*….as Osinbajo tasks govs to invest in areas of economic advantage
By Rotimi Ojomoyela, ADO-EKITI
Four state governors, yesterday, insisted on state police.
The governors include the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, NGF, and Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, with his Lagos, Edo and Kaduna counterparts, Messrs Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Godwin Obaseki and Nasir el-Rufai.
Reiterating their position on state police, they said the centralisation of control and command of the security agencies in their respective states was affecting investments, development and wellbeing of the people adversely.
They also canvassed a robust multi-layer policing system in the country, to protect the citizens and investments that can drive development.
This came as Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, yesterday, urged the 36 state governors to come up with ideas that can grow the economy, by investing in the most appropriate ways in areas of their economic strength and stop reliance on federal allocations for survival.
They spoke at Ekiti Economic and Investment summit tagged: ‘Fountain Summit 2021’ organised by the Ekiti State government to find sustainable solutions to some socio-economic issues besetting the state.
The summit, titled: ‘Investment Attractiveness and Economic Development: Lesson for the Sub-Nationals’, was attended by governors el-Rufai, Obaseki, Sanwo-Olu and their counterpart from Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu, represented by his deputy, Lucky Ayedatiwa, with members of the business community and diplomatic corps.
In his opening remarks, Governor Fayemi lamented that the lingering security crisis in the country is gradually crippling the economy.
Fayemi said: “This request does not mean abrogation of the central Police. If you have a problem with security in Kaduna, Governor el-Rufai can easily take charge.
“My recent experience and many of our governors were not even palatable where we wanted to procure drones and Mr President was with us on the issue but the National Security Adviser, NSA, refused us End User Certificate, but we got it one year after.
“As of now, security is on the exclusive list. Even If the FG allows us to procure some arms, we have to sign MoU with the Nigerian Air Force.
“We have to work together collaboratively because investors consider security as number one in any state.”
Backing the call for state police, Governor Obaseki of Edo State said police should be removed from the exclusive list for state chief executives to be in firm control.
“If you have a business, you have to protect them and you must have the apparatuses. Security is on the exclusive list and we are looking up to the Federal Government to remove for states to take charge.
“We must provide facilities for the police to be able to train our local vigilante, because in Edo State that was what we did.
“We raised a vigilante group to police our villages from kidnappers and other criminals.”
Speaking about the role of ICT in driving the economy at the subnational level, he urged states to use ICT to recast primary education by making the children at that age perceive computers as part of their lives.
Lending his voice to the creation of state police, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said: “When you have investments, you would have to protect them and take responsibility for whatever happens.
“The investors will rely on the governors for protection and, sadly, we are not in charge.
“This is the area where the Federal Government must look into the issue of state police.”
On his part, Governor El-Rufai described security as a big problem that every Nigerian should be concerned about.
Explaining why the policing system should be decentralised, El-Rufai said: “We have 150,000 personnel in the Nigerian Army.
“Police were 400,000 by the time this government came on board but has gone down to 300,000 now.
“We need multi-level police. Policing is local just like a unitary environment like Britain.
“Kaduna State is about 46,000sqkms in size; Boko Haram has been chased from the Northeast by ISWAP and now occupying the Northwest.
“But if they are dislodged here, where would they go? This is why we should all be concerned.
“No country can develop beyond the level of its civil service, you must appoint the right civil servants and We just give way for younger people to take Nigeria to the next level.”
Osinbajo tasks govs to invest in areas of economic advantage
In his speech, Vice President Osinbajo challenged state governors to invest in areas of economic advantage.
He said: “Attracting investments to any state should be the major focus of state chief executives because that is the revenue hub and determinant of how happy the people of any state will be in terms of economic development with their standard of living.
“But while trying to grow investments, we must be cautious of multiple taxations; it weighs down businesses.
“Ekiti is a business-friendly environment. Ekiti has also excelled in the aspect of ease of doing business. You have vast arable lands for agriculture.
“Let me say that Ekiti has a bigger economy than many Africa nations.
“The question we should ask ourselves is that if I were the landlord of this sub-nation, how do we survive? During my time as a Commissioner in Lagos, we started with N600 million monthly Internally Generated Revenues, IGRs, in 1999.
“The seizure of Lagos funds by President Olusegun Obasanjo made us think like a sovereign state.
“Today, Lagos is making over N45 billion monthly.
“The surest way forward is to deepen investments in the areas where Ekiti has a comparative advantage.
“We should also make a good investment in technology to grow the knowledge economy, which is education.”