Beyond the Isuofia tragedy – Thisday

The Isuofia incident is a wake-up call for the Police to rise to their responsibility

The recent brazen attack on Isuofia community, Anambra State which led to the murder of three policemen and the abduction of a commissioner is not only a reflection of the growing insecurity across the country but also highlights the desperate nature of our politics. At this time, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the policemen who lost their lives in that unfortunate incident. We also commiserate with the former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor and All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) gubernatorial aspirant, Chukwuma Soludo who was engaging stakeholders when a group of young men brandishing guns stormed the premises of the town’s civic centre. We hope the Isuofia attack is not a frightening prelude to the 6th November gubernatorial election in Anambra State, given the circumstances.

While we commend the Anambra State Police Command for apprehending some suspects in connection with the tragic incident, it is important that a thorough investigation is conducted to apprehend those that may be behind the attacks and their motives. We also hope that at the end of the day, culprits will be brought to justice in a bid to deter others.

It is unfortunate that after more than two decades of uninterrupted democracy, violence still defines our politics. The purpose of democracy is to afford the people the opportunity to choose their leaders and subsequently participate in the way they are governed. The Isuofia incident should be a wake-up call for the Police to rise to their responsibility of providing security. It must ensure that public confidence is restored and the atmosphere is tempered before the forthcoming gubernatorial election in Anambra State. The kind of politics that we play that is rooted in desperation and the win-at-all-cost syndrome is condemnable. The urge to acquire political power is frightening and is at the root of the instability being witnessed in several theatres across the country.

What has become clear in Nigeria today is the increasing desperation for power not necessarily to advance public good but rather to target the enormous spoils of office attached to political positions at all levels of governance. It is this same reason that drives the establishment of political parties that have, for all practical purposes, become business ventures. It is also what accounts for the violence associated with elections. The purpose of democracy is to afford the people the opportunity to choose their leaders and subsequently participate in the way they are governed. The basic way this is done is through the ballot box. While Nigeria is therefore anxious to enthrone a lasting democracy, great care needs to be taken to ensure that our variant does not end up enshrining the rule of violent mobs that vitiate public expectations and disappoint the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, it seems rewarding to indulge in violence as there were no reports that anybody was ever punished for such crimes; and perhaps the reason for the prevailing culture of impunity. Yet, we are worried about the resort to violence, especially when there is really no evidence that the interest of the downtrodden (often used as cannon fodder) is being served. Therefore, as we have canvassed in the past, there is need for a review of the remunerations and other perks of public office holders in our country.

Perhaps we will begin to see a reduction in this violent approach to politics and elections if and when the fat allowances attached to the elective offices are slashed considerably.

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