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State police: To be or not?

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State police: To be or not?
  •  Gains, fears of state police

 

The debate over the creation of state police has heightened of recent, given the rising insecurity across the country, but the hope of its realisation seems not yet in sight despite the recommendation of the Presidential Panel on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Reforms, which sanctioned its establishment. Felix Nwaneri reports

 

One of the most contemporary challenges of present day Nigeria is the agitation for state police, which its proponents strongly believe will ensure better security for citizens’ lives and property given the rising state of insecurity across the country and obvious inability of the Nigeria Police Force that is saddled with responsibility of maintaining law and order to contain the situation. Section 214 of the 1999 Constitution, which deals with the operation, control, discipline and promotion of the Nigerian police as well as Item 45 of the Exclusive Legislative List (Part 1) of the second schedule of the constitution provides that the Nigeria Police Force shall be under exclusive control of the Federal Government.

 

The constitution, particularly in Section 215 (2) states: “The Nigeria Police Force shall be under the command of the Inspector-General of Police and any contingents of the Nigeria Police Force stationed in a state, shall subject to the authority of the Inspector-General of Police, be under the command of Commissioner of Police of that state.” This provision practically takes away the powers of state governors, who are the chief security officers of their respective domains and makes it inadvertently difficult for them to take actions on matters of security without recourse to the Federal Government even in times of emergency. It is against this backdrop that the campaign for restructuring of Nigeria, which has been in the front burner for some time, has creation     of state-controlled police as part of its demands.

 

A former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (now National Leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress – APC), apparently kickstarted the campaign for state police, when in 1999, he called on the then Chief Olusegun Obasanjo-led Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Federal Government to review relevant sections of the constitution to allow states to form and maintain their own police forces as practiced in other advance societies.

 

He said then that over N12 billion, which the state government spends annually on the police in Lagos State, was more than enough for the state to float and sustain its own police force. While the Obasanjo administration did not heed to the call, Tinubu’s successor, Babatunde Fashola (immediate past Minister of Works, Power and Housing), who sustained the campaign, argued that opposition to establishment of state police structures has largely been driven by an exaggerated, misleading and unfounded precedent that focuses on the abuse of state police through political interference and manipulation rather than its benefits.

 

“There is need for the establishment of state police. If we say we are practicing true federalism, then each constituent part of the federation such as the states, municipalities and federal government should have autonomy for their daily affairs, while issues like international affairs, common currency, defence and other unifying interests are vested in the Federal Government,” Fashola reasoned then.

 

While there have been arguments for and against the clamour, the debate on the issue got to a head in 2016, when the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF)    set up a committee to look into the possibility of allowing states to establish their own police forces. The committee, which was also charged to look into funding for the Nigeria Police Force was headed by then governor of Kwara State, Abdulfatah Ahmed, with then Governors Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ayodele Fayose (Ekiti) and Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi) as well as Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta and Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto) as members.

 

Then NGF chairman and immediate past governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, explained that the move was aimed at looking at the various options and come up with a safe way of policing Nigeria, but not much was heard about the committee afterward. The Ahmed committee was not the first time the NGF would toy with the idea of state police. The forum also mulled the idea at the peak of the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East during the Goodluck Jonathan administration, but it never saw the light of the day.

 

Then Ekiti State governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi (presently on his second term), who spoke on behalf of his colleagues after one of their meetings, said: “Each of the federating units should have control over their own security apparatus.

 

That is not to say that we still won’t have a federal police, which responds to federal issues. But in terms of wider knowledge of what obtains in my locality, the best person to use is somebody from that locality, who has a much better, much richer understanding and will be faster in response to the immediate needs of that environment.” To ensure that the call was not one to be treated with levity like when it was made in 1999 by Tinubu, the governors said then that they will follow up the demand by presenting a unanimous bill in this respect to the National Assembly. However, then President Jonathan held a contrary view as he insisted that Nigeria was not yet democratically ripe for the establishment of state police forces. His fear was that might be misused.

 

His words then: “State police may be theoretically good, but looking at our political environment, it could be abused to the detriment of the country. The consensus is that we should get to the point, where we will be sure that whoever is in power, will not turn it against the people. The first step is for us to have confidence in elections conducted at the state and local government levels.”

 

From colonial to Nigerian Police

 

What is today known as the Nigeria Police Force is the brainchild of the British colonial government and it dates back to 1861, following the annexation of Lagos. The British Consul charged with the administration of Lagos established a Consular Guard by the Police Ordinance of 1861 to help maintain law and order.

 

The imperialists followed this up in 1879, with a 1,200 paramilitary Hausa Constabulary. Seventeen years later, it formed the Lagos Police and in 1894, the Niger Coast Constabulary in Calabar, under the authority of Niger Coast Protectorate. In 1888, the Royal Niger Company set up the Royal Niger Company Constabulary in Lokoja. These constabularies were however collapsed in the early 1900s, into two police forces – Northern Nigeria Police and Southern Nigeria Police.

 

Although there was an amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates in 1914, the two regions maintained their separate police forces until 1930, when they were merged to form the Nigeria Police Force with headquarters in Lagos. The merger is what has grown to be the centralised police system although it is on record that it (the centralised police) co-existed with police forces in the then Western and Northern regions (excluding Eastern Region) until the military coup of January 15, 1966, when the provision in the 1963 Constitution authorising the establishment of local police was abrogated.

 

Fears over state police

 

The argument against then local police centred on recruitment of party thugs and oppression of political opponents as it is on record that Native Authority police earned notoriety for using undue coercion and intimidation to enlist support for the ruling parties in the respective regions; denied opposition parties permits for rallies and generally enforced the obnoxious “unlawful assembly” laws.

 

It was as a result of this criticism   that many are of the view that despite the seeming advancement in development decades after the local police was abolished, Nigeria is still not yet ripe for state police as there are no guarantees that state the governors will not like in the past, abuse the system. Those who hold this view reasoned that state police may be a catalyst for the disintegration of Nigeria given the country’s fragile unity.

 

The immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who shared the view when the clamour for state police reechoed in the present administration, maintained that Nigeria is not yet politically matured for state police. “I sincerely believe that the federal police is still the best for the country and with improved funding the challenges of crime will be addressed. So, those agitating for state police should consider the level of our political maturity,” he said. Despite the position of the then police boss, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), through its committee on restructuring, aligned with proponents for state police.

 

The committee, which was headed by Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir el-Rufai, was set up in August 2017 to formulate the position of the party on true federalism. The committee in recommending for devolution of power, stated: “We are recommending that police should be both federal and state.” Even Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the time, called for the establishment of state police to effectively tackle the various security challenges facing the country. The vice president, who spoke then at the opening ceremony of the National Security Summit organised by the outgone 8th Senate, said the Nigeria Police with the current centralised structure is too defective to be useful in combating worsening security challenges in the country.

 

His words: “The nature of our security challenges is complex and known. Securing Nigeria’s over 900,000 sq km and its 180 million people requires far more men and material than we have at the moment. It also requires a continuous reengineering of our security architecture and strategy. This has to be a dynamic process. “For a country of our size to meet the one policeman to 400 persons prescribed by the United Nations (UN), it would require to triple our current police force; far more funding of the police force and far more funding of our military and other security agencies. We cannot realistically police a country of the size of Nigeria centrally from Abuja. State police and other community policing methods are clearly the way to go.” The then Senate even joined the fray, when it hinted that it will deliberate on the possibility of the country having state police. However, the various positions turned out to be mere talks.

 

The urgency of now

 

While arguments against state police centres mainly on the potential for its abuse, the spate of killings across the country as a result of the insurgency in the North-East, clashes between herdsmen and farmers, activities of bandits and kidnappers, among other violent crimes have rekindled the debate, with most stakeholders insisting that the current security problems facing the country cannot be handled under the present police system.

 

According to proponents of state police, the Federal Government must embark on a workable decentralization of the police force because the internal security of each state in line with the federal system of government in operation should be the responsibility of state authorities, while the central government plays a complementary role. It is also argued that it is dangerous to expose the military under the guise of joint task forces to handle internal security issues as such may over time affect the impartiality and neutrality that military personnel are known as well as compromise their traditional role of protecting the territorial integrity of the nation.

 

Twists and turns over recommendation of presidential panel

 

Perhaps, these lines of thought informed why the Presidential Panel on the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Reforms, sanctioned the establishment of state and local government police as part of the eight recommendations it made in a report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari last week. Other recommendations of the panel headed by the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, include strengthening information and communication technology of the force, significant improvement in the funding, kitting and facilities of the Nigeria Police Force, Institutionalizing a Special Investigation Panel to annually hear and determine complaints on alleged human rights violations against operations of the Nigeria Police Force; and Strengthening the Police Rapid Response Complaints Unit of the Nigeria Police and other internal complaints mechanisms of the Force to make them more responsive.

 

The panel further recommended the renaming of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) to Anti-Robbery Section (ARS), which was its original name and to make the section operate under the intelligence arm of the police from the divisional, area command, state command, zonal command up to the Force Headquarters level. President Buhari while receiving the report directed that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu and the Solicitor General of the Federation/Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice meet with the NHRC to work out the modalities for the implementation of the Report within three months.

 

The directive was however misconstrued by many as approval for state police, but the presidency, in a swift response, issued a statementin which it explained that Buhari did not approved state police. The statement signed by presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, said Buhari rather requested that the report be studied and a white paper produced within three months.

 

“President Buhari’s specific directive is that a three-man panel is set up to produce the white paper. The report of the white paper committee will form the basis of the decisions of the government on the many recommendations, including the setting up of state and local government police made by the Ojukwu panel. “Until a white paper is produced, it will be premature and pre-emptive to suggest that the recommendations contained in the report have been approved by the President in part or whole,” the statement noted.

 

Stakeholders react

 

The explanation by the presidency, notwithstanding, stakeholders believe that Nigeria cannot run away from state police given the prevalent situation in the country. Pan Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, which said there was nothing to cheer about the presidential panel’s report recommending the creation of state police, rather advised President Buhari to send a bill to the National Assembly in that regard as state police is needed to tackle insecurity in the country. Afenifere, which spoke through its spokesman, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, however acknowledged the recommendation of the panel, saying: “It confirms what we have been saying for ages. Unitary police have collapsed. Nigeria is the only federation in the world, where unitary police is in operation. We hope the President sends a bill to the National Assembly, until then, there is nothing to cheer about.” Apex Igbo body, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, on its part, expressed delight that the President has finally come to terms with long overdue need for the establishment of the state police as one of the measures to tackle growing insecurity in the country.

 

President General of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who spoke with New Telegraph through his Special Adviser on Media, Chief Emeka Attamah, said that the spiraling insecurity in the country, which appeared to have overwhelmed everybody, including the President, has left the nation with no choice than to embrace state police. According to Nwodo, the President, having accepted the need to establish state police, should also take further steps towards restructuring the country, stressing that the economic fortunes of the country would thrive better in a restructured Nigeria. He also charged the President and the National Assembly to quickly come up with the necessary legislation and modalities for immediate establishment of state police to ensure that governors don’t hijack it for selfish political ends.

 

His words: “I’m happy that it took such a recommendation by such a notable body for Mr. President and Nigerians to realize the relevance of state police in security issues in Nigeria now. And in any case, it’s like we don’t have a choice, because the insecurity in the country has come to a level where almost everybody is incapable of arresting the situation. “It is even clear that the President himself is hamstrung and unable to control the spiraling incidences of insecurity. So, the recommendation, coming at this time, it’s still good because there is no doubt that people who know their terrain very well will police it better.” Elder statesman and first speaker of old Plateau State House of Assembly, Prof. Dakum Shown, who also described the recommendation of the presidential panel as a welcome development, said: “It will reduce the security challenges in the county, especially in the Middle Belt region, where we have been advocating for state police for a long time.” However, while it is commendations over the recommendation, Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said Buhari cannot singlehandedly approve state policing given that it is a constitutional issue.

 

“The President cannot, by fiat, approve state police. It is a constitutional matter. A bill has to go to the National Assembly and the bill can originate from either of the two houses. And we have made this point repeatedly, for governors who are asking for state police it’s not to appeal to the President, but to mobilise the National Assembly members to amend the constitution. “We have had about four amendments of the constitution and this matter has never agitated the minds of our legislators. So, whether the President approves it or not, it has to go to the National Assembly and of course, if the legislature endorses it, it has to have the concurrence of at least two-thirds majority of state Houses of Assembly in the country,” Falana said.

 

Governors yet to take a position

 

As rightly pointed out by Falana, the governors have a role to play if state police is to be actualized. But the governors of the country’s 36 states, on Friday, said no position has been taken on the matter. The governors, who spoke through the chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State governor, Kayode Fayemi, stated this at the end of a meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. Fayemi, who said the meeting was convened at their instance to address the security challenges in the country, highlighted that experience varies among states. According to him, while some of his colleagues are in support, others are against it. But, he said the issue and others relating to the security challenges of the country would be discussed during the forthcoming National Economic Council (NEC).

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Politics

Kaka: PDP took Nigerians for a ride

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Kaka: PDP took Nigerians for a ride

Senator Gbenga Kaka, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), speaks in this interview with Adewale Ajayi on the state of the nation and recent recent developments in the polity as well as governance in Ogun State

 

 

How would you assess 100 days of President Muhammadu Buhari second term viz a vis his promise of taking Nigeria to the next level?

There is always hope till the end of human race, the only thing we can say is when will the hope materialize, is it going to be at the current next  level or the other farther next level? So, to help the current administration, the best thing we can do is to contribute our individual quota to help the administration to lead us with wisdom from God. We want the administration to perform because its failure is the failure of everybody and its success is the success of everybody. We are in it together, so we can’t say there is no hope, there must be hope and the hope must be sustained. The only way to sustain the hope is to encourage the government of the day to do the right thing because we want Nigeria to survive.

There are bad eggs, there is no doubt about it, but we should expose them, no matter how highly placed they are. If we don’t expose them, we will also feel the negative impact of their nefarious activities as it was our failure to expose them that led us to where we are today. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took us for a ride for 16 solid years and when we add the four years Buhari has spent, it adds up to 20 years. More than 20 years ago, we had Prof. Wole Soyinka saying that his generation is a wasted generation; I wonder what he will call this generation. This is an alienated generation, so we need to appeal to our leaders, the opposition and the elite should let the country be. They are directly or indirectly contributing to the destruction of the country, deliberately holding down the masses.

How is the political class holding down the masses?

When Chief Obafemi Awolowo introduced free education in 1955, many other regions appreciated it, but they lacked the good will to replicate that. It was after the gains of the free education started manifesting that they started running. Initially, they thought about using quota system and federal character to hold us down. When they realized that things are not going the way they wanted, they decided to adopt Universal Basic Education (UBE). We have since adopted UBE, so that every state will take it as a priority, but many of them don’t meet up with their counterpart funding.

If you look at the economy, the situation is the same. That is why the elite are comfortable with high interest rate of 25 per cent and in some 40 per cent. The same elite use religion to hoodwink the people and make them to become subservient rather than emphasizing the need for them to use their brain in order to  make life better, not only for themselves, but for the society.

Insecurity is one of the major problems threatening the peace of the nation and there is the feeling that concrete steps have not been taken by the Federal Government to tackle the issue. How can this problem be addressed?

I will refer to those perpetrating the heinous crimes as criminals. I don’t want to know which ethnic group they belong to. Only those who are looking for escape route, call it one name or the other. Take as an example, it is obvious that over 90 per cent of people from the South-South and South-East are Christians; if there are criminals in those areas, the probability is that you will have a ratio 9/10 of having a Christian as being responsible. It is the same thing if you go to area with preponderance of Muslims.

It is unfortunate that some leaders are misleading the people by saying that what is going on in the country is an attempt to Islamise the nation. Such people needed to be educated. If they are educated, they won’t be saying such things. They are using a different cloak to cover the face of the reality. However, the solution to the problems we have is true federalism.

There are certain things the Federal Government should not saddle itself with beyond the basic one, which is the security of the nation and issues bordering on the arm forces, and probably immigration and some others. Power should be decentralized. Some people are clamouring for community policing, but it will not occur in isolation. There is a bridge between the community and the Federal Government and that bridge is the state. It is well recognized, it is the state that is the federating unit.

The states cannot be by passed, when community policing is being talked about. There must be synchronization and where the power of the community is being over stretched, the state police will come in. If the police at the state level is becoming over bearing, that of the federal will intervene.

What is your position on the RUGA initiative being promoted for cattle rearers? Do you think that will end the faceoff between farmers and the herdsmen?

Act of dishonesty is what is troubling us. Dishonesty in the sense that we always remain in a state of denial of what has been done that is commendable and can be emulated. I talked about free education introduced by Chief Awolowo, we have been dancing round it, we later settle for Universal Basic Education. RUGA was not well defined and badly marketed; that’s why we are having problems. The RUGA they are talking about is not different from the farm settlement that Awolowo did, but it takes the deep to call to the deep.

Does that mean RUGA is not the solution to incessant clashes between herdsmen and farmers?

It is not in the sense that there is no livestock production that is exclusive to any particular tribe. As an agriculturist, if the environment in my area is conducive, I will stay within that farming community. It is just the terminology that was not well interpreted. Awolowo did not give it any name than farm settlement. In the body of its establishment,  it was highlighted that the purpose is to develop the community into farming activities, providing basic necessities of life, assisting them with produce to go into farming, and their produce to the market and  value addition through cottage industry and export where they have excess.

Let anybody come and tell me, that what they are proposing now is better off, but if they are basing it mainly on livestock, livestock is a business, if you must go through ranch system, that is extensive, you must be prepared to acquire large expanse of land, whereby you have your pasture planted with assorted grasses that will satisfy the protein, fiber and carbohydrate need of the animal. Since you are in business, a business of which the product, you will be free to determine the price, the government has lesser business beyond providing the necessary infrastructure.

The composition of the federal cabinet has generated mixed reactions from Nigerians. The President was criticized for picking only politicians and failing to consider technocrats. What is your take on that?

The way our people think is grossly pedestrian. Politics is a vocation, so those people who call themselves technocrats have the option of remaining as technocrats or be in politics as a vocation. If they refuse to partake and other technocrats, who are probably better and socially responsible decide to embrace politics, after going through the rigour and winning election, people will start shouting bring in technocrats. What were they doing when decisions were being taken; what were their contributions?

They want to reap where they did not sow. If truly they are technocrats of goodwill and social responsibility standing, they should have been involved from the scratch in educating the electorate on the best candidate to choose and providing the needed assistance to win elections, giving necessary input into the manifesto and assisting in the implementation strategy.

Anybody can write any policy, but implementation is our major problem. They will stay somewhere, the conception would be done, the ideas would be generated, the election would be won, and when it comes to implementation of the idea, they want to get there and get it done. Can they do it better than those who generated the ideas, it is not possible.

Does it mean that one has to be a politician before one serve ones country?

I am not saying you must be a politician. Technocrats can contribute and assist the politicians, but not necessarily gunning for ministerial or commissionership positions. If they want to be in the executive, let them be involved from the beginning, right from the writing of the constitution of the party. Who is a technocrat? We have medical doctor who are fully involved in politics. We had late Dr Tunji Otegbeye, he operated his hospital in Ebute Metta, Lagos and was involved in agriculture farming activities, when it comes to politics, he was a committed Awoist.

When it comes to community service, he was always available. How do you compare that to somebody, who will remove himself totally from the people he is supposed to serve, who will remove himself from those who drafted an idea he did not help in generating only to jostle to implement it.

But we’ve had technocrats, who did well in the past; the likes of Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Akinwunmi Adesina and Oby Ezekwesili, among others…

If you say they did well; did well in what form. If they did well, we won’t have problem, the problem will not keep on lingering, I don’t want to go to issue of personality.

Is the problem with them or those who failed to heed to the advice they gave?

I am telling you many of those people you are talking about, they may have what seems to be good ideas, but which are not workable. Some of the ideas they brought were Utopian. There is no foundation laid for some of those ideas they brought from America and Europe and they are propounding the same theories for us to implement. That is negative.

How would assess governance in Ogun State given the various steps so far taken by Governor Dapo Abiodun? Will you say he is moving in the right direction?

The day is still so young, he has just spent three months and we have 48 months in the first instance. I want to believe that we should give him the room. Just as I talked about Buhari, let him pick those he can work with, but he also must be careful. There is a limit to the use of the so called technocrats. Those who worked for the party must be given opportunity to translate their ideas as he who wears the shoe knows where it pinches most.

The politicians were the ones who made promises to the electorate; they were the ones who campaigned on his behalf and other public office holders. So, they are expectant for themselves and those they made promises to.  A technocrat that does not know where you are coming from can’t implement anything. The politicians appealed to the electorate and they should be considered for positions, not people from outside, who will take one or two years to learn and before they stabilize, the tenure is over.

Those of us who know the nooks and crannies of the state know where the shoe pinches. I will advise the governor to think deeply and not allow himself to be hoodwinked by the idea of appointing more technocrats into his cabinet.

Are you saying that the governor is not carrying party members along in what he is doing?

I am saying is that he should carry party members along, he has not done anything wrong for now, but the rumour is rife that he would engage more technocrats in the administration of the state. Are they going to come from the moon or the sun? If they are in the system and they believe in the cause, they ought to have come on board to champion the cause they believe in and not coming when election has been won. If they want to implement something, they must participate in generating it.

How about his Initiative of launching job portals for the unemployed?

It is a very good initiative because we need statistics. You know that these statistics being branded about are arbitrary, we have those who are not employable, not educated, they are entrepreneurs in their own, they are employers of labour, they are working, if they do not supply their profile on the platform, it shows that they are not unemployed.

At every point in time, you will see that they will get the accurate figure of those unemployed and willing to work. Those who are unemployed and not willing to work will be extrapolated. Those who are not ready to work, government will decide what could be done to help them instead of becoming nuisance to the society. But, in implementing the information got government should be honest, if they derail, it will rubbish the effort made.

What do you make of the xenophobic attacks against foreigners in South Africa and its implication on Africa’s unity as well as steps taken by the Federal Government on the development?

Xenophobic attacks will not destroy Africa’s unity. The labour union will say injustice to one is injustice to others. So, it is unfortunate that we have allowed ourselves to be disorganized by the colonialists. The incalculable damage they have done to our psyche is better imagined, but if they have done that damage, the question is, what effort are we making to liberate ourselves, not just through aluta, but through genuine reconstruction of our life. We allowed them to give us education that will bring us back to them, we did not change the curricula, we still tailored everything towards the colonial masters.

We can domesticate whatever thing we perceive to be good from them for our own use; otherwise we make innovation and decide to go entirely local by beginning from the scratch. What is happening now is a psychological repression in South Africa. If you look at it, Ghana has done it before to we Nigerians; Nigeria did it to Ghana; many other have done it and it all shows that they are misplaced aggression in the sense that they don’t properly identify their problem. They have not gone to the root of the problem and they are attacking the symptoms that were prepared by the colonialists.

Before the advent of the colonialism, we had a system of managing our lives, if they call it primordial, we don’t call it primordial; if they call it primitive, we won’t call it primitive. That was our way of life.

How about steps taken by the Federal government on the issue?

I want to commend the Federal Government for its maturity despite the several calls for severance of diplomatic relationship with South Africa. If they are our brothers and sisters, we should find a way of assisting them to resolve their issues.

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Politics

Mugabe: End of an era

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Mugabe: End of an era

FELIX NWANERI writes on the life and times of former Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, who passed on September 6 and was laid to rest at the weekend

 

 

 

It was end of era in Zimbabwe at the weekend as the remains of the country’s former president, Robert Mugabe, was interred.

Mugabe was hospitalised in Singapore for months for an undisclosed ailment until his death on September 6 at the age of 95.

The revolutionary, who was Zimbabwe’s first post-independence, Mugabe was forced to step down by his country’s military in November 2017 following nationwide mass protests after 37 years in power.

A leader, who was initially lionized, Mugabe later came under fire for being autocratic and brutal. He was prime minister from 1980, before the Zimbabwean parliament amended the country’s constitution in 1987 to declare him executive president.

This saw him combine the roles of head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. It also gave him the power to dissolve parliament, declare martial law and run for an unlimited number of terms.

The then Speaker of the country’s parliament, Jacob Mudenda, announced Mugabe’s resignation during a parliamentary hearing to impeach the long-time ruler.

According to the Mudenda then, Mugabe’s letter said he was resigning “with immediate effect” for “the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and the need for a peaceful transfer of power.”

The case for impeachment was hinged on Mugabe’s age and the machinations of his wife, Grace, for “usurping constitutional power.”  The move caps an astonishing eight-day crisis, which started when the military took over and the country’s ruling Zanu-PF party, which voted to make sacked Vice President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, its leader and demoted Mugabe to a rank-and-file member, moved the impeachment motion and the opposition seconded it.

To celebrate Mugabe’s ouster, lawmakers roared in jubilation, while Zimbabweans trooped to the streets to celebrate the end of an era. Mugabe had previously refused to resign despite the military takeover and days of protests.

Before then, Mugabe won elections for 15 years,, but the polls were marred by violence against political opponents. He also presided over a deepening economic crisis in Zimbabwe.

But, Mugabe, who was at the time (2017), the world’s oldest head of state, was a victim of his own allies. What triggered his ouster was his dismissal of Mnangagwa as vice-president.

That decision was seen by many as clearing the way for Mugabe’s wife, Grace and her faction within the Zanu-PF to succeed her husband as leader. This riled the military leadership, which stepped in and put Mugabe under house arrest.

Though Mugabe was 93 then and his health visibly deteriorated, he was still officially going to seek re-election the following – 2018.

The key to understanding Mugabe is the 1970s guerrilla war in which he made his name. Though some still consider him a hero of the country’s liberation struggle, many reviled him as a dictator prepared to sacrifice the economic wellbeing of 13 million people to remain in power.

He had ruled Zimbabwe through a mixture of coercion, bribery and revolutionary rhetoric, but support from the security establishment waned before his fall.

Born on February 21, 1924, into a Catholic family at Kutama Mission northwest of Harare, Mugabe was described as a loner and a studious child. Reports had it that after his carpenter father left the family when he was 10, the young Mugabe concentrated on his studies, qualifying as a schoolteacher at the age of 17.

He embraced Marxism and enrolled at Fort Hare University in South Africa, meeting many of Southern Africa’s future black nationalist leaders.

After teaching in Ghana, where he was influenced by its founder, President Kwame Nkrumah, Mugabe returned to what was then Rhodesia, where he was imprisoned for his nationalist activities in 1964 and spent the next 10 years in prison camps or jail.

During his 10 years in prison, Mugabe gained three degrees through correspondence, but the years in prison were wrenching. His four-year-old son by his first wife, Ghanaian-born Sally Francesca Hayfron, died while he was behind bars, but Rhodesian leader Ian Smith denied him leave to attend the funeral.

Mugabe later rose to lead the fight against Rhodesia’s white-minority government, which unilaterally declared independence from Britain.

When he came to power in 1980, Mugabe was a self-identified Marxist-Leninist whose intellect and political flair brought him support from across the world. In 1983, then United States Vice President George H.W. Bush called him a “genuine statesman.” In 1994, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.

But his government’s descent was swift and dramatic. In the early 1980s, he was accused of backing the murder of 20,000 people of the Ndebele tribe, whom he considered dissidents. In the 1990s, economic mismanagement brought hyperinflation to Zimbabwe, resulting in the printing of bank notes of 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollars.

In the early 2000s, in an effort to satisfy his political allies and reaffirm his anti-colonial bona fides, Mugabe presided over the violent seizure of farmland belonging to white Zimbabweans. Much of that land sat fallow after it was redistributed. The country once called “the breadbasket” of southern Africa was forced to start importing food.

As Mugabe grew older and frail, opposition to his presidency mounted. Zimbabweans began talking openly about how his reign might end. For years, rumours circulated that he was critically ill, but Mugabe always reemerged, giving cogent, if meandering, speeches into his 90s.

But he often trailed off into anti-colonial rants that made it seem like Britain was preparing to invade. “Zimbabwe will never again be a colony,” became his trademark rallying cry, which meant little to young Zimbabweans who found it increasingly difficult to find work.

The unemployment rate soared over 50 per cent. More than two million Zimbabweans moved to South Africa in search of jobs as their country’s economy collapsed.

This, notwithstanding, Mugabe enjoyed acceptance among peers in Africa, who chose not to judge him in the same way as the United Kingdom, United States and other Western detractors. For instance, his criticism of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was welcomed by regional leaders who also thought it was being unfairly used to target African leaders.

Little wonder, the torrents of tributes that have continued to flow from leaders across the continent since his demise.

Mugabe’s successor, Mnangagwa, for instance, wrote:  “Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten.”

Former South African president, Thabo Mbeki, on his part, described Mugabe as a tried-and-tested compatriot and a great pan-African who defended his beliefs.

“The message is very clear: one of the cadres and comrades we should always value as one of the combaters for the liberation of South Africa is President Robert Mugabe,” said Mbeki.

For ex-Nigeria president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in a condolence letter to the government and people of Zimbabwe, wrote: “The former president of Zimbabwe was a frontline leader, activist, an indomitable fighter for the liberation of Zimbabwe from apartheid and oppressive racialism, a statesman per excellence and a tireless advocate of the preservation of the mystique of Africa’s moral and cultural values.

“He had selflessly dedicated himself to public service for most of his life, particularly as prime minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to1987 and also as president from 1987 to 2017.

“Having followed with keen interest his heroic struggles to secure an independent Zimbabwe in 1980, President Mugabe had become much more than a leader to his people. He had become the living symbol and embodiment of their long and valiant struggle for their rightful place in the comity of nations.

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Reconciliation: APC forms 39-man steering c’ttee for Adamawa

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Reconciliation: APC forms 39-man steering c’ttee for Adamawa

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Adamawa State All Progressives Congress (APC) has named a 39- member Steering Committee to oversee affairs of the party in the state and reposition it for victory.

The committee, headed by Abdulrahman Adamu, has Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha and Minister of FCT, Mohammed Bello as co-chairmen is to work with the APC National Working Committee (NWC).

According to a document made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, a robust term of reference given to the committee was a charge to reconcile all aggrieved aspirants/candidates and other chieftains that vied for positions during the 2019 general election.

APC in Adamawa State has been in crisis, which led to the electoral victory of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state.

Also according to the document, the committee is also charged with the task of developing programme of action to reposition and strengthen APC in Adamawa State, as well as propose modalities that ensure free and fair primaries ahead of the coming local government election and future elections in the state.

Other members of the committee include the immediate past governor of Adamawa State, Mohammed Umaru Jibrilla Bindow, former EFCC Chairman, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, Dahiru Bobbo and Sen. Ahmed Hassan Barata among many others.

 

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Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

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Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Cheke Emmanuel, Lafia

The senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) in Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullah Agwai was on Thursday granted bail by a Lafia magistrate court III amidst tight security.

The court was beefed up with armed security in the early hours of Thursday to deal with any security breach following threat of invasion of the premises by hoodlums.

He was granted bail in the sum of N1million and one surety who must be a resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must deposit four passport photographs.

Agwai was arraigned by the police for alleged defamation following a formal complaint by the immediate past governor of the state aand now Senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial district at the National Assembly, Tanko Al-makura.

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Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

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By

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Cheke Emmanuel, Lafia

The senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) in Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullah Agwai was on Thursday granted bail by a Lafia magistrate court III amidst tight security.

The court was beefed up with armed security in the early hours of Thursday to deal with any security breach following threat of invasion of the premises by hoodlums.

He was granted bail in the sum of N1million and one surety who must be a resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must deposit four passport photographs.

Agwai was arraigned by the police for alleged defamation following a formal complaint by the immediate past governor of the state aand now Senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial district at the National Assembly, Tanko Al-makura.

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Politics

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

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on

By

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Cheke Emmanuel, Lafia

The senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) in Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullah Agwai was on Thursday granted bail by a Lafia magistrate court III amidst tight security.

The court was beefed up with armed security in the early hours of Thursday to deal with any security breach following threat of invasion of the premises by hoodlums.

He was granted bail in the sum of N1million and one surety who must be a resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must deposit four passport photographs.

Agwai was arraigned by the police for alleged defamation following a formal complaint by the immediate past governor of the state aand now Senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial district at the National Assembly, Tanko Al-makura.

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Politics

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

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on

By

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Cheke Emmanuel, Lafia

The senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) in Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullah Agwai was on Thursday granted bail by a Lafia magistrate court III amidst tight security.

The court was beefed up with armed security in the early hours of Thursday to deal with any security breach following threat of invasion of the premises by hoodlums.

He was granted bail in the sum of N1million and one surety who must be a resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must deposit four passport photographs.

Agwai was arraigned by the police for alleged defamation following a formal complaint by the immediate past governor of the state aand now Senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial district at the National Assembly, Tanko Al-makura.

Continue Reading

Politics

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Published

on

By

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Cheke Emmanuel, Lafia

The senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) in Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullah Agwai was on Thursday granted bail by a Lafia magistrate court III amidst tight security.

The court was beefed up with armed security in the early hours of Thursday to deal with any security breach following threat of invasion of the premises by hoodlums.

He was granted bail in the sum of N1million and one surety who must be a resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must deposit four passport photographs.

Agwai was arraigned by the police for alleged defamation following a formal complaint by the immediate past governor of the state aand now Senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial district at the National Assembly, Tanko Al-makura.

Continue Reading

Politics

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Published

on

By

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Cheke Emmanuel, Lafia

The senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) in Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullah Agwai was on Thursday granted bail by a Lafia magistrate court III amidst tight security.

The court was beefed up with armed security in the early hours of Thursday to deal with any security breach following threat of invasion of the premises by hoodlums.

He was granted bail in the sum of N1million and one surety who must be a resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must deposit four passport photographs.

Agwai was arraigned by the police for alleged defamation following a formal complaint by the immediate past governor of the state aand now Senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial district at the National Assembly, Tanko Al-makura.

Continue Reading

Politics

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Published

on

By

Court grants Nasarawa PDM senatorial candidate bail

Cheke Emmanuel, Lafia

The senatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) in Nasarawa State, Alhaji Abdullah Agwai was on Thursday granted bail by a Lafia magistrate court III amidst tight security.

The court was beefed up with armed security in the early hours of Thursday to deal with any security breach following threat of invasion of the premises by hoodlums.

He was granted bail in the sum of N1million and one surety who must be a resident within the jurisdiction of the court and must deposit four passport photographs.

Agwai was arraigned by the police for alleged defamation following a formal complaint by the immediate past governor of the state aand now Senator representing Nasarawa South senatorial district at the National Assembly, Tanko Al-makura.

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