Written by Yusuf Alli
There were indications yesterday that the Presidency is unhappy with the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Suleiman Abba, for alleged security and protocol breaches.
Some forces in government have started mounting pressure on President Goodluck Jonathan to drop the IGP, but the President was said not to be interested in taking any disciplinary action against Abba.
It was learnt that Jonathan has made up his mind to leave the fate of the IGP to the incoming administration.
Investigation revealed that there had been disquiet in the Presidency over certain steps Abba took during the recently concluded presidential election and since Jonathan conceded defeat to the President-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
Some forces in government were disturbed that with the exception of Rivers, Delta, Cross River, Ekiti, Akwa Ibom and the entire South-East region, the Nigeria Police did not act the election script written for the force in strategic states like Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Borno, Kaduna and Kwara.
The IGP was said to have instructed the Divisional Police Officers in Lagos to comply with the directive of the Commissioner of Police in Lagos and not any Assistant Inspector-General of Police.
It was gathered that upon the ‘failure’ of the police in the strategic states, the Presidency was angry that the IGP was at the presentation of certificate of return to the President-elect by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, contrary to the norm.
The Presidency had also noted that Abba was at the airport at a time to receive the President-elect.
But a source said that what really “pissed off” the Presidency was the alleged leakage of the presidential directive to redeploy Assistant Inspector-General Tunde Ogunsakin from Rivers State on the eve of April 11 governorship poll.
The covert decision was said to have been taken in the Presidency by three officials, including the IGP.
A reliable source said: “There is disquiet in the Presidency on whether or not to drop the IGP for certain missteps. Some forces are angry that the police failed to back the status quo in some states during the recently-concluded poll.
“I think the IGP chose a neutral position and opted to live up to his oath of office during the general election.
“The IGP’s presence during the presentation of certificate of return to Buhari left many presidency officials dazed because it was alleged not to be within his official “mandate.”
“The presence of the IGP at the National Collation Centre with Buhari was rated as a partisan move and a provocative initiative.
“Some forces in the Presidency believe that Abba should be asked to step aside. The leakage on the redeployment of AIG Tunde Ogunsakin from Rivers State on the eve of April 11 governorship poll has fueled the demand for IGP’s sack.”
It was however learnt that the President is not disposed to the exit of the IGP.
Instead, he was said to have left the fate of the IGP and service chiefs to the President-elect.
Another source added: “The President might not bow to the demand by some forces to drop the IGP because he is not a vendetta person. He has decided to leave the fate of the IGP and other service chiefs to his successor.
“The fact that a former President sacked some public officials few days to his exit does not mean that Jonathan would follow in his footsteps.”
A police source said: “You see, the IGP made sure that the police force was non-partisan throughout the election period, and this was a departure from the practice in 1983, 1993, 2003, 2007 and 2011 polls.
“Naturally, some government officials, governors and politicians will not be happy at all. This IGP is professionally inclined and he has been enforcing this.
“If you look at his antecedents even when Rivers State was volatile, he made sure that he was non-partisan. Up till today, the people of Rivers State still celebrate Abba for his professionalism.
“He remains loyal to the President irrespective of the outcome of the election. To the best of my knowledge, he has not eroded the confidence reposed in him by the President. He keeps official secrets and he has never leaked any. Since he came on board, signals or information flow had become more compact.”
Responding to a question, the source added: “How can any IGP ignore the President-elect at any airport? Is Gen. Buhari not a former Head of State? Does he not deserve respect as an elder statesman? All these issues they are raising are petty.”
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