Fresh facts have emerged as to the reason behind the sudden removal of Suleiman Abba as Inspector General of Police by President Goodluck Jonathan.
Presidency sources who claimed to be in the know of the event that led to Abba’s fall on Tuesday, said that First Lady Patience Jonathan played a pivotal role.
Abba, our correspondent gathered, had earlier been summoned by the President to defend himself against allegations by some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders and security chiefs regarding his role during the March 28 and April 11 elections.
Abba reportedly got the push because he rebuffed a presidential directive to make some “strategic moves” that would have favoured the ruling party in the two elections.
One of Abba’s undoing, according to the source, was his reluctance to redeploy the Assistant Inspector General in charge of Zone 6 Tunde Ogunsakin, from Rivers State to Cross River on the eve of the gubernatorial and Houses of Assembly elections.
The aim, it was gathered, was to enable the ruling party perfect what was described as its ectoral heist in some states in the Southsouth.
A source said when it became apparent that Abba was “using delay tactics” in carrying out the order, the First Lady, who was with some of her aides in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, instead of Bayelsa State where the President had gone to vote, called Dr. Jonathan demanded an immediate implementation of the directive.
Miffed by what she considered to be an affront, the First Lady was said to have vowed that Abba would regret his tardiness.
“I can categorically tell you that Abba would have saved his job but for what happened on the eve of the governorship election when we were in Port Harcourt. Could you believe that despite an initial signal from the authorities that Ogunsakin should be moved to Calabar, Abba was playing games with the directives?
“He was apparently not in the mood to comply. The President had to call him directly before the order was carried out, following a complaint made to him by the First Lady.
“I am also aware that the authorities are not happy with his conduct during the presidential election, especially his seeming closeness to the president-elect and his presence at presentation of Certificate of Return to Gen. Buhari in Abuja.
He would have been allowed to stay on till the inauguration of the new government but for ignoring the wishes of the wife of the President.”
Asked if Abba explained his alleged reluctance to obey the order when he was summoned, the source said it would not have mattered as the President considered his action an act of disloyalty to constituted authority.
He said some of the security chiefs had also complained about Abba’s aloofness and “uncooperative attitude” during the presidential election in which he allegedly told his officers, including Assistant Inspectors-General (AIGs) and Deputy Inspectors-General (DIGs), to obey only orders emanating from his office.
Another source said Abba’s conduct since Buhari was elected showed evidence of disloyalty, as he was said to be behaving as if Jonathan’s tenure was over without minding the transition in place.
“His behaviour, especially his appearance at the presentation of certificate to Buhari, was described as ‘officially intolerable.
“There was no evidence that Abba was officially invited to the ceremony by INEC chairman to have warranted his presence. The Presidency felt he brazenly slighted the president and the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“By shifting loyalty to the president-elect, the IGP was alleged by the Presidency to have exposed other Service Chiefs’ careers to a ‘grave risk’ as it would appear to the President-elect as if they are disloyal.
“Jonathan was displeased that the IGP did not show much commitment to the team spirit with which all Service Chiefs went into the just-concluded general elections.
“By the sack, Jonathan offered to show Abba the exit way to prevent him from benefiting from any restructuring by the new administration.”
“The sack of Abba was not about refusal to act a script during the general election because the President was magnanimous to concede defeat but it was sheer lack of loyalty to the system.
“Why will the IGP chart a partisan course? No government can condone this.”
Another source, who spoke in confidence, said the leakage of the redeployment of AIG Tunde Ogunsakin from Rivers State angered the President.
“When there was security alarm from Rivers State on the eve of April 11 governorship poll, the President invited IGP Abba to compare security notes. The interaction was only witnessed by the Special Adviser to the President on Domestic Affairs, Dr. Dudafa.
“It was shocking for the President to read about a ‘presidential directive’ in some newspapers on the redeployment of Ogunsakin.
“The President was taken aback and he asked who could have leaked the information to the press. Neither Abba nor Dudafa claimed responsibility for the leakage.”