By: Ajibade Morakinyo Temilorun
Government of a multi ethnic group’s nation has to be fair and honest in the sharing of its economic, political, security and social power among the entire ethnic group in the Federation, in order to bring about ‘unity and peace’ in such state.
Level of equality that the Professor of English Law, A.V Dicey, propounded in his book “Fundamentals of Law” in 1885 stated that, “every man is equal before the law, both the ruler and the ruled”. This is in accordance to the decision making of a country with multi ethnic groups; by which such government is suppose to exclude total impartiality in its governance, so as not to choose government office holder from his ethnic group alone, but based on equality.
Over the years, Nigerians have lamented the unjust act of the country’s Federal Government in appointing the Inspector General of Police as a slam on the Western and Eastern region of the country and which will reverse the political objectives of the Chapter 2, Section 15 of the 1999 constitution.
According to a statistic published sometime ago by Nigerian Bloggers, which revealed the political security positions occupied by the northerners in the country as follows: President-North, Senate President-North, House Speaker-North, Head of Service-North, INEC Chairman-North, PDP National Chairman-North, Controller, Nigeria Custom Service-North, Controller Prison Service-North, National Security Adviser-North, Chief of Defense staff-North, President Federal High Court-North, and many more, giving the Western and Eastern regions far chance of participating in the affairs and governance of their country, and inequality to the northern region of the country (Nigeria).
With all these in place, the Federal Government followed it up with appointment of the new Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Kpotun Idris, who also hails from the Northern region of the country. The recent development has got the citizens raising alarm on how the Federal Government is managing the Federal Character system of political right and position.
In retrospect, the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) was formed in 1930 but it’s history began much earlier, when the territory of Nigeria was under the reign of British Empire Consular Guard in Lagos was established. This institution included only 30 members, but in 1896, this organization was transformed into the Lagos Police with the staff of 1,200 members.
In the early 1900s, the northern and southern Nigerian Police appeared and all this Institutions were united into NPF in 1930. The headquarters of the newly created organization was in Lagos. The official history of Nigeria Police Force had begun, but this organization was controlled by the British Police because at that time, Nigeria was a colony. NPF was nationalized in the early 1960s, when the first republic was established.
In 1974, the Nigerian constitution gave the National Police Force exclusive jurisdiction on all the territories in the country. This association is responsible for internal security and peacekeeping in the country. In the 1980s, there was a plan to expand Nigerian Police to 200, 000 members but such an aim wasn’t achieved.
According to different sources, this force includes about 120, 000 members but the clear and strict number is unknown. Nigerian Police in a year after the first republic gets its first Nigerian Inspector General, Louis Edet, who hails from Calabar and since then, out of the 19 Inspector General (Till Date) of NPF, 10 hails from Northern region, 5 hails from Eastern region and 4 from the Western region of the country. Ibrahim Kpotun Idris (acting) that preceeded Solomon Arase is also from the Northern region.
In his reaction, the President of the Ohanaeze Youth Council, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, has stated that the current structure of Nigeria had not favoured all parts of the country, adding that Nigeria’s unity should be subjected to periodic review.
The OYC leader noted that the Igbo, as a group, canvassed the restructuring of the country during the last constitutional conference, and that the unity of Nigeria is negotiable.
“We (Ohanaeze Ndigbo) believe that Nigeria’s unity is negotiable. The principles and structures on the co-existence of the various nationalities that make up the country should be reviewed periodically, Isiguzoro said.
“At the moment, the structure that is in place is not in favour of everybody. Those that it is favouring are the ones who want the status quo to be maintained, but those it has not favoured, like the Igbo, are open to a negotiation of the country’s unity.”
However, he added, “The Igbo demanded restructuring at the last constitutional conference and we are still holding on to that demand. We believe Nigeria’s unity should be subject to periodic review.
“We are not calling for secession, but a periodic review of the terms of the country’s unity is necessary for peaceful coexistence, otherwise agitations for separation would continue to grow.”
Furthermore, a Lagos based politician and analyst, Mr. Adewale Olaoluwa, stated that the deed of the Federal Government in appointing mostly Northerners to top offices of the country’s security post is an act to Islamize Nigeria, and a way of giving superior power to the North. “Thank God the East is agitating for a sovereign state, which when this is actualize, I would see maybe the Western Region would stay in the country (Nigeria) with the northerners. Then, the northerners will not be superior over any other region,” he said.
He further stated that the power allocation in Nigeria is a glorified shame to the decades achieved democracy of the country. The motto of Nigeria which states “Unity and Faith, Peace and Progress” is not considered during the decision making of concerning affairs of Nigeria, adding that this has erupted several crises in Nigeria, for example, for over four decades, the Eastern Region of Nigeria has not produce a Civilian President for the country, a situation capable of channeling their mentality towards crisis”, he buttressed.
In the wake of the appointment of the acting IGP, President Mohammadu Buhari removed the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu, and replaced him with another northerner, Maikanti Baru.
The onus lies on the Federal Government to ensure appropriate power sharing and decision making among its ethnic nationalities, especially the three ones; Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa, to embrace more peace among its heterogeneous citizen.