By Emeka Obasi
President Muhammadu Buhari is not my idol. My grouse with him is that he was offered the presidency on a platter of gold, but refuses to be the true statesman the world expected.
The President would have been a wonderful leader if he forgot the past and saw the entire country as his constituency. Who cares if all the service chiefs were from Daura and placed our collective interest above everything else.
The elevation of Abubakar Adamu to the position of Inspector General of Police [IGP] is in order. I will not consider this appointment as one of the ‘sins’ of Buhari. He has done nothing new.
Those who criticize this development should spare Mr. President. The same people who wanted Ibrahim Idris out are complaining. You can accuse Buhari of every other thing, but please with the police he is above board.
When Maj. Gen. Buhari emerged as Head of State in 1983, he picked Etim Inyang, from the South as IGP. When President Buhari was sworn in four years ago, the IGP, Solomon Arase, was from Southern Nigeria.
Arase was appointed by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan on April 21, 2015, a month before Buhari returned. And he was allowed to carry on until June 20, 2016. Arase was not sacked and remains grateful to the present regime.
It does not sound sweet to say a new IGP is coming just one month to presidential elections in February. Jonathan did the same, a month before he left office. And the man he appointed was from the South-South.
Some thought an Igbo man could have been considered as Idris’ replacement. I would not crucify Buhari. When Azikiwe Jonathan was there, the South-East fared worse.
President Umaru Ya’radua appointed the first Igbo IGP when he picked Mike Okiro. The politics behind that act was glaring. Okiro is from the South-South and following the exit of Sunday Ehindero, the next in terms of seniority looked like
Onovo acted as IGP for 24 hours before Okiro’s appointment. On July 24, 2009, Ya’aradua pacified the South–East by lifting Onovo to the position of IGP. The president died, Jonathan took over.
Dr. Jonathan sacked Onovo on September 8, 2010. The new man was Hafiz Ringim from the North. Ringim was junior to two prominent South-East officers, Ivy Okoronkwo and Azubuko Udah.
The duo would have been flushed out but after political discussions, they were made to serve under Ringim who was a month their junior. The IGP was almost bombed by Boko Haram in Abuja.
Jonathan fired Onovo and made, Azubuike Ihejirika, Army Chief. Many rejoiced without noting that another Igbo man, Paul Dike, the first Igbo Four-Star General and Chief of Defence Staff, thanks to Ya’radua, was also retired and replaced by Oluseyi Petinrin.
In five years, Dr. Jonathan had five IGPs. He inherited Onovo, then appointed Ringim, Mohammed Abubakar, Suleiman Abba and Arase. So far, Buhari has his third IGP.
Our police officers are world class, no doubt. The problem is with our leaders. We should be proud to say that James Usen, Imo State Commissioner of Police in the Second Republic, before Fidelis Oyakhilome, was once Inspector General of Police outside Africa.
Usen was so good that the Caribbean state of Granada asked for his services. He thus became the first
Nigerian IGP beyond our shores. Unfortunately, the officer could not attain that position in his home country.
From the colonial period when C.W.Duncan served as the first Nigerian IGP, between 1931 and 1935, under Governor Graeme Thompson, the police force was considered crucial.
From 1936, military officers were recruited to head the police. Major Alan Saunders came in 1936 and left in 1939. In 1942, Col. A.S. Mavrogordato, who was Commissioner of Police in Sierra Leone around 1913, became Nigeria’s IGP. He spent three years here.
By the time J.E. Hodge left in 1964, our own Luis Edet got the baton. And the problem began. Towards the end of 1965, there were plans by the government to remove Edet.
The military coup of January 1966 was Edet’s lifeline. Gen. Aguiyi Ironsi retained him but moved Kam Salem to the rank of Deputy Inspector General [DIG]. Edet joined the force in 1931 and by 1949 was an Assistant Superintendent of Police [ASP].
Salem enlisted in 1942 and was promoted ASP in 1953. Timothy Omo Bare, joined in 1933. Emmanuel Olawaiye enlisted in 1940 and by 1953 was an ASP, like Salem. Joseph Adeola became a cop in 1941 and wore the rank of ASP in 1951, two years ahead of Salem.
Adeola, also known as the ‘Flying Policeman,’ was a Nigerian international sprinter and champion in the late 1940s. He was an Inspector in 1949 while Salem was sub-Inspector in 1950.
Adeola trained at the Police College, Coventry and Branshill Police College, both in the United Kingdom. He became a Commissioner of Police in 1966, overtaken by Salem who attained that rank in 1962.
Olawaiye is best remembered as the officer who led a five-man team to Malaya in 1962. That training tour led to the formation of the Police Mobile Force which we all know today as MOPOL.
Kam Salem became IGP in 1966 and remained in that position until July 29, 1975. M.D. Yusuf took over and served the Murtala/Obasanjo administration.
We should give Buhari credit. President Olusegun Obasanjo had three IGPs and all were Yoruba. Musliu Smith, Tafa Balogun and Sunday Ehindero came from the South-West, Obasanjo’s geo-political zone.
Buhari’s police chiefs have come from the South-South and North Central respectively. The President is from the North-West. Arase is Bini, Idris is Nupe.
May I salute President Ya’radua who tried to instill sanity. After Ehindero, order of seniority was not flagrantly abused. And he did not appoint an IGP from the North, though he hailed from the North. Ya’radua remains outstanding for that.
Buhari joined the Army same day as Maj. Gen.Shehu Ya’radua, the late president’s elder brother. Politics favoured Shehu who became a Two-Star general when Buhari was yet to wear red neck.
The same politics has made AIG Abubakar Adamu, new IGP.Read Full Story