“When you see a rat displaying an evil dance in the middle of the road, the evil drummers are hidden somewhere in the bush”, says an Africa adage.
Though the piece in New Telegraph newspaper of May 15, 2017, captioned ‘IGP’s Embarrassing Partisanship’ may have carried the name of one Simeon Nwakaudu as the writer, the aura of those behind the write-up could be perceived even from afar.
From the tone of the piece, it is clear that those who have taken it upon themselves to engage Nigeria’s Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, in distractive fights are at work again.
Ordinarily, one would not have bothered responding to the piece, given its naïve disposition and its obvious partisan inclination, but records have to be set straight with regard to elections that were held under the watch of the IGP.
It is on record that a number of elections were held in the country since the IGP assumed office.
There were two gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo states respectively.
Besides these, some elections into the National Assembly were held in Kogi, Kano, Taraba and Rivers states, and in all cases, the Police received high commendations for the professional way it handled security matters during the polls.
So, it is surprising why Rivers’ elections, which by all standards could not be said to be as sensitive as those of Edo and Ondo, have been so crises ridden.
One fundamental factor that is responsible for this is the desperation of some of the political demagogues in the state, who took the election as a do-or-die. It is still fresh in our minds how serving police officers on national assignments during the two elections in Rivers were slaughtered based on directives from whose statutory responsibility is to provide security for the state.
The situation would have been far more terrible had the IGP not stood his ground to ensure that security did not get out of hand. No responsible Police organisation would have allowed itself to be intimidated by people who see simple elections as acts of war.
If guaranteeing that security was not breached and order was not destabilised during those elections will amount to partisanship, time may have come to begin searching for a new definition for partisanship.
And if this is what will warrant the unguarded claim that the IGP has become a card-carrying member of a political party, there is a clear manifestation of the level of desperation some people can bring to bear in politics.
Well, for the records, the IGP was not, is not and would not be partisan in the discharge of his duties.
On the five police officers who collaborated with the governor of Rivers State, Mr. Nyesom Wike, to undermine the smooth conduct of the elections, they have been dismissed in accordance with the rules of the institution, and their dismissal remains valid.
If Mr. Wike wants them to be left unpunished, he surely is not abreast with the pledge of IGP Ibrahim Idris, who set for himself a mission to reposition the Nigeria Police.
Things are now being done in compliance with rules and regulations, and violations are punished accordingly.
Now, the question to ask the writer and sponsors of that piece is, why are they comfortable with the violence that affected the December 10 2016 legislative re-run election in Rivers State? Why would they not want it investigated?
One would have thought that the governor will support any effort put in place to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the violence, as well as bring perpetrators to book.
It therefore surprises me, that he rushed to court to stop the process, and is already celebrating what he perceived as victory, because a Federal High Court in Abuja declared the Special Joint Investigative Panel as “illegal”.
Has Mr. Simeon asked Mr. Wike why he is celebrating?
We are talking here of the state which the governor represents, the state to which he belongs, the state where people gave him their mandate to steer their affairs, the state he claims to love.
It is the people of this state that were brutally assaulted and killed during the election violence, and he does not want the matter investigated.
He has not attempted to investigate it himself and is truncating the effort of the IGP in this direction.
What a contradiction. In any case, the Federal High Court judgement could be overturned on appeal.
Should the IGP decide not to appeal the judgement, it is the people of Rivers State who would have lost the chance to get reprieve for the devastation of their land and the killing of their people.
On the whole, one thing has been achieved under the leadership of IGP Idris as far as election processes are concerned.
The aspect of security has received commendation, for the scale of violence and lawlessness has drastically reduced. But this same achievement must be a sore in the eyes of those who have hitherto benefited from some violence. It would appear that some people are already counting their losses, in the face of peaceful elections, and they are really angry and fighting.
•Ibrahim writes from Abuja.