Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Special adviser to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state on political matters, Hon. Ifeatu Obiokoye, says President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to address Nigerians on the state of the nation, despite the wanton destruction of public utilities by ENDSARS protesters across the country.
Obi-Okoye maintained that despite the persistent demand by the protesters that the president should address the nation on the way forward, the party alleged that the national leadership seemed to be insensitive to the plights of Nigerians.
Hon. Obiokoye, who responded to a statement by the state publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress in Anambra that the governor was not forthcoming with constituting a judicial panel of inquiry like other states, maintained that any legitimate and responsible member of the APC should be concerned about the failure of the national leadership to speak to Nigerians on issues emanating from the nationwide police brutality protests.
Obiokoye who spoke with our correspondent at the government house in Awka, noted that contrary to the opinion being peddled by the APC, the governor had constituted the broadest judicial panel of inquiry in the country to accommodate all facets of the society.
He said also that prior to constituting the judicial panel, the governor had addressed the ENDSARS protesting youths where he calmed their frayed nerves and also visited all the SARS units across Anambra state wherein he released some inmates in the custody of the defunct SARS.
The governor’s aide said, “I find it extremely uncautionable that in this state people must play politics with everything. The evolving developments require sober reflections particularly from the political class because a conflagration of it will consume all of us. We must be careful with the statements we make and how we trend in this particular time.
“We are not even sure who the enemy may become tomorrow; that is why we must not make statements that will inflame the situation. Anambra has remained relatively calm. We have not had any violent incidents. This is a product of underground security networking and public relations undertaken by the government of the state.
“So the opposition must be a little bit more careful particularly in times like this. What should worry them should be the conduct of the national leadership of their own party. The acting national chairman of the APC has said nothing. The leader of the party who is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces has also said nothing.
“There is a public demand by the same demonstrators and protesters that the president should speak to them and I ask, what is the difficulty for Mr. President to speak to these children? The same young people that elected him into office not too long ago.That should be the concern of any member of APC.”
Obiokoye noted that the protesting youths had made their points known and it would be wise enough to engage government in a round table to profer answers to their questions which he believes would be articulated in what he mentioned as short, medium and long term plans of development.
He was however of the opinion that the continued stay in the streets would be most counterproductive for the entire nation because miscreants will infiltrate the protest, making reference to the ugly episodes in Edo, Lagos and some other states in the country.
The governor’s aide on political matters equally stressed that state governors were setting up relevant panels to profile the activities of the defunct Special Anti-Robbery Squad to discover some of the officers who were involved in criminal acts and also profile those who have fallen victims of their brutality.
He also suggested that the protesting youths should have organised leadership structures as platforms to engage government in proper dialogue, noting that about five deaths have been recorded across the country due to the radical dimension the ENDSARS protest has taken within few days of its commencement.
He therefore cautioned the opposition to be mindful of inflammatory statements in order not to add more fuel to the already frenzied atmosphere.
Meanwhile, the state publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress in Anambra Mr. Okelo Madukaife had in a statement accused Governor Willie Obiano of delaying in setting up a judicial panel of inquiry into police brutality in the state.
Okelo in the statement said that the state chapter of the APC was pleased with the swift response of the federal government in accepting the five-point demands of the ENDSARS protesting youths across the country.
He also said that the party was pleased too that the SARS station at Awkuzu Anambra state has been shut down and that the directive from the federal government that no member of the disbanded SARS would form part of the new tactical unit of the police was a welcome development.
The APC state publicity secretary however accused the governor of delay in constituting the judicial panel of inquiry to look into the demands of the ENDSARS protesters.
According to him, “We hate to buy into the suggestion that the delay has anything to do with vested interest or protectionism as it affects specific characters with more than casual relationships with the state government.
“We urge Governor Obiano to get off the arm chair, set up desired, deserved and demanded judicial panel within 48 hours to shield Anambra state from an avoidable bandwagon denegeration of events,” the statement revealed in parts.
It would be recalled also that Governor Willie Obiano had on Tuesday 20th October inaugurated an enlarged judicial panel of inquiry comprising members from all walks of life and headed by Justice Vivian Umeh.