Opinion: How to rescue a drowning man


A drowning man is simply in danger and the best you can do for him is to rescue him immediately. When that drowning man could well be a sitting state governor, then you fear the worst because, if a state governor could be drowning, then what happens to the people he is leading? Chilling at the bottom of the sea?

So it is in our beloved country that an unfortunate metaphor got introduced into the Nigerian political lexicon by no less other than the Nigeria Police public relations office Oga Jimoh Moshood when he declared on public television recently that the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom is a “drowning man”.

The Police PRO and possibly his organization may have been irked by the continuous call for help by the Governor, from the Federal government following killings by criminal herdsmen going on in his state, hence the unpatriotic and unprofessional description of the Governor as a drowning man.

And yes, the Governor and the entire good people of Benue state are in the middle of a raging sea of violence, and what is the Governor supposed to do as the “chief security officer” of his state? Sit in his cozy office and enjoy a sumptuous plate of roasted yam with palm oil and bush meat?

No! He must rise, deploy every available resource and defend the security and welfare of his people. That, the Governor had tried to do repeatedly, even to the extent of visiting the seat of power in Abuja, all in a bid to appeal to the federal government to release and deploy that one important resource not under his control, the security agencies.

Yet, here is the spoke person of the police- a security agency constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of protecting the lives and properties of Nigerians and Benue citizens, in particular, celebrating his organization’s incompetence and gross dereliction of duty live on an international news channel. Indeed things have gone bad.

The death toll from this sea of violence since the dawn of the new year when 73 people were killed has kept rising leaving Nigerians and the world in general to query (and rightly so) the seeming unwillingness of the Nigerian State to deploy its full security apparatus to extinguish the criminal activities of these herdsmen before the whole country drowns in this orgy of violence.

A more critical and subtle point to take away from Mr. Moshood’s metaphoric blunder is the irony inherent in our system of government. In a presidential system of government (as we claim to practice), no executive governor should ever drown in the very circumstances he should ordinarily take care of.

As the respective Chief Executive Officers of their states, Governors should be able not only to execute borehole drilling projects but more importantly be able to execute security policies and plans aimed at securing the lives and livelihoods of their people.

It is an aberration for them to first seek the consent of Abuja before saving lives entrusted to their care somewhere in Mushin, Kafanchan, Kastina-Alu, Sagbama or Ekwulobia.

In this regard, the position of the Vice President Prof. Yomi Osinbajo on state police “that we cannot realistically police a country the size of Nigeria centrally from Abuja,” during his presentation at a National Security Summit organized by the National Assembly in Abuja is encouraging indeed.

What is left now is for the APC government to put action to its too many words. It’s time for Mr. President and his party to prep and wheel the country into the operating theatre, perform this life saving national surgery, and nurse her back to health.

Mr. President, restructure this land now. Nigerians will no longer drown as a result of government negligence.

Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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