UMAR BAYO ABDULWAHAB writes on the controversies trailing the recent redeployment of a new commissioner of police to Kwara state
The struggle for dominance between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara state is daily assuming different dimensions with the two major parties in the state, exploring all possibilities to be in control.
The latest rivalry between the two major political parties, was renewed with the recent changes in the police hierarchy which affected the erstwhile Commissioner of Police, Agboola Oshodi-Glover who handed over the baton to Ambrose Aisabo.
About 24 CPs were affected in the exercise which the police echelon strictly described as ‘routine.’
But no sooner than the announcement was made, the state chapter of APC, addressed a press conference where it raised an alarm that the new CP was posted to the state at the instance of the PDP to change the political equation in the state in its favour. The party’s state interim chairman, Ishola Balogun- Fulani, claimed Asibodu was redeployed to the state to do the PDP bidding.
The party, he maintained, is ready to work with the police in the discharge of their constitutional roles even as it urged its members to be law abiding. He nonetheless insists the posting had ulterior motives.
“We have it on good authority that the new Commissioner of Police has been allegedly posted to Kwara state at the instance of the frustrated members of the PDP in the state and to fulfill the PDP’s agenda of intimidating our members and frustrating our constitutional rights to free association, freedom of expression and peaceful assembly” the APC chairman alleged .
Apparently, apprehensive of the roles played by the former Rivers CP, Mbu Joseph Mbu in the political crisis of the state, the APC warned that it will resist any attempt to use security agencies to gag its members from exercising their constitutional rights.
Balogun-Fulani further said: “Finding himself in a state that is almost 100% APC, it is tempting for the new CP to want to do bidding of his masters in Abuja and their errand boys here in the state. The police may choose to be partisan and be used to intimidate our members and in the course disturb the peaceful atmosphere in the state.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let me state that unlike other states with doubtful political majority, Kwara state, as demonstrated earlier and historically, is without any iota of doubt fully under the control of the APC leadership.”
“We will therefore resist any attempt to use the Nigeria Police or any other security agency to curtail our constitutional rights in favour of the PDP.
“Neither will we accept any partisanship or bias for any political party by the Nigerian Police or other security agencies in Kwara state, who have been hitherto contributed immensely to Kwara State’s status as a State of Harmony.
“We, therefore, urge the new Commissioner of Police to choose the path of honour and remain professional and honourable during his stay in our state. We wish him a peaceful stay in Kwara state,” the APC pleaded.
Also lending their voices to the development, traditional chiefs under the aegis of the Ilorin Emirate Magajis and Alangua Forum as well as traditional title holders in Kwara state, admonished the new CP to discharge his duties with utmost professionalism and shun partisan politics.
The Ilorin chiefs who had earlier declared their supports to the leader of the APC in the state, Senator Bukola Saraki, however assured the new CP of their maximum support and cooperation.
The traditional rulers enjoined the new CP to emulate his predecessor, who they described as a genuine and peace loving police chief. They called on all law abiding people in the state to cooperate with the police and other law enforcement agents in sustaining the peace and security in the state.
They stated their positions in a statement jointly signed by the forum’s chairman, Alhaji AbdulWahab Sanni who is the Alajagusi of Ajagusi and the vice chairman, Alhaji Saliu Woru Mohammed, who doubles as the Mogaji Nda of Ilorin.
And upon resumption, the new police boss in the state, struggled to convince the populace that he was not I the state for any hatchet job. In his maiden press briefing at the state police headquarters, Ilorin, Aisabo who denied the APC ‘s allegation said: “It is not even possible for me to change the political equation in the state because I am not a politician.
“My posting to the state is routine. There is no ulterior motive about it. So let me correct that impression my people have about my deployment to Kwara State. The deployment affected 24 Commissioners of Police so my own is not an exception.
“Also the insinuation that I was brought to Kwara state to help a political party is not true. I am a policeman. I am not a politician.”
Continuing, he declared: “I have never played politics before and I can never play politics. I want to assure you members of the press, that I am not going to create any political debacle in this state.
“I will be fair. I will allow God to guide my actions. I will be firm. I will not tolerate political rascality and political violence. Any act of political violence will be ruthlessly dealt with by this command.”
” I will be fair to all the registered political parties. My own is to maintain law and order in Kwara State. That is why I was posted here. I cannot be partisan. I will not support any political party.
“Whatever I do will be guided by the Constitution of the country, the rule of law and the police regulations. That is what I am going to abide by. So assist me in telling members of the public that I will be fair to every person,” the CP said.
He promised conveying a meeting of all registered political parties in the state to brief them on the need to play politics according to the rules, warning against pre-mature campaigns.
He warned: “I don’t want violence, political thuggery, destruction of lives and property, irresponsibility, people making inflammatory statement.
“Every game has its rules ,I expect everyone to play the game according to the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended) especially section 199 (1);INEC said campaign will be allowed as from 16th of November this year.
“So I expect responsible politicians to abide by that. We are not saying they should not hold meetings but time for campaign is not ripe.
“If they want to hold any meeting they must write the police so that we can provide security, any meeting they are holding the police must be aware of it”
Certainly, the latest redeployment by the MD Abubakar-led police, analysts believe, is more than just being routine. But will Aisabo live up to his promise?