It has become disconcerting to read the newspaper headlines, watch the news or access the social media.
The impression giving is that of a Nigerian nation at war. The central authorities now have no other alternative than to take off the kid gloves. This is because the main reason, the raison d’être for the existence of the modern state lies in its incontrovertible “monopoly of the means of intimidation, violence and coercion.” Surrender this critical ethos, and it’s a descent into anarchy.
In tackling what has become as spiral of violence, the central authorities must examine both hard and soft power, they must also make a critical assessment of the impact of the sub-units of the federation which have so far continued to defy the trend.
A good example apart from Lagos State is the state of Osun. Here, kudos must be given to the pro-active policies of the state government. By understudying the environmental causes of conflict, the government of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has anticipated and neutralized the challenges inducing robberies, cultism, drug abuse, arms proliferation amongst other social deviancy. The counter-attack, pro-active strategies have clearly worked. Pre- Aregbesola many of the major urban settlements in Osun had been under a state of siege. This has now receded into history and largely out of memory.
Credit has to be given to the Ogbeni Governor for making cost effective budget allocation on the Security Landscape. Aregbesola’s government made transparent procurement of 25 sophisticated Armed Personnel Carriers and 125 patrol vans to combat robberies. The vans were distributed among all the security agencies, including the Army, Police, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigeria Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Immigration and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) amongst others.
The state government also subsequently inaugurated a combined quick emergency response team, Swift Action Response Squad (SARS) which comprises security forces like the Army, Police, and NSCDC officials whose activities have reduced crime rate to the barest minimum in Osun.
Hard pressed state governments hamstrung in a defective quasi- federalism must take a hard look at the Osun model. In a tight fiscal situation cost effective spending is decisive which is why Ogbeni Aregbesola deserves so much credit. He could after all, have used the spending on security as an opportunity for self-aggrandisement. When a state like Osun is at peace within, kudos must be giving to the government. We on our part do so.
For this reason, the electorate in Osun State with the backdrop of the prevailing horror stories across the country in mind must put the continuity of the security framework at the top of their priorities when they vote on September 22, 2018. With continuity we will continue to make Osun a standout safe haven, peaceful, secure and at peace with itself and others.