Rivers CP Insubordination: Beyond Amaechi-Jonathan Feud
By: Ifeanyi Izeze
How else can what is going on in Rivers state be described if not to say that indeed we are going through very strange times in Nigeria? What is happening in the state’s internal security forum goes well beyond the existing feud between the Amaechi and Jonathan War Canoe Houses even though it is well known that “Oga Madam at the top” is not holding back at deploying the assault paddle of her attacking forces. However, the naivety of the new Police commissioner Mbu Joseph Mbu only compounded matters as he unintelligently gave himself out as playing out a script handed to him by “Abuja.” Of course he got a script but the question is: from where? I will tell you!
What were even the issues: Rivers state governor as he should do raised alarm over the rising spate of crime particularly armed robbery and kidnapping in his state. And he attributed this to the displayed uncooperative disposition of the new State Police Commissioner whom he alleged preferred to relate with “Abuja” on sharing vital secret security information.
And in what would have been his explanation to the Governor’s alleged worsening security situation in the state and the uncooperative attitude of the police, Mbu tried to play smart by keying into the dirty anti-Amaechi politics by adopting the exact words and expressions deployed by Amaechi’s Abuja political enemies: Our governor is very tyrannical, he is a dictator. He wants everybody to say yes sir to him and I said I will not say so. I am a professional. The police commissioner, who has had a frosty relationship with the governor since his posting to the state last April, said his problem with Amaechi stemmed from his (Mbu’s) refusal to bend the rules. And this is where the real issue lies-bending the rules.
His words: “One issue I have had with the governor is who chairs internal security meetings in the state. He (governor) said we should rotate it; but I said no, there is a letter from the National Security Adviser (NSA) on this. I told him if my predecessors did not do what was right, I won’t follow them. The Commissioner of Police is to chair the forum and assume responsibility to brief the governor. I told him the IG has so many sources of information. I told the governor that my loyalty to him is total.
“We have never held a formal security meeting in this state since I came.
There has never been any formal letter written to convene security meeting in this state since I came. Letters for such meetings go to the security commanders indicating that there will be a security meeting with the governor or his deputy. Attached to the letter are the agenda and the minutes of the previous meeting. I ask the governor to produce such.
“What the governor does is to ask his security officer to call the Commissioner of Police for a meeting. These people are below the rank of a DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police). I stopped them recently from calling my line because there are channels of communication. There is an Inspector General of Police’s directive that after every Security Council meeting details must be sent by hand to the IG.Ã¢â‚¬ Those who know would agree that to a great extent, the scene in the Rivers state internal security forum is also playing out at the National Security forum- and it all borders on supremacy tussle and definition of assignments amongst the various security agencies worse between the State Security Service (SSS) and the Police. Remember the controversy in the Police headquarters bombing and the assassination of Adams OshiomoleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s personal aide. In the two cases (which is just a few in the fleet) both the police and the SSS have a completely different story and suspects simply because each agency thinks it is their duty to perform certain functions.
Now sentiments on Mbu’s naivety and politicization of his police functions aside, the Police Chief raised some important issues that were clear pointers to my earlier assertion of a power tussle. These include convening of formal security meetings; mode of invitation; chairmanship of such meetings; and the issue of reporting proceedings in the state back to the Inspector General. Of course who does the IG report to? Is it not the”Oga at the top”who is widely believed to be the cause of Amaechi’s ongoing political travail?
From the conduct of the Police Commissioner, he was acting on the orders of his boss in Abuja neither to attend any internal security meeting chaired by the SSS nor submit/implement decisions from such meetings. So he was instigated to outrightly work against whatever decisions that comes from such meetings or at best maintain absolute nonchalance to issues of ensuring security of lives and property in the state.
But Amaechi did not understand this because he did not know and so as the governor and Chief Security Officer, he was worried by the deteriorating security situation in his state which he publicly voiced.
We shouldn’t let sentiment becloud our views and principle towards what is right.
The truth is that, the now obvious mutual distrust between the governor and the police chief is only going to work against the interest of the ordinary people of Rivers state as these two men can never work together under any guise to serve the interest of the citizens of the state. By his utterances, it is not likely that Amaechi will be able to have the cooperation of the Police Commissioner on the critical issue of securing lives and property in the state.
As Chief Security Officer of the state, Amaechi was well within his rights to determine how, when and where internal Security Council meetings are held in Rivers state. And the commissioner of police owes it a duty to cooperate with the governor rather than competing for space in the media. Does it not occur to the Police Chief that insulting the sitting governor and calling him names on news media, breaches protocol and professionalism which he claims to parade? Mbu should have known better just to face his police duties and not join issues in the ongoing dirty politics in the state.
If there has never been any formal security meeting since he assumed duty in Rivers state, so when and where did he ask the governor about who chairs the internal security meetings-at a formal or informal forum? You see these people are not telling us the whole truth.
If the CP alleged no formal meeting has been convened since he assumed duty, so what was he relating to his IG in Abuja which he justified he has been doing?
Does the governor have an Assistant Inspector General or a Deputy Inspector General in his security team at the Government House that will inform/invite the Commissioner before he will attend a meeting and call it formal?
Public apology by the Police Commissioner should do for Amaechi on this matter but it has to be through a similar world press conference.
The Police Commissioner is not a politician and should not act as one. Now, the Governor should always watch his back. Remember what happened to Bola Ige in Oyo state, Chris Ngige in Anambra amongst other such cases. When someone who is supposed to provide you security is now calling you names, you had better watch it because if anything happens to Amaechi even from a Ã¢â‚¬Å“third-party hackerÃ¢â‚¬ under the present circumstances, the SSS will blame the Police and vice versa and at the end nothing will happen as in the Bola Ige and Oshiomole’s aide cases.
Beyond the face value, it really portends serious dangers for our democracy that a state Commissioner of Police should have the temerity to call a world press conference to insult and abuse the elected governor and chief security officer of the state he is serving? Are we not condoning indiscipline in this country just because some people have utter dislike for Amaechi and some other governors? In police parlance, is this not mutiny that requires the officer to “advice himself.” Today it is Amaechi, a perceived political enemy of the sitting President, however, the danger is that tomorrow, the Inspector General of Police may publicly insult and abuse the President (it may not be Jonathan) and equally decide to pull at cross purposes on national security matters. And from there we may get to a situation one day that the Police would stage a coup to topple government. Me I dey laaf oooooo!
IFEANYI IZEZE is an Abuja-based Consultant and can be reached on: [email protected];