By Abdulwahab Oba
Azeez Olayeri is currently critically lying ill with a broken skull at the state’s general hospital. His only offence that attracted some political touts to his house was Razak Atunwa’s posters. Atunwa is the PDP gubernatorial candidate for the 2019 general elections. Whether Azeez, who is in his late fifties survives or not is in the hand of the Almighty. As I put together this piece, the hoodlums, allegedly accompanied by some policemen, are back on a house to house vandalisation of houses and properties suspected to belong to political opponents at Ode-Sarumi, Aliagan and other areas surrounding Agbaji, the ancestral home of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.
This development prompted a yet to be identified contact sent me a message on my WhatsApp. “What is happening? Will those APC thugs kill our people before you people act since the Police have compromised. Must their campaign be violent always? It is frustrating. Some bad cult boys that belong to the APC are embarrassing us. Please let us get vigilantee guys or their equals to curtail them. Blood for blood”, the contact said. Obviously, like many others, this social media friend has lost confidence in the willingness of the police command in Kwara State to protect perceived political foes of the current Federal Government.
But for the love of my country and respect for men and women of the Nigerian Police who have sacrificed the ultimate for the peace of our nation, the appropriate title for this piece should have been ‘Our Police Have Gone Gaga, Again’, to parody that excellent work of creativity; ‘Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again’, by Ola Rotimi. However, that would have impugned and denigrate the excellent men and women of integrity in the police. I have said it several times, and I repeat it without reservation, that I have utmost respect and regard for the police. I have worked closely with a few of them. They are men and women of conscience.
Therefore, such a title might compromise my belief about the police, too general, thereby includes those who should be excluded. My concern about the institution revolves on the headship whose figure and current activities overshadow the pictures of those honest officers and men. I am sure there are men in the service today who are groaning, seeing the way the system has been thrown to the dogs, who are praying silently that one day, this madness will pass away. Only those who want to use politics as their barometre will deny that there is no putrid odour oozing from the direction of the police today because to all men of good conscience, it is choking and no longer bearable.
That in itself accounts for this intervention, with the hope that, maybe, just maybe, our landlord at Aso Rock will see with us and help the nation out of the quagmire the police has thrown us into. And it all boils down to leadership. To me and other men of conscience, the current leadership of the police has crossed the border line of civility and integrity, if only to be moderate with my choice of words. There is no sector we have not seen his harsh and biased hand. My grouse is the bias, for if being harsh is what will get a policeman to perform his job, well, maybe we can look the other way, sometimes. But bias?
To my mind, since the days of late Sunday Adewusi in that office, we have not had it so bad. Those of us old enough to know the Adewusi era with its ‘Kill and Go’ Mobile policemen had prayed that never would we have such experience. Little did we know that we would once again have an IGP that will seek to outstrip the Adewusi era of its gold award in perfidy.
See what is happening in the Dino Melaye’s case. You said the man committed an offence in July; you knew when he committed the offence, you allowed him to be moving about freely until few weeks to a campaign in his state, you never raised it either privately with him or publicly, you suddenly remembered he was wanted and laid a siege on his home! One would have sided with the IGP if there are no records of previous similar misdeeds on his part.
For instance, in January 2017, he caused the arrest of the Elomba brothers for allegedly using their online medium, Elomba news to publish an opinion that criticised him. The Elomba brothers went to court; the court awarded N5 million damages against the IGP. Popular artiste, Charley Boy, and his ‘Our Mumu don Do’ group staged a peaceful protest when President Buhari travelled abroad for medical attention, asking him to RESUME OR RESIGN. Our IGP used police to attack them. They went to court and court awarded N50 million damages against the police. Who bore the financial brunt for these misdemeanours? Nigerian taxpayers, not the IGP personally.
When Anambra was to hold its election in November 2017, our IGP withdrew the security details of Governor Willy Obiano, a candidate in the election. It took the intervention of President Buhari to overturn that move. When it was time for a similar election in Ekiti state, our IGP also withdrew the security details of then governor Ayo Fayose. Nothing happened. But when it was time for similar election in Osun state, our IGP never withdrew Governor Rauf Aregbesola’s security details. What manner of policeman is that? The two governors whose security details were removed belong to the PDP. What was the overwhelming reason to have sustained Aregbesola’s aides in similar circumstances? Political bias; and that is why I argue that this IGP acts more like a politician and not an unbiased policeman. Too bad.
It was under this same IGP that policemen escorted seven renegade members of the Benue House of Assembly from Abuja to Makurdi in an attempt to impeach Governor Ortom. The same thing happened in Akwa Ibom state. When Senator Misau’s raised corruption allegations against him, instead of defending himself, our IGP caused the Attorney General of the Federation to charge Misau to court and the case has since gone cold. What of the many cases they have filed against the Senate President, all in a bid to cow him and make him toe their line of politicking? The Offa robbery case saga is still fresh in our memory. Rather than find a lasting solution to such dastard acts, find succour for the briefed and the griefed families, our IGP suddenly hijacked the case for personal vendetta. And till now, no one either knows how the principal suspect died in police custody or the whereabouts of Kayode Opadokun, another key suspect.
Please let someone tell our IGP that posterity will judge every one for his actions. Please, let the IGP know that his success as the head of that institution is the success of our democracy and our nation. Since it is almost certain that our landlord in Aso Rock may extend his tenure, maybe again as sign of goodwill and a ‘thank you’ for being a politician and not a policeman you had sworn to be, my prayer is that this IGP will act with equity, justice, integrity and the fear of God. If we are witnessing this kind of violence weeks to the election, what then should we not expect during the polls proper? Know that the number three citizen is crying out loud and clear that his life is being threatened by the actions of the IGP, who then is secured. I pray God will touch the heart of our IGP to recognise that Nigeria is greater than any individual.
But I am optimistic that our nation shall survive the current threat, not just from politicians or men and women of the police, but also from the IGP. God safe Nigeria!
*Oba can be reached via e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org