L-R: Former Ogun State governor, Chief Olusegun Osoba, Amosun and former military governor of Ogun State, Admiral Joseph Popoola during the 2012 budget presentation in the state ...thinking the Ogun standard
Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, suspects that there is a new game being scripted by enemies of the state to sabotage efforts of government, especially in the realm of security, writes Olawale Olaleye
His demeanor was that of mixed feeling. As he sat down before some select journalists last weekend to give a state of the state account in the last 15 months, the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, had this palpable obnoxious feeling that gushed out at intervals even as he feigns an “all is well” smile, intermittently. The governor suspected a growing but untoward trend that is bothersome. It is a conspiracy by some elements in the state to sabotage efforts of government and of all places- the area of security.
When sometime in April this year, the governor first took delivery of six out of the 13 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), alongside 125 Hilux Patrol Vans fully equipped with communication gadgets and 1000 AK47 rifles with 2,000,000 rounds of ammunitions, the governor and indeed, Ogun stakeholders were convinced that the reign of terror was over in the state. The development had supposedly marked the beginning of an era of relief for the people who had been under a near permanent siege of armed robbery and other criminal activities since the days of former governor, Otunba Olugbenga Daniel.
Although, the deplorable security situation in the country is not peculiar to any state in particular, ability to contain the menace, however, varies from state to state. It was against this backdrop that Amosun elected to take the bull by the horn and wrestle criminal activities in the state to near zero. From armed robbery to cult clashes and the motor parks’ thuggery, the governor resolved to bring an end to such activities threatening the peace of the state.
These, amongst other factors, were believed to have informed the initiative by the state government in the area of security. Amosun, who confirmed a significant decline in the spate of insecurity, is however worried that there might be calculated attempts by enemies of the state to sabotage efforts of government in this all-important sector of the economy.
The governor, for instance, said a few weeks after the APCs were delivered to designated authorities in different parts of the state for coordinated policing, two of them that were assigned to Ijebu area of the state- a part where criminal activities had remained on the increase, were reported to have developed problems. While the argument that the APCs were new could not completely suffice or said to be insulated from unintended faults, the manner of problem reportedly developed raised the curiosity of the governor.
Imagine this: the two reportedly bad APCs, according to the governor, developed fault because those managing them were said to have erroneously turned in diesel oil when it was boldly etched on the cover of the component part that transmission fluid was required. The same error was committed for the two APCs. Then, the governor is wondering – even a stark illiterate would ask questions much less people believed to be somewhat literate and saw clearly that what was required in that part of the engine was a transmission fluid but still went ahead to turn in diesel.
Immediately this was reported, Amosun said his instinct had told him that there was more to it. But he was not going to raise too many questions and luckily, there were spares with which the bad ones were quickly replaced. At this point, Amosun was still skeptical; not sure what exactly was amiss.
What however gave the perpetrators of the act away was the recent development in the state where some banks, especially in Ijebu area of the state reportedly shut down on a Monday because they had learnt that the APC had again developed problem and that armed robbers could strike. When the governor got wind of the development and inquired what was wrong, the APC, according to those incharge, did not respond that morning. The governor would later discover that the brain box was tampered with and a vital component taken away from it.
Now, the salient questions arising from this are: How come the banks knew that the APCs would not work such that they had planned not to open to customers that Monday? How did they gather their facts such that the media also had the news the night before and were able to have in the news on Monday? Was there a meeting between the banks and the security operatives to the extent that the state of the APC was ascertained the night before and made a public issue even without the governor knowing? How come the security personnel knew the APC would not work and had, perhaps, sent in words to that effect?
Of course, there were spares from which government quickly fixed the APC again and got it back on the road. But with the obvious slant of sabotage, observers contended, there is the need to investigate the criminal intentions surrounding the development, unravel the loathsome suspicion and arrest the situation forthwith.
The development, as it were, has raised issues about the culpability of the police in such situations, given the importance of the issue at hand. Since the APC is not just any vehicle that the civilian mill around, not even a civilian mechanic, how such sabotage was made possible without the security operatives apprehending the culprits called to questions, the efficiency of the police.
Observers are of the view that the Inspector-General of Police, Alhaji Muhammed Abubakar must take interest in a case of the nature because it would help the system fish out the bad ones whose stock in trade is to collude with criminals to perpetrate crimes. That way, a gradual and systematic cleansing may have begun. The issue of sabotage, especially in a situation involving security cannot be waved aside and should be taken very seriously, observers have said.
That the menace of Boko Haram had remained somewhat intractable is considered a function of conspiracy by people in high places who not only indulge the sect, but also finance their activities. This picture is therefore applicable in many such related areas including the latest drive in Ogun State. That the government of Ogun had identified this game early is enough reason for the police authorities to wade in and stem the tide by unraveling the mystery and consequently bring the culprits to book. That way, another goal as observers have reasoned, would have been scored by the police in the area of security and of course, further deter similar criminal conceptions by anyone or group.