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What the president saw

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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”?.

File: Jonathan in  Police college hostel in Lagos
File: Jonathan in Police college hostel in Lagos

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”.

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