IGP Ibrahim Idris,
IGP Ibrahim Idris,

Many were born to hear words like: tribalism, nepotism, ethnicity and clannishness-all share close semantic quality – but never knew the welter of its destructive import until recently when the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris delivered in Kano a speech that would go down in history as a national shame and evidently the rise and fall of Nigeria. One would be galled and forced into this damning conclusion if one has watched the video of Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s first Prime Minister when he addressed the Commonwealth in 1960 shortly after the country’s independence. Balewa exuded confidence, showed candour and was colourful to the delight of Nigerians. He was just a Grade II Teacher.

But IGP Ibrahim Kpotun Idris from Niger State who was born in 1959 and graduated from Ahmadu Bello University with a degree in Agricultural Studies could not sustain that oratorical flourish that underlined Balewa’s speech of 1960. Before Nigerian audience, IGP Idris, the number one policeman in the country bumbled and fumbled to the consternation of many and eternal shame of the institution he represents.

Many are wont to ask, how did Ibrahim Idris ascend the rank of IGP? Was his record of service including courses attended not examined? Was a dispassionate forensic check on him conducted? What is the modus operandi in appointing an IGP? What is the role of the Police Service Commission in such appointments? Was there any influence peddling in the appointment? Did he deserve to be appointed as IGP as at the time the appointment was consummated? Can Ibrahim Idris do Nigeria proud in event of the need to represent the country on global stage? Answers to these questions are necessary to enable an appreciation of the process that brought about his emergence and consequential national shame that today confronts that revered law enforcement institution. It would help in exposing or dousing the rumour of influence peddling which the presidency is being widely accused.

The story holds that the IGP while a Commissioner of Police in Kano State in 2015 did the untoward to enhance the electoral fortune of PMB. It is on record that the resident electoral commissioner in Kano State died with his family members in a mysterious inferno 6 days after the announcement of the election results and in circumstances allegedly traceable to a protest he mounted against a seemingly doctored election result of the State which he had earlier submitted. It is said that for looking the other way while the barbarity was perpetrated, Idris had to be rewarded with the position of IGP. To achieve this, he was given double promotion with 21 AIGs and 4 DIGs ahead of him forcefully retired. If such brazen display of jaundiced decision is not contemptuous to national interest, I don’t know what else could be.

In whatever way we look at this incident, the Nigerian nation and the people are the losers. The cost invested in the training of the prematurely retired officers is an avoidable drain to the coffers of the nation. The alleged deliberate abdication of responsibility which may have led to loss of lives of the INEC Commissioner and his family is a moral blight on the nation. The encouragement of under age voters and the overall electoral heist that was perpetrated in Kano and which gave APC the fraudulent advantage was a threat to the nation’s democracy. Let us ponder at a scenario of Jonathan’s resistance given the benefit of intelligence report he had in his possession and reflect on where the nation would have possibly been in such situation. One does not need to be discerning to know that the nation would have morphed into violence of carnage proportion which would have acquiesced with Buhari’s prediction of 2015 that “the dog and the baboon will be soaked in blood”. But Jonathan’s calm and patriotic demeanour averted that bloodletting and calamity.

But how did we get here? Because somebody allowed his personal interest to take precedent over national interest. When such an act is exhibited, the quotient of patriotism or even nationalism in the individuals who facilitate the absurdity are brought to question. There are insinuations that Mr. President has shown tacit support to the abnormal ascension of the current IGP to that exalted office. If that is true, then the President’s level of patriotism and willingness to take the nation to new heights are suspect and questionable. If he could willfully bring a mediocre and an incompetent officer to lead a foremost security architecture at a period like this, then his commitment to a pan Nigeria Project leaves a lot to be desired.

The Inspector-General of Police has not helped public perception that he is enjoying the unfettered protection of Mr. President. His practice in impunity is legendary. About thrice, he has flouted the invitation of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria even to the extent of approaching the court to halt any action against him whatsoever or any further invitation. No man can act in such a recalcitrant manner in a democratic setting that he is an appointee unless he knows where his help would come from. In this respect, it is obvious that his help “cometh from above”.

The IG’s show of shame and obvious public satisfaction in his continuous derision can be explained as an intercourse of man’s power, people’s helplessness and the supremacy of God over all things. The IG climbed the podium and lost self comportment. He stuttered through a written speech with the incoherence unlikely of a primary school pupil. He blundered to the bewilderment of the huge audience that were sitted in the hall. He proved eloquently that he is a minion in an outsized office and that his arrival in that office lacks the requisite moral rectitude.

The defence to the IG’s tasteless outing has also been specious and primitive. They have argued that the IG was charmed. What a ridiculous and absurd opinion! The police as an institution does not recognize the existence of extra-terrestrial powers, how come it sees this possibility in an incident involving their number one man in the country with strenuous efforts to give the claim veracity. They have also said that the video that is trending on the matter is doctored, but one can only persuade public opinion in such doctored materials if the character in question displayed traits that are “doctorable”. The outlandish claims in the many views of different officers raising submissions of defence for the IGP are just face-saving with some bordering on arrant inanities. Let us beg them to help us retain our sanity, because what they are doing as defence to the IG is actually unprofessional damage control that deepens the damage.

However, there are so much to learn from the current development in our country. It is a clarion call for all patriotic Nigerians to stand up and be counted as they unanimously say ‘NO’ to nepotism, clannishness and tribalism. These vices produce and protect mediocrity at the expense of merit. That is the crossroad Nigeria has found itself today. While PDP was in power, all IGPs were produced on merit. Even the IG who presided over the election that produced Mr. President before the coming of Solomon Arase was a Northerner. But he merited the office he occupied and was not denied on account of his tribe. The actions of the APC led administration which tend to promote nepotism, ethnicity, religious bigotry, clannishness and other awkward tendencies all dovetailing into mediocrity cannot help this prostrate nation to rise. The central government led by APC is fraudulently upping the career of those who would willfully do its bidding but at the peril of national unity.

By Joe Iniodu

Joe Iniodu is a Public Affairs Analyst.

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