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The Seyi Makinde-Sunday Igboho Tango And The Pathway To A Secure Nigeria | Olarinre Salako

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The recent altercation between  Governor Seyi Makinde and a private citizen, Sunday Igboho and, more importantly, the emerging dimension to the perennial insecurity in Nigeria should catch the attention of concerned Nigerians home and abroad.

“Individuals who are not authorized are going around chasing people from their homes and causing mayhem. This assault on residents of Oyo State is not the way to further the Yoruba cause.” Makinde said.

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Makinde apparently was referring to the action Igboho, who recently ordered the alleged kidnapping and murderous kingpins in Ibarapa zone of Oyo State out of the town where they are residents to their land of origin.

Igboho on the other hand, has dared Makinde to cause his arrest. Igboho on a video record, now viral on social media, claimed that if the governor could use him and his private team to provide electoral security for him when campaigning to be governor, and even during the last Kogi election, among others, then the governor is morally unjustified to arrest him for providing security for his people of Ibarapa.

Igboho is a popular security associate to many politicians in Oyo state – from the time of former Governor Rashidi Ladoja. He bears Igboho because he hails from Igboho in Ibarapa zone of Oyo State.

In other words, what Igboho is indicating is that if he could provide security for Oyo state politicians and their friends in other states, it should not be a crime for him to provide the same for ordinary people in Ibarapa zone of Oyo state, from where he hails.

The inference is that Makinde and his political-likes made a private-authority of Igboho, and the governor now wants to subject Igboho back into submission to the authority of the state. Makinde and his political-likes may find it difficult to rein in an Igboho and many like him into submitting to the constituted authority.

Politicians like Makinde are like Esau who sold his right, not only by their actions but also by their inactions.

What makes it even more difficult is that Makinde has neither visited the families of the victims of kidnappings and murders, nor decisively dealt with the kidnappers and murderers in Oyo State. This writer has not seen any publication where Makinde took photographs with the families of the victims. Just a sympathizing visits goes a long way for a responsible leader.

So, a private citizen who became law unto himself, originally encouraged by the political elites, is now more popular among the people of Oyo State (indeed in the entire southwest and beyond) than the governor elected by the same people.

That is a lesson to the political class. They make many Sunday Igbohos by their actions and inactions.

It was how Northeastern politicians – aided by other Nigerian politicians started Boko Haram that is now a national dilemma gulping the large part of national security budgets.

The good thing about Igboho is that he is of an acceptable use to his people at the moment.

The issues of insecurity in Nigeria are a great cause for concerns and worries, and most importantly a cause for decisive actions on the part of Governments at all levels – Federal, States and Local.

Unfortunately, the Federal Government especially – and in particular under the current regime of President Muhammadu Buhari, and to a large extent the States and Local Governments have all collectively failed, and woefully too. The Nigerian Police Force is not adequately staffed and they are not adequately equipped to combat the more sophisticated armed kidnappers, bandits, and murderers. The Police are not even trusted by the local people. Trust is their greatest challenge now,  developed over a long period of corruption in the Nigerian society. The recent #EndSars protest is a testament to this.

More worrisome is the Federal Government – Executive and Legislative Branch not paying required emergency attention to this dangerous situation. This is why one CANNOT TOTALLY BLAME courageous individuals taking to self-defense without deferring to elected authorities.

Afterall, inactions of governments in providing basic infrastructure has forced people to provide for themselves. So, why should security be left out?

If urgent actions are not taken, there will be many Sunday Igbohos, occasioned by insecurity and ethnic irredentism, nepotism, not only in Oyo State, but in all the 36 states of the Federation.

Buhari, the National Council of States, the State Governors, Federal and State Legislatures are now placed on notice!

While many Yoruba people admire Igboho’s bravery and courage, it will however be utterly irresponsible of an elected state governor to openly support Igboho. It would be better for such a governor to resign than support such action of a private citizen in a Federal Republic. In the Army, and even in war, there is a chain of commands and orderliness. A chaotic approach to resolving insecurity should not be acceptable. If it is momentarily inevitable, it should not be encouraged in perpetuity. Even in the old Oyo Empire, no private person can rise up on behalf of the people without subjecting to the authority of the Alaafin.  So, just as there cannot be two kings in a palace, so also in modern age, there cannot be two chief security officers in a State.

The Elected Governor as the Chief Security Officer of the State should rise to the occasion, and no one should usurp the authority of the people vested in the governor.

In the midst of this chaos, laudable is the joint efforts of the South Western Nigerian Governors for the establishment of Western Nigeria Security Network (aka Amotekun). If such a security network is well developed to an acceptable international standard, it is a welcome idea that is long overdue. Amotekun as a security outfit should be viewed as Nigerian form of National Guards in various States of the United States of America. Those National Guards are only mobilized by the State Governors except for that of the Washington DC National Guard that is mobilized by the President. Indeed, the recent event at the US Capitol has hastily prompted the Mayor (Democrat) of Washington DC to indicate she will seek the US Congress to amend the US constitution to allow the Washington D.C Mayor Office the power to mobilize Washington D.C National Guard, and not the President. This is because the US Democratic party perceived and alleged the Republican President Trump of inciting insurrection among peaceful political protesters at the Capitol.

I digress. But the message is that a regional Nigerian security network is similar to the US National Guard – and the word “National” could be confusing because the National Guards are only mobilized by the State Governors. The US National Guards compliments the works of the local county police, federal government’s FBI and US Army in securing America, especially in emergency security situations. Nigeria is in an emergency security situation right now!!!

It is interesting to note that Makinde, the only PDP Governor in the Western Nigeria joined Western Nigeria Security Network (aka Amotekun) initiative without paying attention to temporary partisanship. Security issues SHOULD NOT be marred by partisanship and ethnic irredentism or nepotism. The mass recruitment into Amotekun – Ondo State Branch as announced by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu’s Government is also laudable to stem the incessant kidnapping and killing in Ondo State.  The likes of Igboho should join the Western Nigeria Security Network (aka Amotekun) – Oyo State Branch, and submit to the authority and training of Amotekun, meant to provide an orderly security system to compliment the Nigerian Police. It is a good thing that each Amotekun State Branch is headed by retired Nigerian Military Officers – Generals and retired Nigerian Police Chiefs of the Western Nigeria extraction who understand their local security situations and the Nigerian laws, and can leverage their knowledge and experience to the benefits of indigenous people and Nigerians who reside in those localities.

Establishment of Regional Security Networks is the ONLY pathway to securing Nigeria. Other Nigerian geopolitical zones should embrace this type of regional security structure to provide for the inadequacies of the Nigerian Police Force, and we can all help save Nigeria from free downfall. For instance, the Northeast Joint Task Force helping the Nigerian Army in intelligence gathering to fight Boko Haram should be re-fashioned into Northeastern Nigeria Security Network! Similarly, Northwestern Nigeria Security Network could be established to help stem the tides of banditry and kidnapping in the Northwest – example of which we saw recently in Katsina. Ditto for North-central Nigeria, Southeastern Nigeria, and South-southern Nigeria.

The huge security votes of the 36 State Governors, which are unaccounted for, should be converted to security budgets appropriated by the States Houses of Assemblies to run (recruit, train, equip, pay and maintain) the State branches of the regional security networks.

What the Regional Nigerian Security Networks should NEITHER do is to become politicized NOR become a tribal war group. They should be state and regional outfits for intelligence gathering and arresting of criminals. They should utilize the fairly homogeneous language and culture in their operational areas to carry out investigation and evidence collection to prosecute criminals (who could be local indegenes or other residents from anywhere in Nigeria) in the court of law, especially in the respective state magistrate courts using the state criminal laws.

Once these regional security networks are fully operational, the 36 states governors can sponsor a join bill in the National Assembly to amend the Nigerian 1999 Constitution accordingly. At the end, a major part of restructuring would have happened.

Together, through the Nigerian Police, Nigerian Army, and Various Regional Security Networks, we can drastically reduce insecurity – kidnapping, murder, banditry, terrorism in Nigeria.

If we allow private citizens, by our collective actions or inactions, to be issuing quit notices to other Nigerians, whether those Nigerians are criminals or not, we would be creating chaos and anarchy.

This is the time for Nigerian leaders – President, Governors, State and Federal Legislators, Afenifere, Ohaneze, ACF (Arewa Consultative Forum) and every well-meaning Nigerians leaders and citizens should act on the noble path to secure Nigeria.  Today we have an inevitable Sunday Igboho, tomorrow it might be Yahaya Kano or Chinedu Akwa. And Nigeria will be gradually becoming history.

God forbids.

  • Olarinre Salako, an energy professional and public-good volunteer, writes from the United States.
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