The logic of equivalence puts the Inspector-General of Police at par with the service chiefs in an era of convergence of intelligence, police and the armed forces in security practices across the world. And the service chiefs constitute the state everywhere. They are the referent personnel by which a president or prime minister reifies the state. So, they, the offices they occupy and the men and materials they control form the backbone of the modern state.
This alone makes the decision of who to appoint a difficult decision. It graduates from a difficult to a complicated one in Nigeria of today where claims of being short changed in the composition of the security leadership can be heard everywhere. That of the Igbo nationality seems to be the loudest in the case of appointing a new IGP with the end of tenure of the incumbent.
In this context, it would not be surprising to hear that the tenure of the retiring incumbent IGP has been extended. But, even that would not quash the question “who is the new IGP in Nigeria?’. It has become such an interesting question under a Buhari presidency. It could be that the president has a sound formula by which he decides his appointees or by which they are decided for him. What greets each major appointment has been: nepotism. The grand reception for a recent Daily Trust cartoon which serves as the cover picture of this piece speaks volumes.
Is the president about to disappoint Nigerians this time by appointing an IGP who is not only a crack professional in learning and in character but also responds to current identity sentiments in the land?
There must be something lamentable that an otherwise highly professional or technical office such as that of a police chief in a world of multiple crime typologies can be thought of in ethno-religious terms. Or to think of Nigeria as no more than a community of ethnic constituencies! But, how it happens that people think that way might be a more important question to ask than why they do. It is the ‘how’ question that is always the problem in every modern society. And that is why the appointment of next IGP could be an opportunity to send a message to undermine the nepotism charge pinned by the Buhari regime on itself.
Perhaps, in the very near future, nobody would care whether the IGP is an animist, Christian, Muslim or even a free thinker or whether he comes from Badagry or Bulumkutu. But, for now, it matters.
In all cases, let the appointment bring joy and strength to both the Nigerian society and the Police itself!