By Pascal Chimezie
Governors of the Southeast rose from a meeting, agreed to set up a joint security outfit, code named, “Ebube agu.”
This was part of the resolution of the governors and heads of security agencies at a South-East security summit held in Owerri, Imo State, on Sunday, 11 April, 2021.
It’s like morning time for our governors! Are they finally waking up? Or are they still daydreaming and hallucinating? One hopes this is not yet another kite they are flying like kids? Remember, many of us flew kites during our childish years. But you don’t continue to fly kites forever. “Obi is a boy” all year round is a bad progress report.
In 1st Corinthians 13:11, St. Paul wrote, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (NIV). Sadly, not many have left behind like St. Paul their infantile actions and reasoning. And childishness can cost very dearly!
What exactly did the Southeast governors say they have agreed to do?
Did they say, “We have set up a security outfit”? Or, “We have agreed to set up,” meaning, “We are going to set up”? It’s still futuristic. Not an action already taken and accomplished. For how long will our governors in the Southeast be blowing hot air? Why is it difficult for them to get their acts together and act timeously without equivocation and prevarication?
Will the proposed security outfit, like Amotekun in the Southwest, from which our governors have refused before now, to borrow a leaf, be backed by legislations enacted by the hitherto docile State Houses of Assembly in the Southeast? What is the timeline to accomplish all this? It is taking our governors “40 years” to get mad at the ever deteriorating security situation in Nigeria, which continues to fester every day and fast drifting down Southeast! May be we should equally ask them, how long they will live to practice the “madness,” so to speak? What will be the mandate of the “will be” security outfit?
According to a communique put out by governors of the Southeast, it says, among other things, the agency, that is, the “will be” security outfit, “is to oversee and monitor the activities of vigilante groups in the region.” Please underline these words, “oversee and monitor… activities of vigilante groups in the region.”
Is this new security outfit coming to secure the Southeast region, or is it coming to checkmate the existing various vigilante groups in the region?
Having tried in futility to take over and control the controversial Eastern Security Network (ESN), is this latest move by the governors attempt to create a counter balance force, which many fear may worsen the already bad security situation in the region.
We should also ask the governors what happened to their so called “community policing arrangement” they were hoodwinked to buy into by the former inspector general of police (IGP), Muhammed Adamu? Why is it not working again? Why, upon all your heavy investments in the Nigerian security agencies, they keep failing you when you need them most? Where is the “Forest Rangers” or is it, “Forest Guards” the governors had long been proposing to set up to secure the forests in the Southeast?
When you make promises and fail, how do you think the people will take you serious?
Now, check this out. According to Aloy Ejimakor, the following are the “heads of security agencies” in the Southeast who may have attended the security meeting with the governors:
Maj-Gen Abubakar Maikobi (GOC, 82 Division, Nigerian Army).
Air Vice-Marshall Idi Amin (Air Officer Commanding). Yusuf Ishaku (Director, DSS Anambra). A. J. Ibrahim (Director, DSS Abia State). H. E. Abdullah (Director, DSS Ebonyi). B. Likinyo (Director, DSS Enugu). Baba Tijani (AIG, Zone 9, Umuahia). Awosola Awotinde (CP, Ebonyi State). Ahmadu Abdulrahman (CP, Enugu State). Nasiru Muhammed (removed) (CP, Imo State).
You will notice that there’s NO SINGLE IGBO or Southeast person in the helms of deciding matters of security (life and death) of the Southeastners! This is unconstitutional and violates federal character principle as enshrined in the Constitution.
The “federal character” principle, which has been enshrined in Nigeria’s Constitution since 1979, seeks to ensure that appointments to public service institutions fairly reflect the linguistic, ethnic, religious, and geographic diversity of the country. But the present regime of President Muhammadu Buhari has turned this very vital constitutional provision, which seeks to manage Nigeria’s multisectional diversity, on its head by its various reckless and nepotistic appointments. The truth must be said as it is.
For the Southeast governors, leadership may be defined in various ways. But they must understand that one of the hallmarks of true leadership is ability to foresee danger and take proactive steps ahead to prevent it from becoming an emergency. If they had acted decisively when they should, perhaps, the emergency situation on their hands, which they are trying to confront would have since been solved.
We are, however, keenly watching to see how things will turn out in the days ahead. But it is important to emphasize here that the security and safety of every Southeastner and indeed the entire region should be paramount, and nothing should be done, wittingly or unwittingly, to either jeopardize, compromise, or politicize it.
NB: Comrade Pascal Chimezie, a former Secretary General, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Ikeja-Lagos, writes from Lagos.