- Says FG using Nigeria Police Force to Persecute Perceived Political Opponents, obstructing free speeches
- Carpets Buhari on his Unholy Alliance with NASS, says it is Killing Democracy, NASS now an appendage of the Executive
- Insists that Restructuring is a Must if Nigeria must Survive as a Country
By Henry Umoru, ABUJA
FORMER Federal Commissioner for Information and South-South Leader, Chief Edwin Clark has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the popular opinion of Nigeria by establishing State Police that forms one of the cardinal ingredients in a Federal system of government.
According to Clark, the excuse by President Buhari for kicking against the creation of state police that state governors will misuse it was not be obtainable because the Federal government is also using the Nigeria Police Force to persecute perceived political opponents, thereby undermining the National Assembly and obstructing free speeches.
The Elder statesman who was reacting to President Buhari’s Channels Television Interview has reiterated that there is an urgent need for restructuring, warning that restructuring is a must if Nigeria must survive as a country, adding that the President dodged the question when he was asked on his take on restructuring during the interview.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja and entitled, ” Majority of Nigerians believe in State Police because it is one Cardinal points or one of the ingredients in a Federal system of Government, the Leader of the Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Forum, SMBLF who noted that truth and not lies are very essential in running a democratic government, said that there was the need for proper guidance, survival and unity of the country.
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Clark who is also the land leader of Pan Niger Delta Delta Forum, PANDEF, has taken a swipe at the relationship between the Executive and the National Assembly, saying that President Buhari’s unholy alliance with the Senators and members of the House of Representatives is killing the nation’s democracy, thereby making the National Assembly an appendage of the Executive.
Clark’s statement read, “Firstly, I wish to congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari for granting an interview to Channels Television. Speaking to citizens is an essential duty of a President of a country because it is one of the most important ways to reach out to the people and, also of interacting with them. Not too long ago, he granted a similar interview to the Arise Television.
“My congratulation, however, has little or nothing to do with the quality and content of the interview, but because it provided Nigerians with the opportunity to know more about the working of his government. It is a more reliable way of talking to citizens, disseminating and getting information, than when the Aides of the President, particularly Alhaji Lai Mohammad, the Minister of Information, made available to the Nigerian public, a list of purported one hundred achievements of the President Muhammed Buhari’s Administration since he came into office in 2015.
“No Minister or government personnel will make a statement without saying Mr President said so or approved of it, even when they are misappropriating government money without Mr President’s knowledge or approval. Although Mr President seems to relish it because he runs the affairs of this government which is supposed to be a democratic civilian government, as he did 38 years ago when he was a Military Head of State of Nigeria until his government was overthrown by his own colleagues who made him Head of State.
“Having said that, I will at this juncture, like to comment on some of the issues raised in Mr President’s interview, which lasted for about 45 minutes
“Mr President dismissed the call for State Police in the Country. He said that State Police was not an option, that Governors will misuse it. He gave an unrelated instance of the relationship between State Governors, and Local Governments, that there is no functional Local Government in the country.
“While the President is right that no Local Government in this country truly functions as provided by the Constitution, not even the joint account under which State Governments receive monies on behalf of the Local Governments, because the accounts are fully controlled by the State Governors, it is not enough to dismiss the demand for state police.
“It may be necessary to refer to some Sections of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution. Section 214 (1) says:
“There shall be a Police Force for Nigeria, which shall be known as the Nigerian Police force, and subject to the provisions of this section no other police shall be established for the Federation or any part thereof”.
And Section 215 (4) says:
“Subject to the provisions of this section, the Governor of a State or such Commissioner of the Government of the State as he may authorize in that behalf, may give to the Commissioner of Police of that State such lawful directions with respect to the maintenance and securing of public safety and public order within the State as he may consider necessary, and the Commissioner of Police shall comply with those directions or cause them to be complied with provided that before carrying out any such directions under the foregoing provisions of this subsection the Commissioner of Police may request that the matter be referred to the President or such Minister of the Government of the Federation as may be authorized in that behalf by the President for his directions.”.
“I humbly submit that the above Section 214 (1), does not portray tenets of a Federal system of government, but a Unitary Form of Government. Hence the 1999 Constitution is rejected by democratic Nigerians who believe in a Federal System of Government. In a similar manner, Section 215 (4), does not really contain the ingredients of a Federal system of government.
“As I stated in my recent interview, State Police is a popular agitation by Nigerians and was robustly discussed and agreed upon during the 2014 National Conference. I reproduce an excerpt of the said interview:
“In 2014 during the National Conference, which is the most important conference held in this country which was attended by 492 delegates from various aspects of this country and various aspects of life in this country, former police officers, former soldiers, professors. In fact, everybody attended. So that conference which I also was a member recommended that there should be the state police.”
“It is very unfortunate that the State Governors who are elected under the party are the ones running the party today. But it is unconstitutional and authoritative for Mr. president to say that State Police, which was even recommended by the El-Rufai Committee as one of its items under Devolution of Power to be transferred from the Executive List in Schedule 1 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, to Schedule II of the Concurrent List, should be discarded.
I totally agree with Mr President that most State Governors have undermined the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, where Local Government is provided for under Section 8. They do not only abuse the joint account system but also engage in establishing Care Taker Committees, rather than conducting the free, fair and democratic election as provided in section 7(1) of the Constitution which states:
“The system of local government by democratically elected local government councils is under this Constitution guaranteed; and accordingly, the government of every State shall subject to Section 8 of this Constitution, ensure the existence under a law which provides for the establishment, structure, composition, finance and functions of such Councils.”
“I also agree with Mr President that State Police could be used by State Governors in persecuting perceived political opponents, but it is also true that the Federal Government is also using the Nigeria Police Force to persecute perceived political opponents, undermining the NASS and obstructing free speeches. But that does not mean that the whole idea of State Police should be discarded? That will mean throwing away the baby with the bathwater.
“Also, restructuring of Nigeria is a must if Nigeria is to survive as a country. It is very cruel and disappointing to hear Mr President say that “he does not know what type of restructuring Nigerians want”. This is very insincere and dishonest because President Muhammadu Buhari has been preaching restructuring since his 2011 campaign, when he contested with our respected Pastor Tunde Bakare, as his running mate, and when our late golden boy, Comrade Yinka Odumakin was his spokesman, and who preached restructuring until his death, and for which he became one of the greatest critics of President Muhammadu Buhari due to his (Buhari’s) failure to accept the restructuring of Nigeria.
“Comrade Yinka Odumakin, was until his death, the coordinator of the Southern Nigeria and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF), of which I am the Leader. Restructuring of Nigeria was one of the major subjects of Mr. president’s party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) Memorandum in 2015. But he dodged the subject when he was asked by the brilliant and intelligent personnel of Channels Television the question of restructuring by saying that it was a combination of political parties including CPC, ANPP, APGA and CAN, that made him win the election.
” Is Mr President saying that the APC manifesto did not sell to the public the issue of restructuring of Nigeria? I repeat again that when the drums of restructuring were booming in every part of this country and wise men were dancing to the tune, APC was forced to set up the Mallam Nasir El-Rufai Committee, to produce a report on restructuring. The committee was made up of 27 members including serving and former Governors, Senators, serving and former Ministers, etc.
“In its recommendation on devolution of power on pages 14 & 15 the El-Rufai’s Report recommended A BILL FOR AN ACT TO ALTER THE PROVISION OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, 1999, TO PROVIDE FOR THE DEVOLUTION OF POWERS OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO THE STATE AND TRANSFER OF ITEMS FROM THE EXCLUSIVE LEGISLATIVE LIST TO THE CONCURRENT LEGISLATIVE LIST AND FOR RELATED MATTERS. Enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as follows:
- The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 is altered as set out in this Bill.
- The Second Schedule Part 1 of the Constitution is altered by transferring the under-listed items contained therein to the Second Schedule Part II –
“Item No. 2 – Arms and ammunition for the purpose of policing only Item No. 45- Police.”
“I have deliberately reproduced from El-Rufai’s report to expose the insincerity in Mr President’s saying “that he does not know what kind of restructuring Nigerians want”, and that State Police is not an option.
“In every democracy, the President or Head of State is answerable to the people and not the other way round. Mr President’s unholy alliance with the National Assembly (NASS), is like throwing a dagger on democracy. A situation where the NASS behaves as though it is an appendage of the Executive is very undemocratic.
“Truth and not lies is very essential in running a democratic government. The recommendation of the Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State Committee Report, which had already been accepted by the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party, APC, under the then National Chairman and former Governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie Oyegun, binds every member of the party, no matter the position anyone is holding until it is reversed at the party’s Convention.
“I repeat, when El-Rufai appeared on Arise Television Morning Show in an exclusive interview, on Tuesday 28 December 2021, he said that Mr President had approved his report and this was earlier confirmed by Chief John Oyegun, as l stated earlier.
Who is fooling Who?
“There is a need for proper guidance, survival and unity of the country. There is an urgent need to restructure this country and to have a new Constitution, produced by the people of Nigeria, as it was in 1963 when Nigerians negotiated for a Republican Constitution. Failure to do so will result in disintegration of this country, as a result of the serious insecurity all over the country, I will comment later on some of the other issues raised in the interview.”