State Police: Kano Royal Rumble And Reminder For President Tinubu (NLC Must Face the Law), By Gidado Ibrahim

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As the drama unfolds in Kano Emirate, with conflicting court orders and rival claims to the throne, it serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of entrusting state governors with the power of state police. The recent directive by the Kano state governor, Abba Kabir Yusuf, to arrest Emir Ado Bayero, a move that would have been catastrophic if carried out, highlights the risks of politicizing law enforcement.


President Bola Ahmed Tinubu must take heed of this cautionary tale and resist the calls for state police, lest we create a monster that devours our democracy. The Kano Royal Rumble, as it has come to be known, exposes the underlying vendetta driving the governor’s actions.


His targeting of the Emir, a respected traditional leader, is a thinly veiled attempt to settle political scores with his predecessor, now national chairman of the president’s party, Umar Abdullahi Ganduje. This blatant abuse of power is a chilling precursor to what would happen if state police were to become a reality.


With state police, the governor’s whims would become the law, and opposition voices would be silenced. The potential for oppression, intimidation, and harassment would skyrocket, undermining the very fabric of our democracy. The scenario unfolding in Kano is a stark warning: if President Tinubu yields to the demands for state police, he would be empowering governors to become mini-dictators, accountable to no one.


Fortunately, President Tinubu has shown himself to be a leader with listening ears. His commitment to local government autonomy, as demonstrated by the federal government’s legal action against state governors before the Supreme Court, is a testament to his willingness to listen to wise counsel. His recent admonition to governors to focus on fixing their states rather than relocating to Abuja and the move to abolish state SIECs, further demonstrate his dedication to good governance. These are all the things I have severally drawn his attention to in this column.


On the efforts to remove local government finance from the grip of state governors, there exist a central contradiction within the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. While Section 7(1) guarantees a democratic system of local government, it is subject to Section 8. This creates ambiguity, as Section 8 empowers state governments to oversee local government functions. This lack of clear separation of powers undermines the intended autonomy of local authorities. President Tinubu must be commended for taking the bull by the horn.


This situation necessitates a critical review of the relationship between federal, state and local governments. Thank God President Tinubu has heeded to the advice of this columnist to strengthen the constitutional framework for local government. Ensuring adherence to its principles are crucial steps. Only then can Nigeria’s local governments fulfill their vital role in fostering development and serving the needs of the grassroots communities.


Alas, with the crude subservience of local governments control to state governors, the vibrancy of the system was mortgaged. Since then, poverty at the local level has escalated. Insecurity moved from just isolated cases to hyper concerns because the traditional institutions that was once the moral gauge of the society were alienated and incapacitated by the removal of constitutionally assigned role.


Worse still, Section 162 (6) of 1999 Constitution established State Joint Local Government Account (SJLGA). Public Administration experts have described this babarism as the worst evil done to Nigeria and Nigerians. Regrettably, most leaders, especially since 1999, have not exhibited enough commitment to making things work.


They have exploited the weakness of the constitution to sit on local government funds through the use of SJLGA. The structure of federal allocations currently stands at 52.68% for the federal government, while state governors collect (States & LGA) get 47.32%. But not to show for the money accruing to local governments.


SIEC (State Independent Electoral Commission), a constitutional body responsible for conducting elections into the 774 local governments and State Houses of Assemblies in Nigeria, has been found wanting. However, there have been calls for its abolition or reform due to various reasons, including:


Lack of independence: SIEC is often seen as being under the control of the state government, which can lead to bias and manipulation of election outcomes.


Incompetence: SIEC has been criticised for its inability to conduct credible and transparent elections, leading to disputes and controversies.


Corruption: Allegations of corruption and embezzlement of funds have plagued SIEC, eroding public trust.


Duplication of functions: With the existence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), some argue that SIEC is redundant and unnecessary.


Abrogating SIEC from the constitution would require a significant overhaul of the electoral system and would likely involve:


Transfer of powers: INEC would need to take over the responsibilities of SIEC, potentially requiring additional resources and reforms.


Constitutional amendments: Changes to the constitution would be necessary to repeal the provisions establishing SIEC. Proponents of abolishing SIEC argue that it would streamline the electoral process, reduce costs, enhance the credibility and independence of elections.


Moreover, the president’s response to this columnist’s advice to strengthen the NDIC Act 2023 by sending a bill to the National Assembly shows his commitment to reform and progress.


While the Kano Royal Rumble serves as a reminder of the perils of state police. President Tinubu must resist the calls for state police, lest we create a system that perpetuates abuse of power, silences opposition voices, and undermines our democracy. President. Tinubu’s leadership and commitment to good governance must not be derailed by the vested interests of a few. The future of our democracy depends on it.


This brings me to the strike action by organized labour. The labour unions should not allow themselves to be used by those who think they are above the law and are even trying to undermine the Renewed Hope Agenda. They should decist and avoid the temptation. President Tinubu was elected into office by the laws of the land and whoever is a true Nigerian must abide by the constitution of the land.


Those who fabricate lies and join forces with enemies of the Renewed Hope shall, by God’s grace, be exposed by the country’s laws, including unions that are celebrating their powers to cause economic sabotage as if they are incharge. They should know that Nigerians have an elected president and commander-in-chief, and he is president Tinubu.


One would have expected that unions who allow themselves to be used by the opposition would make case for the masses that funds received by state and local governments from the federal government are not in the hands of one chance managers, and looters are forced by the law toreturn what they stole from the national treasury than throwing the Nigerians public in to maximum darkness for no reason.

Finally, my gratitude goes directly to the minister of Informationand National Orientation, Alhaji Muhammad Idiris, for the sleepless nights he faces just to keep Nigerians updates on positive steps taken by the federal government and put a lie to international propagandists maligning the good reputation of one of the great presidents Nigeria has had and the country as a whole.


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