Former Inspector General of Police (IGP), now chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Dr Mike Mbama Okiro, has blamed Nigerian elite for fanning embers of ethnic and religious disharmony to achieve group or personal interests.
The former IGP blamed the Nigerian elite at his book launch titled “Nigeria: The Restructuring Controversy” at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, last Thursday.
Okiro noted that Nigeria’s problems are not solely ethnic or religious but that “they are embedded on elite conspiracy and subterranean manoeuvres for sectoral supremacy.”
However, the PSC chairman said he is convinced Nigeria “will emerge an unstoppable giant on the path of peace, rapid development and progress, not by dissolving into mushroom republics or along ethno-religious lines, but by leadership-led reconstruction which accords iron-cast deference and reverence to justice, equity and fair-play even in the face of the worse odds.”
Buttressing his point, the former IGP recalled a statement credited to the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II, and quoted him as saying: “But, it is also true that this nation has the misfortune of having produced elite whose selfishness and greed know no bounds. Unless they are able to agree on how to accommodate each other, they are ready to tear this country apart and lead us into a meaningless war.”
On the views of the royal father, Okiro said: “l made conscious efforts to eliminate comments (in the book) that are highly acrimonious, acrylic and caustic. The essence is to expose every contender to other people’s views and to perceive that their reasons and views are not sacrosanct and they should accommodate and evaluate opinions of others.”
Highlighting on his slogan ‘l believe in One Nigeria Project,’ Okiro posited that no matter how well written constitutions and laws may be and notwithstanding the good intentions they promise, “they risk perversion because the operators of extant and non-written laws are humans. Humans can err, they are not infallible.”
He recalled that in September 2008, as IGP, while meeting with top journalists in Mike Okiro Hall of Lagos State Police officers Mess, he presented a paper titled Patriotism – A National Call To Duty.
Still believing in that patriotic call, Okiro said, “presently, our country Nigeria demands from all her citizens, a strong display of true patriotism in whatever we are doing or saying.”
That belief, he disclosed, prompted him to write the book and believes that “it will assist the national government in reining –in the centrifugal forces that have for long been threatening the peaceful co-existence development and progress of Nigeria.”
His book, he added, highlights reservations of speakers, their fears as well as the measures the Nigerian state has taken so far to redress the recurring challenges.
Dignitaries who attended the event were former INEC chairman, Prof Maurice Iwu, former IGPs, Aliu Atta, Tafa Balogun, Sunday Ehindero, M.D. Abubakar and the immediate past IGP, Solomon Arase.
Others were Edo State Deputy Governor, Philip Shaibu, Benue State former deputy governor, former information minister during General Abdulsalami Abubakar’s regime, who stood in for him as chairman of the occasion, Etsu Nupe, deputy Inspector General of Police, Valentine Tomchukwu, who represented IGP Idris Mohammed, retired DIG, Marvel Akpoyibo, DIG Habila Joshak and captains of industries, among others.