Rotimi Akeredolu and Eyitayo Jegede, candidates of the All Progressives Congress and Peoples Democratic Party in the October 10, 2020, Ondo governorship election, have both expressed dissatisfaction with the country’s growing insecurity concerns.
Ondo state has been identified as one of the south-western states with growing cases of kidnapping in the last three year.
Mr Akeredolu, the incumbent governor of the state, while slugging it out with the governorship candidate of the main opposition PDP, Mr Jegede, in a TV debate, admitted that Nigeria’s security architecture is currently in a bad state
The debate was organised by Channels Television on Wednesday for the three main contestants in the race even though the Zenith Labour Party (ZLP) candidate, Agboola Ajayi, opted out a few hours before the debate.
Mr Akeredolu, seeking re-election on the platform of the ruling APC and one of the advocates of the southwest regional security network codenamed ‘Amotekun‘, argued that having “a single command for our security cannot give us the safety we need” while calling state governors “the chief security officer of a state without power doesn’t make sense.”
“I can assure you that I am not pleased with the country’s security architecture in the country. I’m one of the strong advocates of multi-level policing.
“We are prepared as a state to add and assist, so that we can work together to secure the people,” he said.
Mr Akeredolu expressed optimum confidence in regional security network when he said “Amotekun cannot fail.”
The PDP governorship candidate, Mr Jegede, applauded the Amotekun initiative but expressed the possibility of it being used to serve some governors’ partisan interests rather than for the overall benefit of the general public.
He called for “deliberate policies to strengthen police in the state” and sharing of such power between the state and federal level to prevent the central from becoming too powerful over such a subject.
“I believe in a state police and I believe that all our governors should work together to mend the constitution to allow the state government to function at its own pace.
“The security architecture of the country is in a very bad shape. I believe Ondo state is also peculiar because of the cases of kidnapping.
“What I believe should be done is to build police outposts all across the vulnerable areas and assist the military to build smaller barracks across the North where there are cases of kidnapping,” Mr Jegede said, faulting the government for not enforcing the anti-kidnapping laws as it should.
Civility in SARS
The two candidates also argued against the growing call for the disbandment of Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) by Nigerians especially on the social media with #EndSARS as the hashtag calling for the outright ban of the police squad.
Mr Akeredolu, in his arguments, said that SARS is not as malicious as Nigerians presented. He said he suspected that the department has only been mismanaged by those in charge even though it has also aided in bringing serious criminals to book.
“SARS is a product of its own time and I am afraid that the time has not gone away,” Mr Akeredolu said, linking the current state of the police department to mismanagement and abuse of power by those in charge.
He said the unit should not be eradicated and called for re-training of those officials to respect human rights.
In his own contribution, Mr Jegede said that there are cases of fundamental human rights issues with SARS.
He said being a SARS operative should not give the person a license to abuse the rights of the people.
”They must operate within protocols, Mr Jegede said.