By Ezeocha Nzeh
Renewed call for the immediate sack of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Ibrahim Idris emerged yesterday as eminent leaders of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum rose from their meeting to demand for his immediate sack.
The forum, which expressed worries in what they described as the audacious refusal of the police to submit to civil authority, also demanded for the sack of INEC Chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, over doubts of ability of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct an unbiased credible elections in 2019, warning that the duos continued stay in office would spell doom for the country ahead of the upcoming polls.
Members of the forum, which included eminent leaders like Chief Edwin K Clark, Ayo Adebanjo, Chief John Nwodo, Air Commodore Dan Suleiman, Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Yinka Odumakin among others equally slammed President Muhammadu Buhari over what they described as his extreme intolerance to patriots.
In a communique read after hours of meeting on Sunday in Abuja, the Forum said: “We are worried about the latest overheating of the polity as politics continues to overshadow governance in our country with its attendant national embarrassment as professionalism is fast becoming alien in many of our public institutions.
“The latest in the serial assaults on decency in public affairs is the audacious refusal of the police to submit to civil authority and the elastic tolerance of the growing impunity of its Inspector General. It is on record that the IGP has defied the authority of the President when he refused to relocate to Benue State to restore law and order.
“Since the President confessed that IGP ignored his directive, there has been no evidence of his compliance with the order and no sanction has been imposed on him for this. It is little wonder that the Nigerian police under him have become accumulated indication of a source of anarchy in the land..
Continuing, the forum said, “While we recognize and defend the right of the police to investigate crimes and interrogate anyone linked to such no matter their status, we are miffed at the conduct of the police throwing professionalism overboard by conducting media trial of the Senate President and a sitting Governor without having proper investigation of serious criminal allegations.
“The police made itself a butt of practical joke when it flip-flops making three different statements within 72 hours on one case. First, it summoned via media, next it withdrew the summon and ask for a written response within 48 hours, and then restates the summon all over again.
“We have looked at the career record of this IGP and we have not seen any outstanding performance that would make Mr President to keep such a man in such an esteemed office beyond the fact that he was the Commissioner of Police in Kano in 2015 where controversial polls took place and the Resident Electoral Commissioner who would have been questioned if there were challenge to the results was found dead with his wife and two children in a mysterious infemo.
“Discipline has broken down under this IGP as we saw in a policeman who should be guarding a bank in Lagos getting recruited on illegal duty by a politician to Ekiti where he shot at people in a campaign rally .
“There is no patriot who would want the wanton killings that have become daily occurrence to continue unhinged. This country was engaged in a civil war for three years and there were days when there were no deaths recorded.
“Now that there is no war declared, we are packing body bags on daily basis. This is why what is required at the moment is for the Presidency to quickly deal with the issues raised in the resolutions,” the Forum noted.
While demanding the removal of the INEC Chairman, the Forum noted: “As we move towards the 2019 elections, there are accumulated indications that there are efforts to manipulate the results in forth coming election and to rig the elections which Nigerians must be vigilant to and thwart.
“We have fears that INEC may not be able to deliver free and fair election as the bug of nepotism and sectionalism that this administration is renowned for has also eaten up the leadership of the Commission.
“From 1960 till date, only President Muhammadu Buhari has been audacious to pick only people who are either his relation or of the same ethnic stock with him to lead the Electoral Body.
“It is only President Muhammadu Buhari who first appointed his relation from the North West , Mrs Amina Zakari as Acting Chairman when he became President in 2015 before he appointed Prof Mahmood Yakubu from North East, as Substantive chairman.
“Our fear that the current 1NEC chairman may not be able to discharge his functions impartially because of hailing from the same region as the President is not unfounded. We therefore strongly demand the replacement of the INEC chairman with a man/woman of integrity from another zone in order to restore public confidence in the electoral body as it prepares for the 2019 elections,” the Forum noted.