By Denerle Animashaun
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.-Albert Einstein
The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them. Albert Einstein
The depiction by the Channels TV regarding the appalling state of the Police College, Lagos has indeed given us the reasons why our police are the way they are. It goes further than that: it is a microcosm of how every aspect of our everyday living condition has gone to pot.
It is also indicative of how much value the government, the people and our society place on themselves and each other. We know there is money in the country, the politicians are aflushed with it. But this programme does not prepare you for the miserable depths of the inhumane and contemptible sights of the police living conditions.
The mere fact that the disrepair has been so long in the making is intolerable but on the level of disregard for human condition and health, it is a monumental example of who we are as people. When do we ever complain about the despicable way wen are treated day in day out by the rich and powerful? We rather keep mute and pray things improve. We do nothing, we have learned to play the victim so well, it has become second nature.
Until now the public was not aware of the derelict nature of these colleges. So the rot has been festering for so long unabated. Apparently, no President has visited the college in over 70 years!. So that begs the question;who is present at the police passing out parade?
Does the police commander visit these colleges? Who does the yearly maintainance? Where is the public healthbody, who should have condemned the college so long ago. To rub salt into wounds of the graduating police, they have to buy their own uniform and equipment, so you wonder why they are “collecting” the dividends from the public on their “investment”?.
We go with flow, we go on and wait for others to complain or we go on with the status quo, because no one listens. That’s right, we become beaten down and battle weary that the mere suggestion to stand and complain fills us with dread and despair. People are rolling over and playing ball, they are so used to being devalued and derided that they are so used to the neglect and abuse of power. Why do we hate ourselves that much? We have come to accept the unacceptable from our employers, relatives, friends and the government.
The Police barracks is just the tip of the ice berg. Everywhere we look,take good hard look around you the place is falling apart, yet we continue and tell ourselves it will get better. How long are we going to take our heads out of the sands and really see what is going on. Find a way to redress it; collectively. We are what Nigeria is waiting for, no point passing the buck.
It is easy to shrug indifference or dismiss any crop of police and say the police deserve the appalling condition because of how corrupt, indisciplined and incompetent they are. Yes, but no one should live in such deplorable condition. Room after room,the condition was worse than the last, the grounds, the facilities; it is better not to linger. It is a wonder there have not been fatal accidents.
The brevity of the exposé, most have rattled Jonathan’s cage publicly or did develop a conscience overnight and felt compelled to show us with media present. I really do not second-guess, his motives but his modus operandi has been consistence in terms of grandstanding and nothing comes out of it. We would not wait with bated breath so if you want things done, do it yourself. If we treat people right, we will get better out of them.
So, Jonah inspected the living quarters and with a number of his team including the chairman of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh. So, where is that unannounced visit? Where do you begin cleaning such mess and level of disrepair? There should be a public hearing of the cream of the police federation to include the police commissioner, the police affairs minister and all the regional heads of police. The big question is where does the revenue go to for the maintenance of these buildings? It is of course the peoples ‘tax that supposedly pays for these piles of rubble?
That says a lot about the importance that we place on the force that we rely to serve and protect the citizens. Now we know the rot was cemented a long, long time ago. Is there, then, any wonder why some police officers are involved in criminal activities? Goodluck says the exposé is a piece of sensationalism that it showed the Ikeja College in a bad light and it is not the only police college. That’s right, Mr President, you have done it again.
Up and down the country it is the same and the Ikeja Police College is in such a state, dismissing and demeaning the programme does not detract from the act that it is bad enough. So it would have been better or the president accepts that things are this bad and it should not continue.
So when all the president’s men gathered, the spectacle was complete. How I wish I was a fly on the wall, come to think o it, no. Even a fly would have a problem in such establishment.
So the president was angry? He said he was, and his men said he was. Does it matter that he was? His public display of emotion means nothing if he cannot put his money where his emotion is. I am indifferent about his reaction, in fact people are unmoved by his emotion because it does not change anything. And if the past is anything to go by, he will not act. Things have to change and we cannot continue to bury our heads in the sand and merely wish they do not exist.
The act is, this exposé happened on his watch and he needs to be man and do something about it, not tomorrow, but now.
That the exposé showed on his watch the level of corruption and despair , is worthy of an award. Does the president think we really care about his public display of emotion? Result, that is what matters and nothing more, nothing less. So he promised heads will roll and the tide will change, does he? When? He is the executive in chief and he may not have started this deterioration, but it got worse on his watch.
About time they recruit the Army to shape our police in discipline, hygiene and fitness; anything other than a thorough clean will tantamount to the same half baked, ill disciplined, corrupt, and ill treated group of a rag tag police and can not be worthy to serve and protect the public. The opportunity is rife to change our way of thinking and it should not be squandered by the politician nor the people.
The President cannot then pass the buck to his lieutenant and expect them to own up that the funds for the maintenance and repairs are diverted to personal hands. The Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Ola Ibrahim, should offer his resignation: at the level of dilapidation of the foremost institute. A Presidency official, who spoke to one our correspondents in confidence, last Sunday, said: “The picture being painted is that of total neglect of the police training colleges, including the one in Ikeja”.