that was caught taking bribes along Ayingba (in Kogi State) would not have in the first instance enlisted into the Nigerian Police Force. Unfortunately, there are many Richards in today’s Police.

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Why the discourse on state police in the first instance? Aside from civil war, in the political history of Nigeria, it has never been this bad. The blood of innocent souls is being shed in cold blood. The Nigeria Security Tracker of foreign relations revealed that 3,478 people were killed between December 2021 and June 15, 2022. In one fell swoop hundreds of Nigerians including military men killed by bandits.
Considering the intense agitation for state police, one wonders if the tolerance level and the political culture/maturity of Nigerian politicians are good enough to allow for state police. Amongst other compositing demands, can a state government that cannot pay teachers and provide basic amenities for their community fund state police? It is preposterous and laughable to hear some of our elites, in their characteristics shallow manner, argued that since state police is practised in Canada, Australia and America same should be practised here in Nigeria.
Considering the Nigerian socio-cultural and political idiosyncracies, is the tolerance and political maturity of Canadian, Australian and American politicians the same with that of Nigeria?
For a functional police force of our desire, the need for moral re-armament amongst our leaders cannot be overemphasised. Nigeria must display a reasonable level of integrity, propriety, fairness, justice and national interest over parochial interest in their actions and inactions. Promotion and recruitment in the Nigerian Police force should be devoid of nepotism and favouritism.
Pragmatic and sincere efforts are made to strengthen the present police force in order to make them more effective and efficient by way of better funding and equipment. Recruitment into the Nigeria Police force should be reviewed and sanitised. Politicians should not use their positions to influence recruitment into the force. Someone to be saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties should possess a significant level of moral decency. Policing should not be a make-shift job for dropouts or those never-do-well in school. The fellow should have passion for it. The headmaster, principal and director of student affairs, in case of graduates of university, and community head of where the fellow must have resided for a minimum of five years should attest to the moral decency of anybody that desires to be enlisted in the Nigerian police force.

Aside from good remuneration, the general welfare of individuals charged with the responsibility of protecting lives and property should not be toyed with. Nigerian police officers need to be trained and retrained locally and internationally and allowances attached to such training be paid in pretty good time. If I may ask: Why is the Federal Government not toying with the welfare of the military, the consequence is better imagined.
May God bless Nigeria

  • Adeleke writes from Suleja, Niger State

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