by Olajide Omojolomoju and Rotimi Fadeyi
…embrace professionalism, APC tells new IG
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday met with the new Acting Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, who replaced Suleiman Abba that was relieved of his post on Tuesday as Inspector General of Police.
Speaking after meeting with the President, Arase told State House correspondents that he would ensure a level playing ground in the remaining elections in the country, as personnel of the force and materials were being deployed to ensure peaceful election. Supplementary elections are scheduled for Abia, Taraba and Imo this Saturday.
“Well, first and foremost, we still have some elections in about three states and we are doing some massive deployment of men and material and that is why I came to brief the C-in-C, I can assure you that we are going to have a level playing ground for people who want to vote on election day,” he said. He, however, warned that those who may want to foment trouble would be decisively dealt with.
Meanwhile, All Progressives Congress, APC, has asked Arase to approach his new task with high level of professionalism, while shunning the kind of crass partisanship that has dragged key national institutions of state, especially the police, into the partisan fray.
APC in a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, advised the acting IGP to learn from the fate that befell his predecessors, who under their watch turned the police into the enforcement arm of the ruling party, thus allowing the institution to be wantonly used to thwart the will of the people and act in ways negating its constitutional mandate of maintaining law and order.
Saying that irrespective of the reasons for his appointment as acting IGP at this time, Arase must realise that he would be judged solely by the direction he takes the police, which is one of the most abused national institutions by those who have been at the helm of the nation’s affairs since the return to democratic rule in 1999.
APC said: “We do not know the reason for the sack of the immediate past IGP, but we have read, just like other Nigerians, that it might not be unconnected with the role he either played or did not play in the last general elections.
“What we do know is that the police force under the former IG was a major actor in the massive rigging and violence that characterised the elections in some parts of the country, especially in Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto and Gombe states, just to mention a few.”
Mohammed said Arase faces perhaps, the biggest test in his new capacity with the supplementary elections coming up in Abia, Imo and Taraba states, adding: “We do hope he will not allow the police under him to be used to thwart the will of the people in those states or to give cover to those who will engage in violence.
Any IG worth his salt does not need to pander to the president or the ruling party in carrying out his duties. All he has to do is to make sure the police carry out its statutory duties in accordance with the law and without fear or favour.”
Saying that APC does not believe the rumours making the rounds that Arase was appointed to facilitate victory for the PDP in those supplementary elections, the party said that whatever may be the reasons for his appointment, he should realise that Nigerians have now reached a level where they will not allow anyone, whether in uniform or not, to either prevent them from exercising their franchise or to collude with politicians to ensure that their votes do not count.
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