BY WILLIAM BOZIMO
A few news reports in the past week had given credence to the inability of state governors in curbing either excesses of wandering Fulani herdsmen causing mishaps in Benue. And also coming from Ebonyi state Governor David Umahi has cried out against APC opposition members, influencing the arrest of top government officials and even policemen loyal to the state government where cases in the state were being transferred to Abuja on trumped up charges.
He made the disclosure while receiving the Assistant Inspector General of Zone six in Calabar. The cry from Benue was the call by a member of the House of Reps calling President Buhari to stop the killings in Benue by the President.
The Governors are the Chief Security Officers of states, but when there is a security breach within their States appeals are usually directed at the Presidency.
For example, when there are occasional clashes between communities like Aladja and Ogebeijoh communities in Delta state, the Governor of the state averred a final White Paper will be released to resolve a lingering communal crisis between the two communities dating back to times immemorial. To enforce its White Paper, the Delta state government would still need the support of the Federal government, because no Commissioner of Police in the states could dance to the whims and caprices of the Governor of the state without authorisation from the Inspector General of Police, in Abuja.
If governors are being intimidated by the Federal Government using the Police Commissioners in states, what become of the general elections envisaged in 2019?
Side by side with the ability of the police to help rig elections for the APC government at the centre and with increasing fears of any bandwagon effect if the proposal by INEC to begin the elections with the Presidential elections are conducted first.
The main opposition party – the PDP must be Eagle- eyed to block all the leakages through which elections could be rigged. We all know that rigging can only take place where a party is weak and not performing well.
Beyond heaping blames on the police across the country, what of the role of the umpire the INEC led by Prof Mahmood Yakubu? What can the state governors in the opposition parties do to overcome the forthcoming rigging machinery of the ruling APC party at the federal level?
The state governors must be proactive and sensitise their members to be aware of the heavy task ahead of them and start plugging the areas where they could be out-rigged by APC rigging squads.
There are always ways the state governors can build great working relations with Commissioners of Police, who are generally from the Northern extraction and, therefore, are liable to play the political game that would suit their Presidential brother in Aso Villa, President Muhammadu Buhari.
But the reality on the ground is that politicians of clout, who had been in this game, had other ways of watering their friendship with Police Commissioners who are also conscious of their retirement days in future. The postings they enjoy in states run by the PDP also stretch their hands of fellowship with incumbent governors who generally engage special public relations activities to the police bosses in their states, so that they do not dramatically become awkward guests of governors they are supposed to give security cover.
If a CP in any states goes out of its way to be anti the Governor of the state where he is serving, there are other ways of reporting him to his boss- the IGP and he could risk being recalled to a less lucrative posting in the headquarters in Abuja.
There are stories where police officers lobby seriously for favoured postings to the Niger Delta, where it is presumed that there is plenty of oil and gas money to be made.
A casual journey in a public transport from Yenagoa to Asaba had revealled that the police check points on the way are more than twenty and at every police check point the drivers know what to do before asked to pass on.
With such toll gates which are unauthorised on the roads so much is made by the police who smile home until their salaries arrive at the month end.
General elections are like a festival period for all manner of security groups- DSS, Police and even militia groups in most states. In remote parts of certain states, where it is difficult for conventional policemen to access, except at their own risks, elections are just routine affairs and votes are recorded at the Offices of those in power in the states.
One can recall the last gubernatorial election of Mr. Willie Obianor of Anamabra state where he cried out boldly and clearly to President Buhari to ensure a free and fair poll; and it turned out Governor Obiano won decisively in Anambra on the platform of APGA.
I think, without being too combative by state governors, neither the President nor INEC boss, Yakubu, could go out of the way to inflict needless rigging in any state where it is established that the APC is not in contention or had not campaigned fiercely to upstage the parties in power. We should avoid giving the Police a bad name in order to criminalise its efforts at keeping the peace across the country.
Remember, the Police is your friend .Trust him to do good to any manner of persons or parties in and out of power, either at the Federal level or in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
Originally published by Independent