Deji Elumoye and Udora Orizu in Abuja
Former Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu has stressed that decentralised policing remained the way out of the mounting security challenges facing the country.
He also noted that with the requisite political will, Nigeria could successfully amend the 1999 Constitution in 10 days to the needed legal framework for state police.
Ekweremadu, who is also the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Committee on Electoral Act and Constitutional Amendment stated this during the inauguration of the PDP Committee on Electoral Act and Constitution Amendment in Abuja.
He regretted that the security of lives and property had totally collapsed, hence the need for urgent steps to pull the nation back from the brinks.
While listing successful electoral reforms and constitution amendments recorded under successive PDP administrations, he enjoined the All Progressives Congress-led administration to take the bull by the horns by building on those successful efforts
He said, ‘’The weaknesses in our structure and the Constitution we operate have never been as pronounced as they are today. I must also add that it is unfortunate that the rain, which some of us shouted on top of our voices, forewarning the nation against and even proposed policies and sponsored Bills to avert, is now beating us heavily.
“I rallied my colleagues and together we sponsored the Bill for the Creation of State Police in the 8th National Assembly. I am equally sponsoring a Bill for the Creation of State Police in the current Senate. Unfortunately, we do not appear ready yet or show a sense of urgency to stem the tide of insecurity or rebuild our economy through the decentralisation or devolution of power. With the right political will, the amendments to the Constitution to achieve a decentralised police and secure lives and property can be achieved 10 days.
‘’So long as we run a dysfunctional centralised policing, for that long will our insecurity-induced pains and losses continue to rise. The community policing initiative is illusory, cosmetic, ephemeral, inorganic, and will certainly not change anything.’’
On electoral reforms, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment also enjoined his colleagues, political leaders and Nigerians to support the move to amend the Electoral Act to allow early primaries and electronic transmission of results.
‘’The election management body still works under acute pressure in preparing and managing our elections. They still get court orders and counter orders even on the eve of elections as politicians squabble for their parties’ tickets.
“Therefore, the Joint National Assembly Committee on INEC has agreed to recommend to our colleagues an amendment allowing INEC to call for nominations at least 360 days to the election and submission of list of candidates by political parties not later than six months to the election.
‘’It means that if passed by the National Assembly and signed by Mr. President, INEC will call for nominations for the 2023 general election by February 2022, while the political parties will have up to July 2022 to conclude their primaries and submit their lists of their candidates. That way, INEC will have ample time to prepare for the elections and avoid the usual mix-ups, while political parties will also have sufficient time to deal with issues and litigations arising from party primaries,’’ he said.