Following the controvercial sacking of Suleiman Abba, Nigeria’s inspector general of police, Ibraheem Dooba, a renowned Legit.ng guet author, claims there's no smoke without fire and makes an overview on Abba's top misdeeds before Nigerians and President Jonathan in particular.
Commenting on the commendation from James Entwistle, the US ambassador to Nigeria, Sulaiman Abba, the disgraced former inspector general of police (IGP), said the credit for the peaceful election should go the junior police personnel. However, he also said something that drove President Jonathan to a manic rage. He said the success could also be attributed to the clear directive he gave to his officers to be civil, nonpartisan and unbiased.
The most patriotic and benign, right? Wrong. President Jonathan has expected the IGP to be partisan. It’s the PDP’s police force after all as Sulaiman Abba himself has demonstrated a lot of times. “It is unbelievable that the IG could dare to publicly announce how personnel were instructed not to be partisan or biased despite the promise he made to the presidency and the resources he was given,” Premium Times quoted an administration official.
The next day, Abba was sacked through Twitter in a deliberate attempt to humiliate him. Because there was no direct letter from any government official informing him of his dismissal, Abba kept on working in his office for 10 hours after he had been fired.
Sins against Nigeria
But Nigerians should not forget so soon: Abba has committed a lot of infractions against Nigeria and Nigerians. Let's recall just the top ones.
October 30, 2014, withdrawal of security detail: The former IGP gave a directive to withdraw the police security detail attached to Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, speaker of the House of Representatives, following the speaker’s defection to the APC.
Rubbing it in: Immediately after, Sulaiman tried to defend his actions by accusing the former speaker of violating Section 68 (1) (g) of the 1999 Constitution. He claimed Tambuwal was no longer the speaker and therefore not entitled to the police security detail. Nigerians, including the victim, Tambuwal, wondered if Sulaiman Abba was a court of law for making that call.
Inability to stick to the law: After Mr Tambuwal had obtained a court order for his security detail to be returned, Mr Abba disobeyed and insisted his earlier interpretation of the law was better than the court's opinion. Surprisingly, Abba failed to apply the same logic to a similar situation in Ondo state where the Labour Party lawmakers were defecting to the PDP.
Siege on the National Assembly: Under Mr. Abba’s supervision, the police laid siege to the National Assembly in a way Nigeria had never seen. The speaker and the lawmakers turned out to be blocked from entering the chambers. The lawmakers had later to scale the fence before they could hold a session.
August 9, 2014, detention of the opposition members: In November 2014, Mr Femi Falana, a lawyer and human rights activist, cautioned Mr. Abba against the illegal detention of 700 APC members in Osun state on the eve of the governorship election.
READ ALSO: Falana To Abba: You Exhibited Political Bias
Inability to reign in Mbu: Joseph Mbu is an assistant inspector general of police, who, among many infractions, banned the #BringBackOurGirls campaigners from holding their sessions at the Unity Fountain. A high court in Abuja declared the ban illegal. Soon after this, Mbu was promoted to assistant inspector general. Mbu only got a reprimand from Mr Abba when he, following his usual lowbrow script, declared that he would murder 20 Nigerians for every police officer killed during the elections.
Assault against voters’ rights: Before 2015 general elections, Mr Abba had ordered to prevent Nigerian voters from remaining at the polling stations after casting their votes. That time condemnation was unanimous. The INEC, opposition parties, even the PDP condemned Mr Abba for that directive.
Sins against President Jonathan
The IGP started reforming his methods, especially after being put on the spot by Nigerians, including Aisha Yesufu of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign who told Abba in his face the police force was partisan. That happened at Daily Trust Annual Dialogue at Nicon Hilton. While defending his actions, Mr Abba told the gathering that he had published a small booklet to be given to every policeman on duty. Apparently, it was the code of conduct every policemen followed during the elections. That was Mr Abba’s first sin against Jonathan.
Jonathan and his people believed loyalty should be to the president alone. Anyone who sided with the people or the law was immediately isolated and punished. If you couldn’t be loyal to President Jonathan, then you must be working with the opposition. That was their simple logic.
Thus, when Mr Abba envisaged the election in Rivers state would be contentious and accordingly deployed AIG Tunde Ogunsakin to the state, President Jonathan fell into a rage and vetoed Abba by immediately ordering the man out of Rivers.
Finally, when the US ambassador commended Sulaiman Abba for his good conduct during the elections, Jonathan couldn’t bear it any longer.
Mr Abati fired Abba with a tweet at 1.24 p.m. However, by 11.23 p.m., according to Premium Times, Sulaiman Abba still believed he had not been sacked.
All things considered, Sulaiman Abba is nobody’s hero. It’s only hoped that his villainous conduct was cancelled out by his patriotic election duties. I stand united with the US ambassador who has found the conduct of the police worthy of praise. They could have easily partnered with the PDP to rig the elections. And by Nigerian standards, two million votes between the candidates could have been easily rigged, and the PDP could have told the APC, as usual, to go to court.
Dr Dooba is a data scientist, a teacher and a columnist.
This article expresses the author’s opinion only. The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Legit.ng or its editors.