By Emmanuel Umohinyang
One of the issues that dominated the media space towards the end of 2018 was the clamour that the tenure of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, should not be extended.
The clamour, as usual, came from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, whose stock-in-trade has been to kick against every move connected with the Buhari administration.
This time, their cry is that, having served the mandatory 35 years in service, Idris must vacate his position for a fresh hand to take over.
Surely, this is one of the most illogical positions any serious-minded political party or person can take on this very important issue.
Seriously looked at, it only portrays the opposition PDP as a party that either has a hidden agenda or is afraid of the IGP for no just cause.
This is in view of the fact that the issue at hand is not as shallow as the PDP has made it appear.
How come the PDP is viewing the issue as if the moment an IGP spends the mandatory number of years, the occupant’s tenure cannot be extended by a single day?
The truth as far as the matter is concerned is that President Buhari as commander- in–Chief of the Armed Forces is vested with power to extend or not to on the matter.
As the man in the saddle, the ideal thing would have been for the PDP and its allies in the Conference of United Political Parties, CUPP, to wait on the President to decide in line with the law.
What is curious is that some other officials past and present, including permanent secretaries, have enjoyed tenure extension, so why should IGP Idris case be different?
The fact that the scenario is playing out weeks to the general elections has further exposed the antics of the PDP and their collaborators.
It will, therefore, be safe to say that as far as the main opposition party is concerned, the fear of IGP Idris is the beginning of wisdom as far as 2019 is concerned.
Closely looked at, the party is fighting an imaginary enemy as the IGP has demonstrated a high degree of professionalism since his appointment
Though one is not saying that the police under his leadership is perfect, it will not be out of place to say that a great measure of credibility has been restored to the Institution by Idris.
This may be unconnected with the fact that IGP unlike most of his predecessors was trained by the United Nations, UN.
What the PDP cite as reason for the Idris-must-go campaign is indeed laughable and the butt of jokes among serious-minded people.
They alleged that the police may not be neutral in the coming elections as the institution was partisan in Osun and Ekiti States, where the party recently lost elections.
But the truth of the matter is that the police under IGP Idris has been more professional in election duties, so far conducted under his leadership compared with the dark days of the PDP.
Have we seen policeman hijacking in ballot boxes as we saw under elections conducted under the PDP?
Have we seen masked police men on any election duty with intent to instill fear into voters on election say under the current IGP? Never!
Though Idris obviously has his faults like everyone, the facts speak for itself regarding how far he has remodeled the police
Perhaps, for the first time, we are seeing a Police Force that treat Nigerians with respect and courtesy in a very long time.
This IGP has also demonstrated that it will not condone indiscipline by dismissing an official of the F-SARS who recently killed a LASTMA Official in Lagos and others engaged in acts of indiscipline.
Public outcry against Special Anti-robbery Squad, SARS, has also been addressed by the IGP.
Under the latest arrangement, a code of conduct has been reeled to officers as a way of instilling discipline.
These and many more should not be surprising as Idris comes across, as a humane officer in his dealings with his men and the public.
Due to his efforts, the Federal Government recently acceded to the calls for an increase in the wages of the police as a way of motivating the officers and men.
This may have been started by his predecessors, but the fact that the current IGP saw it to a conclusive end by getting President Buhari, to approve the increase speaks volume.
Furthermore, one cannot but be baffled about accusation against the Police high command about changing of commissioners of police in some states
The truth of the matter is that this is an issue that has been largely politicized by the opposition, as it is not the duty of any governor or political party to decide how long a commissioner of police should stay in a state.
The IGP is the one charge of police operations and has necessary information and it is on the strength of such information that he relies on in taking actions.
Instead of making a needless fuss about the tenure of IGP Idris, Nigerians should be calling for an extension of the tenure of the IGP because he has brought sound, workable and credible reforms to the police.
Those fighting IGP Idris are surely fighting the wrong person. If their fear is about the coming polls, the police under his leadership is surely not the issue but the Nigerian electorate whom the PDP serially raped for sixteen years.
*Umohinyang, a social commentator, is based in Lagos