Nigeria Police and Its Misadventures in Politics

Buhari in a handshake with Idris, when the IG visited the president recently

At the rate he is going, the current Inspector-General of Police constitutes an even bigger threat to the nation’s democracy than other existential concerns, writes Olawale Olaleye

Perhaps, it is not out of place to say no public office holder under the current dispensation enjoys as much media exposure as the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris. Sadly, he does so, often with negative deliverables. From the time he assumed office till date, he has brazenly hopped from one crisis of negative media exposure to another, many times at the collective expense of the force’s integrity deficit and already battered image.

The latest of his professional indiscretion is however not far-fetched. It was still in sync with his natural disposition as the leader of the police. His people, the police, had summoned Senator Ademola Adeleke, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in saturday’s gubernatorial election in Osun State.

In a statement Wednesday afternoon, the police said their investigation revealed that Adeleke, his family and associates connived with some school administrators to allow him sit for the National Examination Council (NECO) in 2017. The candidate was subsequently directed to immediately turn himself in to face prosecution.

Adeleke’s school credentials had come under intense scrutiny since he emerged the candidate of the PDP weeks back. Some of his opponents during the primaries had alleged that he had no credible school certificate and should therefore be disqualified from the race.

That nonetheless, Adeleke went on to become the candidate, and the PDP has continued to back him as its candidate, because according to the party, his results have been found to be genuine and the public should dismiss contrary insinuations.

But whilst the police proceeded to make their case against him, including summoning him for arraignment three days to his election as a governorship candidate, the West African Examination Council reportedly cleared the senator of any wrongdoing.

Adeleke denied all allegations when the police started their investigation into his academic credentials in July, but the police later revealed that they had made arrests and questioned several suspects in the last few weeks.
However, while the implications of the police moves were being pondered on the chances of Adeleke, President Muhammadu Buhari stepped in and stopped Idris from inviting Adeleke before the elections.

A presidential source, who was quoted under the condition of anonymity by a majority of the dailies, said the President had directed that Adeleke should not be invited until after Saturday’s election.

Curiously, Idris has established a pattern in his modus operandi, which more than anything else, often gives him away has having descended into the arena with partisan approach to issues in which the police were meant to be totally neutral.

Another case in sight is his running battle with the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, whom he has continued to harangue even when on many occasions he was unable to defend his actions but would end up in search of scapegoats for his obvious failure.

Even when he has failed on many occasions from getting Saraki into his poorly conceived traps, he would not back off, but continue to humiliate the police with reckless abandon.

His handling of the journalists, who exposed his preliminary report on the sack of former Director-General of the Department of State Security, Lawal Daura as well as the sack of the three officers, who allegedly searched the Abuja residence of Chief Edwin Clark, without clearance did not show circumspection on the part of his leadership.

Indeed, the president has a responsibility to protect the police as an institution than continue to protect the job of one man at collective expense. Idris has so far given more than enough reasons why he is no longer worthy of that office. As the whole world has more than enough reasons he should give way to better leadership, his employer does not think so despite having once disobeyed him before the public.

But the question remains: for how long will the police under Idris continue with their unmitigated misadventure? Perhaps, for as long as Buhari does not see him in the frame of incompetence.