The recently concluded elections of March 28 and April 11, provide another vista for the assessment of the Nigeria Police in election duties. In a dramatic departure from previous elections, the Nigeria Police came out with an almost clean bill. They were widely commended for their professionalism and attention to duties.
However, three reports: one on April 11, and two, after the April 11 elections present a scenario for discourse because they inextricably, but perhaps inadvertently connect with Mr. Mbu Joseph Mbu, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2 covering Lagos and Ogun States.
In the Sun Newspaper of April 11, one Chioma Igbokwe reported what she termed as drama in the Lagos Police Command where AIG Mbu had gone to assume election duties on Friday April 10. The report is a recipe for four case studies:
Case Study No. 1: Chioma presented AlG Mbu in the opening paragraph of her report as a rebellious officer who shunned the IGP’s posting to Ogun State in preference for Lagos State.
Case Study No. 2: The report presented Mbu as lawless, or worse still, a brigand. Listen to this: “The Commissioner of Police, Kayode Aderanti was said to be at a security meeting when his office was invaded.” (emphasis mine)
Case Study No. 3: Chioma did not witness the “drama,” herself because, according to her report she made efforts to get the Lagos State Police Command PPRO, DSP Kenneth Nwosu on phone to comment on the incident but he did not.
Case Study No. 4: Chioma contradicted herself when she admitted in the report that Mbu’s redeployment to Ogun State on Thursday April 9 was later cancelled on Friday April 10, by the Inspector General of Police. However, she claimed that this was due to instructions from the ruling party, PDP.
We shall return to Chioma shortly.
The second report involves Chief Olisa Metuh, National Publicity Secretary of the dethroned largest party in Africa, the PDP. Olisa Metuh, speaking for the National Leadership of his party claimed in a statement that security agents manipulated results in favour of the APC in the guber polls in Lagos. Vanguard Newspaper, April 14, at page 14.
Again, we shall return shortly to Olisa.
The third report is a clear contradiction of Olisah Metuh’s position. This one is from the APC Spokesman in Lagos, Mr. Joe Igbokwe. In the highly verbose “Thank you” statement, Igbokwe appreciated Lagosians for renewing their confidence in the APC by voting for Akinwunmi Ambode, its guber candidate.
Igbokwe did not appreciate the conducive atmosphere presented by the security agencies in Lagos State for the elections, he rather decided to uncharitably take a swipe at them. Listen to him: “If Police, Army, Department of State Service, DSS, and other security agencies were the determining factor, PDP would have won the presidency and governorship in Lagos.”Vanguard Newspaper, April 14, at page 8
You do not need to go far to see that the stories of Chioma Igbokwe and Joe Igbokwe (both relations) are coming from the same stock. But in the words of the late Sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, “You do not need to go behind a signature to ask for who wrote a petition,” Chioma will be answerable to her conscience for her report.
As for Olisa Metuh and Joe Igbokwe they are the archetypical politician. According to Mr Ray Ekpu, the erudite Nigerian Journalist and Publisher, in one of his articles, CONSTITUENCY UNLIMITED:
“A man will give you a thunderous thank you if you tell him how nice his suit is even when he knows that it looks like what Abraham Lincoln threw into the garbage can several years ago. A woman will give you a giant tooth paste smile if you tell her how beautiful she looks, even when she knows that her face looks like she had just had a headlong collusion with a fast moving train. But the politician, they are a different kettle of fish, they will receive their fair share of praise, but like Oliver Twist, they keep asking for more.”
In the words of Charles de Gaulle, one-time President of France: “A politician is someone who says what he does not believe himself and he is surprised when others believe him.”
It is in the strength of the foregoing that I consider the comments of Olisah Metuh and Joe Igbokwe concerning the elections in Lagos State as meant for the garbage heap.
Joe Igbokwe was the one who issued a warning when Mbu was transferred from Zone 7 to Zone 2, that the top flight cop was on a presidential mission to rig election for PDP in Lagos State. If he still holds that position after the elections, then he certainly belongs to the past and has been rejected by the present. The records have vindicated Mbu as a just and upright cop. Lagos has never been so peaceful during elections, as witnessed in 2015. And elections in the State have never been more credible.
In the Sun Newspaper of Friday April 10, at page 14, Mr. John Nwankwo, a Lagos based security analyst was quoted as saying, “As a security analyst, I knew that trouble was looming during the elections but Mbu tackled it, if not for the fierce warning to hoodlums and the adequate security provided by Mbu, Lagos would have been set on fire.”
Olisa Metuh’s comment, is for me the unkindest cut. Mbu has suffered so much maligning because of the PDP and the President. Chioma Igbokwe’s report of April 11, was a subtle way of discrediting Mbu, by linking his posting to the influence of the PDP, yet a spokesman of a Party that could not manage power entrusted to it could blame security agencies for her failure. Even though Mbu was not mentioned in that report, he superintended the Lagos elections and the swipe at security agencies by both Metuh and Igbokwe was to call Mbu’s unassailable integrity to question.
Now let us return to Chioma Igbokwe. Her report clearly shows that she is not grounded on the crime or security beat.
Reporting crime or security goes beyond the rule of the thumbs. It requires tact, maturity and patience, which Chioma clearly lacks. The Police have a disciplined organizational structure. The buck ends on the table of the IGP and he has the final say. Mbu, just like other AIGs did not mind their temporary “demotion” for election duties. He was redeployed to Ogun State and he gladly accepted to go. Was he supposed to question the IGP who cancelled the posting and asked him to remain in Lagos?
In the same vein, Aderanti, the Lagos State CP was posted to Lagos Central for the elections. It was Friday. The election was to hold in less than 24 hours. Any officer worth his salt will proceed to his new beat as directed and take command immediately. Whether Mbu took his chair to Aderanti’s office, or called for the redeployment of Assistant Commissioners is clearly within his discretion and did not call for a reporter insulting him.
AIG Mbu duly held a conference with the Area Commanders, DPOs, HODs, etc. in his characteristic democratic manner, he asked them if they were comfortable to carry out election duties without compromise that could risk their jobs. They all answered in the affirmative and he allowed them. Command CPs, Area Commanders and DPOs are under the Zonal AIG and there is no way they can disobey him because he has powers to query and punish them.
What is controversial about obeying orders from a superior officer, or issuing orders to subordinates? While in the Principles of Community Policing, the Police have always cultivated partnerships, the choice of language by reporters could destroy the collaborative spirit so desperately needed by the Police for nation building.
MBU AND ELECTIONS
Mbu, apart from being a top brass in the Police, is an election veteran. He supervised elections in Potiskum and Gashua, in 1997 and 1999, considered as the flash points in Yobe State. He was adjudged the best. He supervised election in Suleja and Kontagora, considered as critical flash points in Niger State in 2003 and came out in flying colours. As Commissioner of the Police Mobile Force in 2012, he supervised the governorship elections in Edo State which was adjudged as the freest and fairest. He promised the people of Lagos State a fair deal. And he delivered on his promise. The new strategy of sending AIGs to supervise States considered to be volatile, while Commissioners were sent to Senatorial Zones was borrowed from Mbu because it worked in Lagos during the presidential elections of March 28. He had deployed the CP Railways to Lagos Central, CP Western Ports to Lagos West and CP Federal SARS to Eastern Zone. The result was unprecedented in the history of elections in Lagos State. But those who did not understand the motive of this strategy saw it as whittling down the powers of Aderanti, the one Station Command CP was posted to Lagos only September 2004.
No organization or individual is infallible. We should commend the Police when they do well; with the same gusto we condemn them when they go astray.
As for AIG Mbu, history has a way of vindicating the just. In the reckoning of the masses, he has had a superb outing as CP Police Mobile Force, Oyo State Command, Rivers State Command and FCT Abuja. He was AIG Zone 7 before his posting to Zone 2 Lagos. The streams of encomiums following the success of the recently concluded elections in Lagos State will forever eclipse the Babel of cacophony from his detractors.
Yong can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org