GUEST COLUMNIST by Abayomi Olukayode
For the greater part of last week, a larger chunk of the media space was hijacked by discussions on whether the tenure of the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, should be extended or not.
Idris, a graduate of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, joined the Nigeria Police Force in 1984. He is billed to officially retire from active service this month.
Some Nigerians, including the some opposition political parties have raised their voices showing their disapproval for the extension of the tenure of the IGP.
Even though most of the voices so far raised have not given clear reason on why the tenure of the IGP Idris should not be extended, some have pitched their arguments on the allegation that he will support the ruling part in rigging the February elections.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while lending its voice against the tenure elongation alleged that the IGP will be a willing tool in the hands of the ruling party- All Progressive Congress (APC) to rig the election.
The Spokesman of the PDP while interacting with newsmen recently said: “We are rejecting the tenure extension of the current IGP because we believe that he will be used by the APC to rig the 2019 elections.
“We believe that what is honourable is for him to finish his tenure and leave. We are also calling on him to ensure that he insulates the Nigeria Police from politics and leave a legacy that Nigerians will remember him for.”
On the other hand, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), has directed all coalition members in the 36 states to begin preparation for nationwide protests from January 15, if the IGP dresses in police uniform around the Force Headquarters.
According to the CUPP, Idris cannot occupy the office of the IGP again because by January 15 he ceases to be a police officer having clocked the statutory 35 years in active service , hence, have reached the retirement age as required by the 1999 constitution.
On the other hand, others, however, believe that extending the tenure of the IGP to enable him supervise the conduct of the 2019 general elections will add to the quality of the policing of the February general elections.
It is worth noting that President Muhammadu Buhari, being the Commander-in-Chief, is vested with the constitutional power to decide whether or not to extend the tenure of the IGP.
It would be recalled that in December 2017, President Buhari used the same constitutional power to approved the extension of the tenure of the Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Army Staff, the Chief of Air Staff and the Chief of Naval Staff.
Based on his judgment and assessment, the services chiefs did very well in their respective beats, hence, the extension of their tenure.
Therefore, if the President, base on his judgment and assessment feels that IGP Idris has performed creditably well over the years, and believes he will add value to the February general elections, especially in the area of provision of security, there is nothing wrong in extending his tenure.
It would be recalled that IGP Idris was part and par cel of the 2015 general elections. Apart from that, when he took over the mantle of leadership of the Nigeria Police Force, he supervised the elections conducted in some states. He performed well, according to many observers.
Many believe that the successful conduct of peaceful and hitch-free elections in Edo, Ondo, Imo, Kogi, Rivers, Anambra, Ekiti and Osun states is no mean achievement considering the way and manner elections are seen as do-or die in Nigeria.
Nigerians should therefore applaud the IGP for the record he has set of conducting elections without blood bath since he assumed office.
Juxtaposing this with other peaceful elections conducted to fill up both National and State Assemblies seats, this means that IGP Idris has a penchant for conducting elections devoid of loss of lives and property which used to be the norm some years back.
In fact, to demonstrate his readiness to sustain the tempo and achieve such feat in the subsequent elections, the IGP has assured the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of adequate deployment of armed policemen, vehicular patrols and helicopters during the 2019 general elections.
With the successful conduct of elections devoid of loss of lives and property, there is no doubt, with the support of all Nigerians, the 2019 elections, if supervised by IGP Idris, will be a huge success.
There is no doubt, IGP Idris has proved himself over the years, as a man of impeccable integrity. In fact, he rode on the shoulder of integrity and his God-fearing disposition to become the IGP.
Since his assumption of office on June 22, 2016, he did not hide his intention to make remarkable impact and change the face of the Nigeria Police Force.
At a start, he promised to reposition the Nigeria Police Force to be more accountable, responsive, responsible and reliable.
To achieve this, Idris and his management team fashion what they christened a Creed. The concept was aimed at Policing the country based on International Best Practices and with integrity in line with the Rule of Law. This has impacted positively on the behavior of both men and officers of the Force. This has led to the successes so far recorded in the policing of Nigeria.
IGP Idris has further demonstrated his ability to keep Nigeria safe by recording the highest number of arrest of kidnappers, armed robbers, cattle rustlers in the history of the country. No IGP has so far recorded the feat IGP Idris has attained in terms of the keeping Nigeria safe.
The most notorious kidnappers ever known in the history of Nigeria who held both the rich and the poor captive in Nigeria for a number of years, their end eventually came when Idris became the IGP.
Following the antecedents of IGP Idris and the sacrifices he has made to the safety of lives and property of the country, especially during elections, President Muhammadu Buhari and indeed, Nigerians should allow him with the opportunity to superintend over the February 2019 elections.
There is no gain saying, IGP Idris has the strategy and the mastery when it comes to election security. He has the experience and the competence.
It is therefore, necessary to call on the PDP, the CUPP and all others who are suspicious that IGP Idris will be bias in the handling of the February elections to drop such suspicion, as it does not hold water.
Nigerians should all join their voices in giving the IGP the needed support to put to work his experience in election security to ensure the success of the 2019 general elections.
Olukayode wrote in from
Wuse 2, Abuja