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QuickRead: Afenifere’s push for state police. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter



The pan-Yoruba socio-political organization, Afenifere, last week asked the Federal Government to consider the establishment of state police and true federalism in the interest of the country.
The same week, the minister of state for defence, Bello Matawalle, alleged that former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration treated the country’s security challenge with a kid glove.
These and three other stories we tracked dominated public discourse during the period.

1. Afenifere’s push for state police

On November 9, the pan-Yoruba group charged the federal government to reconsider its stance on state police vis-à-vis the restructuring of the country.
In a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting held at the Ijebu Ode residence of its leader, Ayo Adebanjo, Afenifere also urged the government to consider changing the 1999 constitution by adopting the report of the 2014 constitutional conference or the Committee on Federalism headed by former Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to restructure the country.
The communiqué read: “Afenifere observed the alarming resurgence of insecurity occasioned by the activities of armed cattle herders terrorising farmers, killing, maiming the people and raping women for whom some of the host communities are no longer comfortable living with the killer guests.
“While Afenifere appreciates the constitutional rights of every Nigerian to live in any part of the country of his/her choice, it is important to stretch and ensure that such citizens live in peace with their hosts and respect their culture and economic prosperity.”

Why it matters

The group’s latest position on this subject is a reminder of the unfinished discussion on restructuring of the country which demands an honest dialogue between and among its various entities in a bid to address the separatist agitations and misgivings in Nigeria.
Afenifere and other well-meaning Nigerians’ regular push for devolution of power to the federating units lends credence to their desire for lasting solutions to the myriad of challenges, including insecurity, pushing the country to its knees.

2. Matawalle shades Buhari over insecurity
Bello Matawalle

The Minister of State for Defence, Bello Matawalle, on November 10 claimed that former President Buhari’s administration did not take the issue of insecurity in the country seriously.
Matawalle, who spoke when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Defence, said the ministry just took delivery of new attack helicopters to boost the fight against insecurity in the country.
He also told the committee that there was synergy among the current service chiefs.
The minister said: “As a former Governor of Zamfara I know what I have gone through on the issue of insecurity, particularly banditry, which is new to us in the North-West.
“The issue of Boko Haram is not new in the North-East and our system. But because of what has transpired in the previous government, the issue was not tackled seriously.
“Today, actions are being made and operations taken on such criminals. The issue of security needs collective cooperation from state, and local governments and the federal government for Nigerians.”

Why it matters

The negative reviews trailing the last administration point to how badly the country fared under its watch.
The remarks by those who served in the government or close to the corridor of power confirmed the opinions about the government’s poor handling of every area of our national life nearly pushed Nigeria into the unenviable position of a failed state.
However, Matawalle’s remark on the Buhari government was a subtle attempt to cover up his own underwhelming performance in Zamfara where the bandits held the North-West state under siege for the better part of his four years stay in office as governor.

3. Lukman’s craving for reform in APC

Former vice chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), North-West, Salihu Lukman, on November 9 charged the party leaders to push for reforms following a period of redundancy under ex-President Muhammadu Buhari.
In an open letter to party leaders, the APC chieftain stressed that the needs sweeping reforms to take it back to where its rightful place in the country.
He wrote: “Are we also going to experience another era of zero initiative for party building under the leadership of President Asiwaju Tinubu? Where is the claim of being progressives? Where then is the justification or any link to being an Awoist?
“It is no doubt agonising and troubling that President Asiwaju Tinubu is starting his leadership tenure of APC by sending a very strong disturbing signal that reforming the APC is not his priority.”

READ ALSO:QuickRead: Rivers political crisis. Four other stories we tracked and why they matter

Why it matters

Lukman may have hit the nail on the head for total reform in the ruling party to consolidate its success over the last eight years.
A sweeping reform will not only strengthen the APC for future elections but put the party in the right stead to avoid the pitfalls that almost led to the demise of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a party that proudly declared itself as Africa’s biggest political associations in the early days of the country’s 4th Republic.

4. Peter Obi breaks silence on Supreme Court ruling
Peter Obi

The Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, on November 6 criticised the Supreme Court over its verdict on the February 25 election.
The apex court on October 26 upheld President Bola Tinubu’s victory in the poll.
Obi, who addressed a press conference in Abuja, argued that the Supreme Court verdict broke the confidence Nigerians had in the judiciary as the last hope of the common man.
He said: “The energy of Nigerian youths has been amazing and I want to assure them that this is not the end of our journey but it is the beginning.
“We shall endure and persist until we reach our destination because one Nigeria is our destination.
“We don’t regret anything we did. We came out on a campaign for a new Nigeria which no other person did.”

Why it matters

Although Obi and his PDP presidential counterpart, Atiku Abubakar, are within their right to express opinions on important national issues, especially on an election where they are major protagonists, whipping up sentiments against the judiciary after the apex court had dispensed justice on the election dispute does not bode well for the country at this stage of our democracy.
The verdict again points to the fact court cases are won on grounds of cogent, compelling, or substantial evidence and not on implausible tales and emotion.
In all, the legal battle and the resentments that trailed the last elections highlight the need for improvements in the nation’s electoral processes to achieve polls that are acceptable to all.

5. Bandits killing of 9 in Katsina Maulud procession

Gunmen suspected to be bandits on November 5 killed nine people at Rugar Kusa village in Musawa local government area of Katsina State.
The spokesman for the state police command, ASP Abubakar Sadiq-Aliyu, said in a statement in Katsina that 16 other persons were seriously injured when the assailants attacked Muslim faithful celebrating the Maulud in the community.
He said: “On November 5, at about 10:30 p.m., suspected armed bandits in their numbers, wielding dangerous weapons such as AK-47 rifles and shooting sporadically, attacked the Maulud procession.

“Upon receipt of the report, immediately, operatives were mobilised and swung into action, where they succeeded in repelling the attack.”

Why it matters

The killing in the North again illustrates the collapse of the collapse of the country’s security architecture.
The continued attacks on soft targets by terrorists are becoming worrisome and the onus lies on the Tinubu administration to come up with strategies to neutralize the threats posed by the criminals.

By Hamed Shobiye

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