By Simon Ebegbulem
BENINâ€”FORMER Military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, has described as frightening the high rate of violent crimes in the country, advocating the creation of state police to complement efforts of federal police.
Besides, the former President said as the nation marched towards democratic maturity, the concept of Federal character, as currently enshrined in the constitution, was old fashioned, reasoning that the rationale for its introduction in the first place had been defeated.
General Babangida, who was represented by the former Provost Marshal of the Nigerian Army, Brig.Gen. Idada Ikpomnwen, at the 17th Convocation Ceremony of Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State, weekend, where he was conferred with the Fellowship Award of the Polytechnic, stated that with the growing concerns about the poor security situation across the country, with reports of kidnappings, abduction and armed robbery, the suggestion for the introduction of state police had become inevitable.
According to him, â€œunder a truly federal structure, more fiscal responsibilities should be accorded to state and local governments to enable the Federal Government concentrate on such issues as defence, foreign policy and economy.”
â€œAs it stands today, there is apparently over concentration of power at the center. We just have to grow with the global trends as we commit some of the issues to mind in trying to fashion out solutions to address the challenges of development and growth of our fatherlandâ€.
On the need to scrap the concept of Federal character, Gen.Babangida said â€œ with the growing sophistication in our educational pursuit, coupled with collegiate interactions at different levels of our lives, our attention should be geared towards sustaining the ideals of national integration in the spirit of one Nigeria and not encourage provisions that tend to undermine our nationalityâ€.
Recalling the manner Adams Oshoomhole became governor of Edo State, the former president asserted that â€œ I am one of those who believes strongly that he has the capacity to take the state to the next level through positive governance, inclusive participation and compassionate approach to governance.
â€œAs a Comrade in the true sense of the word, he was a nemesis to many administrators and also championed the struggle for better deal for workers in the countryâ€.
Babangida urged the people of Edo State to give him the needed support to succeed, saying â€œ from what we have seen so far, there are signs that Edo State is already on the right trackâ€.
The former president commended the Board and members of the Polytechnic under the leadership of the rector, Mrs Philipa Idogho, for the award conferred on him, assuring that he would continue to support the growth of technical education in the country.
Speaking also on the occasion, Governor Oshiomhole, who was special guest of honour, disclosed that the state government would offer employment to the best graduating students of the polytechnic.
He reiterated the preparedness of government to ensure that youths in the state were offered employment to prevent crime in the society.