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Nigeria’s Troubled Institution -By Kene Obiezu

When it rains, it pours. As for the Nigeria Police Force, it continues to pour. It has always poured as long anyone can remember. When earthshaking protests rocked Nigeria in 2020,it was because a rogue unit of the police had finally bitten more than it could comfortably chew.

Across the world and even across history, strong institutions have always been at the core of any virile democracy. Whether it is those who keep the peace, grow the economy or promote democracy itself, strong institutions have always been key in determining whether a democracy strives or wallows in darkness.

It has always figured that democracy famously described by no less a figure than Plato as a government of the people, by the people and for the people has always blossomed when rules  and structures were actually made stronger than those who keep, and staff them.

But this has not been an easy journey by any means. Democracy has always faced mammoth resistance everywhere by those who would rather they are put above this institutions. For this people, being placed above the law is key to keeping their heads above water in an increasingly dysfunctional country.

Ahead of the 2023 general elections, there is a consensus that two of Nigeria’s most critical institutions, being the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) will come under unusual scrutiny. This scrutiny which is projected to be quite intense is believed by many to be a necessary accompaniment of the enormous responsibilities the two institutions are expected to shoulder if Nigeria is to come out of pivotal elections unscathed.

For the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), its hands will be full in organizing elections in a country where historic suspicions and failures  conspire to deny the body the benefit of doubt whenever elections come around.

Nigeria’s history of failed leadership and monumental corruption always makes  INEC’s task infinitely more difficult whenever elections come around. The experience has always been that usually, even before the first ballot is cast, there are many who believe the Commission to be working hand in hand with those who would undermine the integrity of elections in Nigeria.

So against the backdrop of poor funding, mounting security concerns and allegations of executive  interference, INEC also has to confront weighty credibility issues as it conducts elections in Nigeria.

All these make it an institution deeply troubled already. It has also raised deep concerns about security in some parts of Nigeria ahead of the elections. It remains to be seen just how well it will do.

When it rains, it pours. As for the Nigeria Police Force, it continues to pour. It has always poured as long anyone can remember. When earthshaking protests rocked Nigeria in 2020,it was because a rogue unit of the police had finally bitten more than it could comfortably chew.

Reforms were promised, but they have remained only that. In the time when insurgency has made inroads into Nigeria’s already messy security situation, the police has found its key task of maintaining law and order a veritable nightmare.

Like INEC, Nigeria expects the hapless men who staff the police to work miracles with shockingly poor funding and  impossible conditions of work.

The police is expected to provide security to ensure the smooth conduct of the elections which INEC is expected to oversee. Two key Nigerian institutions face what is certainly an unenviable task, one which is looking increasingly impossible by the day. Whether they get it right will go a long way in determining where Nigeria would find itself after the elections.

In the elections proper, Nigerians must turn their attention to those who can guarantee strong institutions for the country. The mess Nigeria finds itself enmeshed in today has loads to do with the fact that strong men have always been preferred to strong institutions. These men many of whom  have always shown a predilection for extraordinary corruption have over the years deliberately and gleefully worked to weaken Nigeria as a country.

For the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians, the hope is that the right decisions are made for the good of all.

Kene Obiezu,

Twitter:@kenobiezu

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