Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Idris has been shunning senate invitations. The police boss is getting this all wrong and twisted.
First, a confession: I’m not a fan of the national assembly or its lawmakers. I don’t subscribe to the values of the national assembly.
All through my adult years, I have seen the worst of politicians and lawmakers—enough to make me harbor a disdain for them and cringe at what they stand for.
I have seen them scale gates like thugs, I have seen them show up at a corruption trial of one of their own; while abandoning legislative duties in the process, I have watched lawmakers organise thugs to steal maces. I have watched lawmakers throw punches and chairs at themselves.
In my life time, a lawmaker has jumped out of a moving police truck and federal lawmakers kept their jumbo pay a huge secret until one of them broke ranks and went ‘rogue’ a few weeks ago. The national assembly is intrinsically selfish and self-serving. That is public knowledge now.
Like every other arm or tier of government, we have the worst of us representing the best of us at the national assembly.
But the national assembly isn’t Bukola Saraki, Dino Melaye or Oluremi Tinubu. The national assembly isn’t Ahmed Lawan, Femi Gbajabiamila or Yakubu Dogara. The national assembly is an institution made up of ‘elected’ representatives of the people across the country.
It is this institution that is extending an invitation to Idris for explanations. It is this institution Idris should be honoring with his presence.
I find the police response to the senate on the IGP’s no show, untenable and misguided. According to police spokesperson Jimoh Moshood, Idris hasn’t found time to honour the senate’s invitation because he has been very busy keeping Nigerians safe in Birnin Gwari and elsewhere. Well, he should have communicated all of this to the senate beforehand--publicly--and proffered an alternative date(s).
“The Nigeria Police Force, therefore, owes no apology to any individual or groups in its effort to ensure preservation of law and order and supremacy of the law of the land”, Moshood said.
Well, Moshood is wrong and he should be told so in clear terms. The senate isn’t an individual. It’s an institution. Institutions strengthen democracies the world over. When a police boss begins to disrespect an institution in a democracy, he sets a bad precedence and sends a message that says he is above the law. IGP Idris isn’t above the law.
In a democracy, the rule of law trumps all else. In a democracy, people in uniform obey ‘bloody civilians’. We can’t afford to have it any other way.
The senate invitation to IGP Idris is a selfish one, no less. IGP Idris is only being summoned because the police has made a pastime out of arresting Senator Dino Melaye. But this IGP has shown in the past that he has a problem obeying summons and directives. When President Buhari asked him to relocate to troubled Benue, IGP Idris spent a day in Benue before reportedly handing himself a treat at a birthday party in a neighbouring State.
An angry senate has declared Idris an enemy of democracy. During plenary on Wednesday, Senate President Bukola Saraki called Idris’ posturing a “disrespect to the institution and constituted authority. His persistent refusal is a great danger to our democracy. Therefore, the senate resolved to declare the IGP as an enemy of democracy not fit to hold any public office within and outside Nigeria”.
For once in my adult years, I am going with the very distinguished lawmakers.