SECURING ESANLAND: Political security is a catalyst – Gen. Cecil Esekhaigbe rtd.
By: Oriaifoh Godwins
The absence of an effective government to discharge the social contract of welfare and security for the people has been identified as the bane of all security challenges such as Political, Economic, Physical and environmental that are confronting the people of Esanland. This assertion was made by the Okanlete of Esan land, Dr. General Cecil Esekhaigbe rtd, during the maiden Assembly of Esan Okpa Initiative that was held recently at Buvel Hotel, Uromi, the Headquarters of Esan North East Local Government Area of Edo state.
Speaking while delivering a lecture on the topic: ‘Combating Insecurity in Esanland’, Gen. Cecil, said; “…the bottom line of the various strands of security, lies in the primary responsibility of the government which is the provision of welfare and security for the citizenry…” He explained that, security of the people of Esan land, includes the Political, Economic, Physical and environmental components of security, saying Political security is a catalyst to achieving absolute security in Esanland.
Underscoring the variables that comes to play in security calculations, Gen. Cecil defined security as the absence of fear, or the state of being secure; adding that, security has gone beyond the narrow prism of military engagements or physical approach, as such variants as political, food/economic and social components are all part of what must be addressed for Esan land to be secured.
Gen Esekhaigbe who revealed the roles that late Chief Tony Enahoro, Prince Shaka Momodu and others played in the political emancipation of Nigeria and recently, how Chief Tony Anenih and Chief Tom Ikhimi held sway as the Chairmen of the Social Democratic Party, SDP and the National Republican Convention, NRC, respectively, said Esanland, politically delineated as Edo Central, being erroneously referred to as the smallest, is an illusion as the large presence of Esan people in other senatorial districts, viz Edo North and South, negates this erroneous claim.
On Economic security, the agricultural exploits in Esanland, Gen. Cecil said, needs to be taken from the subsistence scale to a mechanized level; he added that, worthy Esan men and women must think globally and act locally by coming home to invest in agriculture and in other viable sectors that abounds in Esanland.
He said Physical security is the freedom from fear, or the state of being secure. Armed robberies, farmers/herders clashes, kidnapping, insurgency/terrorism etc fall under this category. He advised that, Esan people must therefore take their destiny in their hands by reenacting the strength and values they used during the colonial invasion. A home grown solution to these challenges, he said, has become necessary as the government has failed in this. Therefore, hunters backed by serving and retired security men and women can help in organizing the first layer of defense while active community policing must also be explored.
According to him, lack of statutory and logistic support by the state government, enabling acts to back up the setting up of the Atanakpa as well as paucity of funds, has largely affected the operation of the Atanakpa, the security Initiative that was recently set up.
Environmental security, the retired General, said has to do with the preservation of our immediate environment for human exploitation. Adding that, influx of aliens into our communities, selling lands to strangers without knowing what their mission is, are all critical issues that Esan people must look into in ensuring the security of Esan land.
Gen. Cecil however concluded by saying; “…Atanakpa remains a viable security strategy” adding that, all Esan sons and daughters must support the restructuring of the security outfit, by contributing funds and equipment to it, for effective performance.