What sin did Abba, the policeman, commit that is worse than the obliteration of a dozen plus three souls executed by his namesake, the sack-proof Minister?
Why Suleiman Abba? The Inspector General of Police who got his men to
besiege the National Assembly, teargas opposition members of the House
of the Representatives, lock out Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal? He was
the man who pronounced cheekily that his say-so determined who had
legitimacy to remain Speaker!
Reuben Abati, Jonathan’s spokesman defended the sack with a predictable line: The President has the powers to hire and fire.
We know that cliché. But we also know that President Jonathan is not
big on sacking. We know he shrinks from firing those who are most
deserving of dismissal. He would protect and cuddle them, as if he was
positively validating their atrocity.
However, we remember that when the luckier Abba orchestrated and
supervised the murder of 15 Nigerians in a job scam that should enter
the Guinness Book of Records as the most subscribed in the world,
President Jonathan didn’t flex his sacking muscle. Jonathan harbored
Moro. And he still harbors him one full year after the bloodshed. The
murderer is still Minister of Interior, the overseer of very agencies,
including the Nigerian Prisons!
So why did President Jonathan fire Suleiman Abba?
Simple answer: Suleiman Abba failed to deliver.
He was an election time IGP. He was hired to twist the men and the
services of the Nigerian Police into the scheme to concoct a victory
for President Jonathan.
Suleiman Abba knew it. He was under no illusion that he had been
tapped to bring crime rate down. He knew he wasn’t the brightest man
for the job. He knew deep within him that he was picked because he
showed the promise of having the ability to lend the Nigerian Police
to a Jonathan’s landslide win.
But what did Abba do few weeks to the election? He launched some code
of conduct for his men. The handbook detailed the nice behaviors the
policeman was required to exhibit around a polling unit. He was to be
civil, polite and alert. He was expected to watch over the integrity
of the voting exercise. Not to act in collusion with some desperate
politicians to sabotage the process.
Somehow, the men of the police seemed to abide by the rules of that
handbook. They did not act as if they were minions of Wadata Plaza.
They were not captured on cell phones, running into some bush with
ballot boxes. They were not sighted thumb printing on behalf of voters
who did not show up. They behaved decently, as though they synced
their election duty with enlightened self-interest. They knew that
many cycles of aiding and abetting grand vote heists have not improved
their lives and livelihood. They acted like they were as hungry for
CHANGE as other folks elsewhere. This is one of the reasons why
And that is why President Jonathan pushed Suleiman Abba into the sack Lagoon.
I know this looks vindictive. It’s bad optics. Not exactly an act that
should emanate from a gentleman who used a one minute telephone call
to his rival to graciously concede defeat and secure for himself
statesmanship, even charming admirers to imagine him a contender for
the Nobel Prize for Peace. But there is a part of every human that has
an appetite for revenge.
When President Jonathan bypassed other higher ranked officers to
appoint Abba, it was done in the understanding that a sense of
gratitude would obligate the lucky chap to pay back. Both Jonathan and
Abba knew the favor put Abba in debt. Abba was supposed to do
everything he could to make sure the man who appointed him wins his
re-election bid. Abba did not do anything substantial to influence the
outcome of the process. This is why President Jonathan felt bitter.
Jonathan must have said words to this effect to himself, ‘’ if I am
going down, that guy is going down too: And he is going down before I
In his widely acclaimed novel, Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
described the implications of a royal death in an effete Igbo milieu.
He told of how a dead king was never committed to the grave alone. The
dead king was provided some company. Some people had to die because
the king died. Something like a transition entourage.
These are Goodluck Jonathan days; not those pre-colonial days. But the
loss of a king still produces casualties. And head hunting still
follows political deaths, as a matter of course.
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu