The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has expressed the hope that the promise by Police Affairs Minister Caleb Olubolade, that the government will restructure and refurbish police training institutions across the country, is not a hoax designed only to douse the nationwide anger generated by the Channels TV expose on the rundown Police College in Ikeja.
”If this is one of those ploys to divert attention from a burning issue and then continue with business as usual, the government is in for a rude shock, because Nigerians will definitely hold the Jonathan Administration to its promise to refurbish the police training colleges,” ACN said in a statement issued in Oyo on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
”To convince Nigerians that this is not the usual government gimmick, the minister must give a time frame within which the government will redeem its pledge. This promise cannot be open-ended if it is to be credible,” it said.
ACN also queried why the government has chosen to intimidate Channels TV, which decided to expose the rot at the police college in Ikeja as part of a strategy to forge a public-private partnership to help raise the resources needed to refurbish the college.
The announcement by the management of the TV station ”postponing” the forum, which it had planned to hold in order to actualize its plan, is a direct result of President Jonathan’s unnecessary and inexplicable anger at the station, when he should have channelled his energy into reversing the rot.
”Yes, Channels TV has not said publicly that it was forced to ‘postpone’ the forum, but any discerning person knows the TV station had to retrace its steps after no other personality than the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria left it in no doubt that its public service initiative was meant to ’embarrass’ the Administration.”
The party said while it is willing to give the Administration the benefit of the doubt on this issue, ”we make bold to say that a sincere government would have ensured that those behind the laudable initiative are carried along, or are at least allowed to pursue their initiative parallel to whatever the government plans to do, instead of cowing them to step back.”
It said the Channels TV’s plan, to catalyze a public-private partnership on the issue, remains the way to go, since even a government with the very best of intentions lacks the resources to embark on all the necessary development projects before it.
”That is why some state governments have resorted to the Trust Fund initiative, pioneered by the Lagos State Government, to ensure that the police are better equipped to carry out their constitutional role. This initiative has been transparent and fast in terms of delivering results, and has not prevented the federal government from doing its own bit,” ACN said.
The party advised the Jonathan Administration to abandon its unfounded paranoia that the expose was aimed at embarrassing it, saying the President’s decision to make the issue personal has hurt his Administration perhaps more than the expose.
”The rot in the Police College in Ikeja or the other police training institutions across the country did not start with the Jonathan Administration, hence it is wrong for the President to see whatever is being done to expose the situation (with a view to rectifying it) as a design by these ever-so present imaginary enemies to make the Administration look bad,” it said