- A former Chief of Army Staff, General Alani Akinrinade (rtd), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to change Nigeria’s security architecture
- Akinrinade also expresses worry over the rising violence in the country, despite huge security spending
- He canvassed for state police stressing that it will help in resolving the spate of violence in the country
A former Chief of Army Staff, General Alani Akinrinade (rtd), has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to change Nigeria’s security architecture to save the country from becoming a failed state under his watch.
Akinrinade, 78, a member of the defunct National Democratic Coalition, made the call in an exclusive interview with Thisday newspapers.
His concerns came on the heels of another outcry by Governor Abdulaziz Yari of Zamfara state on Friday, June 15, that he was no longer the chief security officer of his state because he had no control over the security apparatus in the area, where hundreds of people have been killed in recent times by bandits.
His words: “There are so many things that bother me even about security. First of all, we are spending so much that our countrymen are not thinking. How much of our resources –human, material and capital – have gone into security and yet, nobody is sure that we have beh*aded Boko Haram or that there are no other terror groups springing up. We have all that and then you’re thinking in terms of the lives, money and other things we are losing every day.
“Some of these issues have not been addressed properly. I will like to hear my president say there is no room for anybody – whether you’re herdsmen or farmers – killing one another and that he is going to do something very serious about the issue. He should change the architecture of the security forces – creating state police that will be strong and responsive to the needs and welfare of the people along with laws that will ensure that the state police are not used by some governments to harass their opponents.”
Akinrinade dismissedthe fears by some individuals and groups about the possible abuse of the state police in the country.
He said: “Community and state policing are key. You can’t take a man from Kebbi, send him to Kaduna for police training and post him to Mushin in Lagos. How effective will he be in that environment considering language and other factors? The security architecture has to change; otherwise, violence will continue to rise with death tolls rising in Zamfara, Kaduna and other states across the country. Are we not ashamed? We can’t continue to stick to a system that has failed us.”
He also expressed reservations about the second term ambition of President Buhari.
“We are going to elect the same kinds of people and they are going to act exactly the same way as we have been watching for years. We are not going to get anywhere with that reality. We will be faced with one step forward and plenty of reverses. We can’t sustain whatever success we might make. We don’t have a system for sustained development of minds, people, our environment, and values,” Akinrinade said.
The former army chief added, “I cannot see on the horizon anyone that is trusted enough, who has the tenacity, the experience, the strategy, to create a Nigeria of our dream. We don’t need strong men but we need individuals, who can bring people together and think out of the box to create a Nigeria that is cohesive and dynamic. Buhari himself has to be careful, because he had once spoken about the country being ungovernable if he lost the election. Now he won the election and he’s ruling but the country is still ungovernable.”
Akinrinade stated further that he was more concerned about the restructuring of the country than President Buhari winning a second term.
“I really don’t care who governs this country as long the country is restructured based on federalism, allowing each state to grow and taking good care of its people. I don’t care if Buhari wants to sleep there (Aso Villa), elected for 12 or 15 years. I don’t know why people have to declare loyalty just like that – he has not finished one term,” he said.
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Meanwhile, elder statesman and a chieftain of the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, has said President Buhari won't get southwest votes in 2019 despite honouring late Chief Moshood Abiola.
The Buhari government recently recognised and awarded Nigeria’s highest national honour to the late Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12 1993 presidential election.
Adebanjo however insists that it will be a pipe-dream for the president to believe he deserves the votes of the southwest because of his government's action.
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