2023: Ekweremadu Wants South-east to Dialogue with Other Zones

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Ekweremadu

Says FG’s community policing deceptive

By Chuks Okocha and Adedayo Akinwale

Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, has stated that the clamour for the presidency to be zoned to the South-east region in 2023 can only be realised through engagement, conversation and getting the buy-in of other regions.

Ekweremadu stated this yesterday while speaking at a colloquium and book presentation with the theme: ‘Beyond Branding: Engineering a Citizen-led Proposition for Nigeria’s National Cohesion and Global Positioning’.

The book titled: ‘Pitch: Debunking Marketing Stronger Myths’, is authored by Ikem Okuhu.

According to him, “There is a clamour for Igbo presidency today, but I believe it can only be realised if we engaged ourselves in conversation with other Nigerians into this initiative. There can never be a universal decision of any ethnic group and the rest of us in this country. It is only dialogue and conversation that can be equity to all parts of the country.

The lawmaker said democracies and societies are always evolving, and that the country must continue to develop better and more efficient ways of ensuring that Nigerians take charge of conversations and initiatives that culminate in government policies and programmes as well as the search for a better Nigeria.

Ekweremadu further said there was need to work towards building consensus on the issues confronting the country today.

The lawmaker, who noted that Nigeria is in the full grips of widespread insecurity, insisted that the community police initiative of the federal government is deceptive.

According to Ekweremadu, “Unfortunately, there are several areas, indeed burning issues, where successive governments have either not listened to the masses or shown interest in building consensus. The bad news is not just that the country is paying dearly for such intransigence, but also that the country will sadly continue to pay heavier tolls for many years to come.

“Today, Nigeria is in the full grip of widespread insecurity-insurgency, banditry, abductions, armed robbery, and all manner of violent crimes, and Nigerians have been offering solutions towards taming the rising waves of criminality. This includes calls for decentralised policing, which I am also a proponent and have a bill to that effect that is currently before the Senate. Unfortunately, it appears the government is bent on doing the same thing over and over again, but ironically, hoping to get a different result.

“Nigeria is the only country in the world that runs a federal system of government with a centralised policing system. Nobody does what we are doing in this world, and that is why we have insecurity in Nigeria. Today the number of policemen we have in Nigeria is far less than what we need. And we can never have enough unless we allow the state to have their own police, and determine how they train them and factor them in the circumstances around their states.”

“What we are doing now is certainly not going to work, including the so-called community policing, because it is deceptive in itself.”

Ekweremadu noted that many Nigerians, including himself, have been sounding the alarm long before the current economic downturn occasioned by drastic and protracted decline in crude oil revenues that the days of high oil revenues were numbered.

He noted that the West and other developed nations are setting targets to move away from oil, “yet the country was not closed to activating other abundant sources of income because the country’s federalism is wired for wealth sharing rather than wealth creation.”

However, the lawmaker noted that whatever democratic system a nation chooses to practice, there are basic standards and ingredients that make democracy tasty and functional, among them people’s participation; for democracy must always revolve around the people.