On Acting IGP Abba, and the Speaker

What if Acting IGP Suleiman Abba was stirred by fear in the removal of the security details of the Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives?

The acting Inspector General of Police, IGP Suleiman Abba, who became the number one Nigerian police officer around August 1, 2014, just 90 days ago, is not a man of fear, having worked as an Aide de Camp (ADC) to Mrs. Maryam Abacha during General Sani Abacha's iron rule.

Abba knows one thing. The nation lives in fear, and every serving leader in a government position lives in fear, especially when he is still in an acting capacity.

Abba has degrees in History and Law and, as such, he is no fool. He knows it is the responsibility of the court to interpret the law as it relates to the termination of the security details of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. He knows that it is the constitutional duty of the legislature to speak on this national and sensitive matter.

Yet, out of possible fear of the presidency, he convinced his emotions and reasoning as a police officer that he can interpret the law and unconstitutionally act to withdraw the security detail of the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal.

Abba, griped by possible fear and pressure in our society where tensions remain at an all time high, opened himself up to the game of politics.

If he is truthful, he will tell you, “How do I say 'no' to the powers that be, how?”

With this form of compliance to the powers that be, his permanency as Inspector General of Police is almost guaranteed in this government, and he knows this in definite terms.

The acting Inspector General of Police was already prepared for the political outrage that will spread on his person. He knows that this too shall pass!

He is prepared to face fears, but not the paralyzing type like that of the presidential villa which could derail him forever. Possibly, he is already in fear of the new business of police leadership, as he knows that things do not always work out in a professional way in our country.

This is a man of possible principled standing as evidenced by his personal values. He recently stated “...my vision is to make the Nigeria Police Force a leading national, professional, and efficient law enforcement organization. A police force that is dynamic, robust and efficient; one that never rests or abdicates its professional duty...All aspects of our service will be centered on the values of Hard Work, Honesty and Humility, the triple H.”

Abba, in just less than 100 days, defied this great ethos. With the unpredictable nature of this regime, his measure of ethics has been fed with fear and, possibly gripped by fear, his new perspectives on professional leadership has realistically succumbed to the real negative ways of the nation.

Abba may not be alone in this saga, as some in the judiciary may equally act out in fear and succumb to the fear of the powers that be. Let's hope not, as such legal result will raise contempt for the rule of law.

If Abba is really true to expanding professionalism in law enforcement, he must be ready to do the right thing and pay the ultimate price, whatever that may be.

Abba should know that it is not a misdemeanor or felony to defect to another party, as in the case of Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, and in terms of adjudicating or interpreting this matter, he should be aware that this is the responsibility of the court, period.

IGP Abba, remember your recent words on the future of the Nigerian police system. “A police force that is dynamic, robust and efficient; one that never rests or abdicates its professional duty; that studies and analyses what works and what doesn't; acknowledges and learns from its mistakes, and celebrates its victories. This is, indeed, our opportunity to redefine and rededicate our focus on our highest mission, which is to assuredly avail unfailing public safety service to the citizens of Nigeria.” Suleiman Abba, always remember these words!

Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi is a Forensic, Clinical and National Psychologist and a former Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association. [email protected]

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Articles by John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D.