Governor Radda


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By Maiwada Dammallam ( Director General Media to the Governor)

Although it’s not yet uhuru but certainly a lot has been done in the last few months to restore Katsina State back on the path of peace and sanity by the new administration of Governor Dikko Umar Radda, Ph.D. This, however, could only be understood when put side by side the maturity of the problem of insecurity inherited by Governor Radda and other governors in the North west region and of course, when debated with a genuine motive of understanding the problem and developing a more pragmatic template of solving the problem once and for all. Alhamdulillah, in Governor Radda are a very clear manifestation of genuineness of motives and sincerity of purpose needed to change the traumatic story of Katsina State or even the entire North west region. 

It’s an undeniable fact that Governor Radda inherited a state already under siege with 23 LGAs under a significant control of bandits. Actually, he’s a first-line charge victim of banditry having lost a brother to the brigandage of bandits and paying ransom to rescue another. He’s one that could be said to have arrived Katsina Government House emotionally charged and very angry with the traumatic condition Katsina State was trapped in for decades. It’s not unexpected then that he hit the ground running with a clear sense of direction and importantly, not unmindful of the complexities and cumbersomeness of the restoration agenda he has in mind. To add to this burden, the porous borders of the state aiding inflow of light and even heavy arms which the Federal Government seemed helpless to curtail worsen the already bad situation. This, rather than discourage Governor Radda, fueled his ambition to make a difference. Thankfully, his determination is paying off.

Undoubtedly when Governor Radda came in, decades of the menace of insecurity has stripped a significant portion of the citizenry of their sources of livelihood and even dignity with many languishing either in IDPs or on the streets of major cities in the state. This, in turn, created a very complimenting and negative conducive problem of unemployment which provided a very large army of ready recruits for banditry and sundry criminality. This justice system did very little to help by not emphasizing in the minds of citizens that crime doesn’t pay. In summary, it’s a combination of many variables that landed us where we are today. This all adds up to make the issue of insecurity a very delicate problem to deal with; one that requires more than the analyzation of “Tik-Tokers” and self-trained bloggers to enlighten and get public buy-in to resolve or even simply make sense of. 

To get out of this mess, then we have to consider all variables involved while properly contextualizing the issue of (in)security. We must also separate theories of insecurity, and our security architecture from the conjunctures, actuals and or realities ruling their debates. I’ve always argued that security is one area that one must have not only the requisite background but the finest of information to grasp or debate intelligently. For instance, it’s a general belief — actually a constitutional fact — that the government is responsible for protecting lives and properties of citizens. However, very few people could say with precision which “government” has this responsibility or how protective is this constitutional fact. Not only that, either deliberately or ignorantly, even fewer people could pinpoint the hindrances reducing this constitutional fact to a somewhat inapplicable constitutional theory disguised as a fact. 

To be clear and without ifs and buts, the Federal Government is responsible, at least in theory, for the protection of lives and properties. It has the exclusive right to violence which it shares with no other government at any level. It’s the custodian of all security agencies and any other related institution. This is where the conflict begins as, on the other hand, the same constitution which domiciled state violence and protection of lives and properties in the hands of the FG, somehow turned around and made state governors “Chief Security Officers” of their individual states yet without right for violence or authority over security institutions — kind of sending them into the battlefield blindfolded and with both hands tied to their backs. The wisdom behind this contradiction is a complete subject for another day. 

The Federal Government itself is a victim of the theorization of the protection of lives and properties of the citizens of Nigeria unless of course, if by any chance it could make sense for the Federal Government to properly police a nation of over 200 million citizens with a combined strength of just about 3 million officers of all the security agencies — also a topic for another day. 

Zeroing on Katsina State, Governor Radda has left no one in doubt about his intention and determination to use all the powers at his disposal (even improvise where necessary) to restore peace to Katsina State. He pledged to spend every penny in the treasury if that’s what’s needed to bring peace to the state and with a multibillion Naira investment in the security sector to enhance the functionality of security officials, he’s undoubtedly walking his talk. The recent acquisition of additional 10 new Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) after an unprecedented expenditure of over N7 billion for security and setting up of the Katsina Community Watch Corp (CWC) are all indicative of Governor Radda’s unshakable resolve to change the security outlook in the state despite the obvious political, financial and even constitutional huddles.

Commendable as this is, we should assume it’s not going to be an easy ride hence, all hands must be on deck to support and assist Governor Radda restore peace to Katsina State devoid of any interest but that of the state and the Northwest region in general. There’s simply no room for complicity and complacency. Then, the complexity of the battle and the nature of our politics must all be considered when debating the success of the Radda administration on this matter. Of course, no one will deny that at the moment Katsina State is recording some attacks on soft targets in vulnerable areas. That should be expected. Like corruption, banditry will not die lying down. Overstretched manpower and dearth of funds are another aspect of the problem which bandits will naturally exploit to keep their presence in the system impressed in the minds of citizens. 

Attacks on soft targets by bandits is a cheap trick by the bandits to keep hanging to the most basic tool in their arsenal — FEAR! Bandits and insurgents largely succeed by instilling fear in the minds of citizens. This explains why bandits records and release videos of their sinister activities to the public. It’s to impress in the minds of citizens their make-belief power for violence and maintain control on public psyche. Bandits do not release videos to show they are heroes otherwise they won’t be wearing masks in their videos to protect their identities. It’s merely to intimidate and subdue the public albeit in a cowardly manner. 

And this is where we all have a big role to play. The alarming manner in which we publicize matters of insecurity — sometimes using even old or unverified videos — is certainly an impediment to government’s efforts to restore peace and sanity. It’s not for the purpose of suppressing public awareness that reports of incidences of insecurity and matters of security should be considered highly sensitive which reportage requires the highest level of responsibility and caution. In our zeal to report issues of insecurity we mostly end up doing more harm than good to the general idea of partnering with the government to keep the society safe. We end up over-blowing the activities of criminals and making them appear larger than the law and seemingly uncontrollable hence, calibrating public psyche and denying the government the courage of citizens to participate fully in what should be a joint project between citizens and the government to protect lives and properties. 

Without fear of contradiction, let me say, once again, that no government is powerful or rich enough to secure lives and properties in the distorted sense we generally understand the aspect of the Nigerian constitution somehow forced Nigerians to believe the business of providing security for the nation could be done. Just as much, no government is powerful enough to do it alone. 

The opposition are not helping matters either. It’s simply unfortunate the manner some people are trivializing issues of security just to hit at the government and score cheap political points. These scores may be cheap but they are deadly and could consume us all. The tendency by the opposition to see any attack by bandits on citizens as a failure of the government yet, without considering variables I mentioned earlier but simply to score cheap political goal is very disturbing. It takes nothing to understand that banditry is no respecter of party affiliations and that we are all in this together and certainly we will swim or sink together in it. 

It’s wrong, therefore, to assume that giving the government support and cooperation to fight banditry and other social ills is doing the government a favor. Far from it, our support and cooperation in this regard is a civic duty neglecting which could lead to dire consequences. ALL hands must be on deck to jointly fight the menace. That’s the truest definition of SELF-HELP.  We just shouldn’t allow politics of party differences blur our sense of collective safety or patriotism. It’s a fact that the government cannot do it alone. It’s fighting a ghostly army of criminals that could attack the public in one minute and in the next, melt and mingle with the society only to play victims. A typical case of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. 

This raises another fundamental question of distrust and disrespect that seem to be the basis of relationship between some citizens and the government, mostly determined by political subscriptions. It’s common to read or watch satirical comments and videos aimed at “enlightening” the public on government activities yet full of distortions or even outright fabrications tailored to ridicule the Governor and the government in the most despicable manner imaginable. Why, for instance, should it be a problem if the governor travels outside the shores of Katsina to build networks that could attract enormous benefits for Katsina State citizens? By the way, who says developing a state is cheap? “Better soup na money dey make am.”

A typical case is Governor Radda’s ongoing trip to Washington DC, USA, alongside 10 other governors from the Northwest region which is being debated like a holiday trip Disneyland when in actual sense a trip to the United Nation (UN) by the governors to exploit ways to co-opt the UN and attract its full attention on the ongoing terror in the Northwest which seem to be defying local solutions. And it’s not like these governors sneaked out of Nigeria. Nigerians were fully informed about their mission and its importance to their individual states yet, we have no problem watching some people putting their honor, commitment and even dignity on the line simply because they answered a call to serve. 

Among other things, the mission to the UN by these governors will allow them a window to address problems of insecurity with international implications like inflow of light and heavy arms being dumped in Africa mostly from Europe, Asia etc. it will also give them access to funding and expertise and collaborations with international partners for intelligence sharing, training programs for local security forces, and even exploring options for financial aid dedicated to fighting banditry. In addition, it will help them build relationships with international stakeholders, including security agencies, NGOs, and private sector entities with resources and expertise relevant to combating banditry. So, which of these potential benefits is not worth spending money to achieve? Criticism is critical in a democracy but it must be intelligent and constructive authored with the best of intentions and devoid of any consideration but that of the society. Let’s not by our silly methods throw away the baby with the bath water. 

Maiwada Dammallam is the Director General Media to the Governor

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