President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the reinstatement of the security aides of Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, had on Tuesday withdrawn Obiano’s security aides on the excuse of providing level playing ground in Saturday’s governorship polls in the state.
But while welcoming the president on arrival Wednesday in Awka for the grand finale of the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship rally, the governor had complained about the withdrawal of his security aides.
A statement by Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, said before departing Awka, Buhari directed the Deputy Inspector General of Police (Operations), Joshak Habila to ensure the return of the governor’s security personnel.
The reinstatement order also followed condemnation by the Senate which asked the IGP to immediately restore the governor’s security aides.
The upper chamber warned of a looming anarchy ahead of the 2019 general elections should the practice continue. It called on Buhari to prevail on the security agents to abide by the rules of engagement and avoid taking sides with political parties or politicians.
Adopting a motion sponsored by the Deputy Senate Minority Leader, Emmanuel Bwacha, the Senate noted that security aides attached to the Senate president, the speaker of the House of Representatives and other aspirants in 2019 maybe withdrawn too.
Citing Order 42 of the Senate Standing Rules, Bwacha said such a move exposes the aspirants to danger.
He said: “When I woke up this morning (yesterday), I read in the papers something that is very worrying, which is that the security aides of Obiano had been withdrawn. The reason they gave in the report is that, they want to give every aspirant a level-playing field in the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State.
“I am not a member of the governor’s political party. But I am a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I need to take a bipartisan approach. If we do not check this trend, in 2019, security aides of every aspirant will be withdrawn.
“It means the security aides of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria will be withdrawn. The Senate president and the speaker of the House of Representatives will also have their aides withdrawn. This is a dangerous sign for 2019. As a Senate, we need to take a position and condemn this,” he said.
Saraki did not allow for debate but told the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, Abu Ibrahim, to “take note of the points raised by Bwacha.”
Not satisfied, another Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmaker, Biodun Olujimi, citing Order 52 of the Senate Standing Rules, insisted that the issue be debated. She warned that if the matter was allowed to slide, it would become a norm in 2019 and aspirants, especially those in the opposition, would be the biggest casualties.
Senate Leader Ahmad Lawan, however, noted it was wrong to assume that the IG acted on the instructions of a higher authority.
He explained that since it has not happened since Buhari came on board, it should be treated as an isolated case.
Saraki condemned the decision of the IGP even as he stressed that it should not be assumed that IGP Idris was ordered to withdraw the police orderlies of the governor.
“This is to show that there is no intention to cover anything up. What is wrong is wrong. This should not be interpreted to mean that anybody in government gave the orders that this should happen,” Saraki said.
The Committee on Police Affairs was mandated to investigate and report back today. It was also urged to ensure that the resolution of the Senate is carried out by the IGP.
Buhari later stormed the campaign venue of the APC governorship candidate, Dr. Tony Nwoye, where he announced that some infrastructure billed for the South east zone are already in the 2018 budget of the Federal Government.
The President debunked the notion that the Federal Government under his leadership has marginalised the South East.
The National Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun called on Anambra people to vote massively for Nwoye and come into the main streams of Nigeria leadership.
He described Anambra State as the gateway of the South East, hence the need for it to come into the mainstream in the scheme of things.
Earlier, the governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha, told the people that Igbo would not continue to stay outside the mainstream.
The first son of the late former Biafra leader, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu who was an All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) chieftain seized the opportunity of the occasion to decamp to APC.
Buhari, who was accompanied by 12 APC governors, arrived Dr. Alex Ekwueme’s Square, Awka abroad Nigeria Air Force aircraft marked NAF-540 at about 1.20 p.m. and departed at about 5.25 p.m.