The All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged the newly-appointed Acting Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, to approach his new task with a high level of professionalism while shunning the kind of crass partisanship that has dragged key national institutions of state, especially the police, into the murky waters of politics.
In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party advised Mr. Arase 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 that negate its constitutional mandate of maintaining law and order.
The APC spokesman said irrespective of the reasons for his appointment as the Acting IGP at this time, Mr. Arase must realize that he will be judged solely by the direction to which he takes the police, which is one of the most abused national institutions by those who have been at the helms of the nation’s affairs since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999.
“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 characterized the elections in some parts of the country, especially in Rivers, Akwa Ibom Sokoto and Gombe states just to mention a few.
“Now, Mr. Arase faces perhaps the biggest test in his new capacity with the supplementary elections coming up in Abia, Imo and Taraba. 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 carries out its statutory duties in accordance with the law and without fear or favour”, APC said.
The party said it does not believe the rumours making the rounds that the new Acting IGP was appointed to facilitate victory for the PDP in those supplementary elections, saying, in any case, that whatever may be the reason for his appointment, he should realize 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.
“When Mr. Arase’s predecessor issued an illegal order directing Nigerians to vote and immediately vacate polling units during the last elections, he knew he was acting against what the law stipulates, but he chose to do so anyway to please his masters. However, armed with the position of the law, Nigerians simply ignored the illegal order, voted and stayed behind to defend their votes.
“When that unlawful order is placed side-by-side with other acts that ran contrary to the maintenance of law and order under the immediate past IG – including the cover given to the OPC to wreak havoc in Lagos, the illegal withdrawal of the security details of House of Representatives’ Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, whom he (former IG) refused to recognize as Speaker in a clear usurpation of the role of the judiciary, and the shameful role of the police in the Osun Governorship election last year, during which hundreds of APC members were arrested and detained without cause – one will realize to what extent the police was dragged into partisan politics under him.
“But in the end, those for whom the IG desecrated the police had no qualms about humiliating him out of office. We hope Mr. Arase will learn a lesson from this, toe a different path and not run the police like his private company and a tool in the hands of unscrupulous politicians”, it said.