By Jide Ajani
Apparently embarrassed by what he saw at Nigeria’s Police College, on last Friday, President Goodluck Jonathan could not but lament openly, asking why people were being subjected to a treatment fit for chickens in the poultry.
The unscheduled visit by Jonathan was a rare one and it afforded the nation’s number one citizen the opportunity to see first hand, the very sorry state of the institution built some 73 years ago. A very dependable source privy to the visit quoted the exact words of Mr. President.
An obviously miffed Jonathan could not but ask:
“Why are you treating people like poultry chicken”?
The visit, which was as a result of a promotional documentary being aired on Channels TV and which the president had seen, lasted less than one hour.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that when the documentary first aired and Jonathan saw it, “he could not believe what he was seeing”.
It was gathered that the Presidency could not understand why the television network could be allowed to publicise the rot that had gone on in the institution for so long.
In fact, Sunday Vanguard learnt that some mischief was already being woven around the documentary until it was made clear to the president that the network was in partnership with the police authorities.
Jonathan was made to understand that the reason for the publicity, bad as it may appear, “is to sensitise corporate bodies to the massive needs of the institution, such that when the Channels’ Forum is held on Tuesday as scheduled, there would have been enough sensitization exercise.
Also, information suggests that, contrary to the impression that some people had tried to create, which was that the documentary was meant to embarrass the Jonathan administration, “it was actually meant to be a supportive engagement”.
In fact, according to the process of engagement being instituted for the partnership, corporate bodies would not be expected to make financial donations.
Rather, interested partners would pick a project (either rehabilitation of the hostels or construction of buildings) and fund it directly for the benefit of the institution.
Sunday Vanguard was told that “it was after the president was made aware of the modus operadi of the Channels/Police partnership that he decided to pay the surprise visit.”
Already, there are strong indications that the Presidency would buy into the partnership.
“The president would be very supportive of any activity or sets of activities that would ensure a worthy restoration of the institution”, a Presidency source said yesterday.
Asked about the initial feeling of embarrassment, the Presidency source quipped: “I do not think that is the attitude of Mr. President.
“Mind you, that institution has been there for some 73 years. President Jonathan just got to office some two and a half years ago; the incumbent Inspector General of Police is just about a year and a half in office too. Would it be wise to blame these two individuals for something that had gone on for that long. Mr. President is the first in recent history to visit the place; the incumbent IG has deemed it fit to accept to partner with the television network and, but for that, the massive interest it has generated may not have happened”.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that while Jonathan was airborne en route Abidjan, the Cote D’Ivoire capital, for the ECOWAS meeting on the Mali crisis, he was said to have caught the sight of an obviously worried man.