I’m most criticized president in the world

President Goodluck Jonathan has personally lent his voice to the unending debate on state ownership of the Police, describing it as a workable idea that the country is, unfortunately, unripe for. He also described himself as the world’s “most criticised president,” but promised to earn nationwide praise by the expiration of his tenure in office.

He disagreed with the president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Joseph Duadu (SAN), on the timing of calls for the creation of state Police. While governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomole backed the position of the President Jonathan, his Imo State counterpart, Rochas Okorocha supported the position of Daudu, who argued in favour of the contentious idea.

“Everybody knows I have been deputy governor and governor in Bayelsa State. There was a time we were frustrated and we felt that we should have our Police, that we would be able to manage criminality in our state better because of our local environment,” said Jonathan, who was speaking on the theme Nigeria As Emerging Market: Redefining Our Laws and Politics For Growth, at the 52nd Annual General Conference of the NBA in Abuja.

“Policemen from other parts of the country find it difficult to go into the waters. But for us who were born inside the water, even in the night, we could enter ordinary canoe to go to anywhere. We felt that if we had our local Police, it would be better for us because our Police could reach everywhere in our state.

“But when I discussed the issue of state Police with former presidents before a state council meeting, they said it is a good idea, that probably one day we will get there. And that is the emphasis I want to make: one day we will get to that point. But presently, we have to be careful on how we go about it.”

He recalled from past experiments that the Police once came up with a policy that officers from the rank of inspector and below should be posted to their states of origin as a way of testing whether police familiarity with the environment would make changes.

“But it was realised that when Police officers from the rank of inspector down were posted to their state of origin, it was worse to manage the situation, so the Police had to discontinue that policy.

“Looking at the way governors are handling elections in their state with the state electoral commission, where opposition parties hardly win even councillorship elections, there is the feeling that if there is state Police and the governors manipulate their state Police the way they are manipulating their state electoral commissions, there will be so much instability that even what we are witnessing now will be a child’s play,” he concluded

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