Former Inspector-General of Police, IGP, Suleiman Abba, has opened up on what transpired between him, former President Goodluck Jonathan; Muhammadu Buhari and former Speaker of House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal.
The former IGP said there were many allegations against him on the role he played during the 2015 general elections but that they were false and baseless.
He said he wished his accusers “could give me examples or instances that such things happened. Some of them alleged that I quickly switched loyalty after Jonathan lost the election.”
Speaking with Sun, the former police boss said it was Jonathan that ordered him to withdraw the security detail of Tambuwal.
He continued, “That was totally untrue. I will love them to tell me how and when I did that. They should also substantiate claims of hobnobbing with the then President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari. I am a gentleman to the core, a trained policeman who has given his best to the service of Nigeria.
“It is unfair for someone to make such allegation against me. They alleged that I went to the airport to welcome Buhari who was President-elect then.
“Remember that a sitting IGP doesn’t travel alone. He must go with orderlies, escorts and some close senior police officers. So, they should provide videos to justify their allegations.
“Besides I can’t be stupid or careless enough to go to the airport to welcome a President-elect when there is a sitting President. I have worked in the Presidential Villa for years and I have mastered presidential protocols and I also know and appreciate the powers in the office of the president.
“So, it will be unfair to say that someone like me that knows the truth and protocols will violate it. I was in charge of Mobile escort in the Presidential Villa for one year between 1994 and 1995. I was later appointed Aide de Camp (Police) to the then First Lady.
“I held that post for four years. That gave me good exposure and knowledge of the Presidency. So, anyone that accused me of going to welcome the President-elect when there was a sitting president was being economical with the truth.
“However, I must confess that I was at the International Conference Center, Abuja, when the then President-elect was being presented with the Certificate of Return. I attended that event because it was the peak/climax of the 2015 electoral exercise. I was duly invited to that occasion.
“As a matter of fact, a seat was kept for me right from the point of collation of votes because Electoral Act only recognized the police as regards security.
“I was there to take charge in case of any kind of “Orubebe” incident. I didn’t have to wait for INEC Chairman to call me about any security breach. So, I took precaution and made myself and some of my senior officers available at the event because, at that point, I had lost trust in people around me.
“I must also confess that I visited the then President-elect to congratulate him on his victory at the polls. That was the first time I met him face to face. But I must tell you that it was a common agreement between me and other Service Chiefs. For some reasons, they went without me, so I had no option but to go on my own to congratulate him. I did no wrong in my own interpretation of the scenario.”
On him being attacked by the former administration for refusing to do their bidding, he added, “The truth about the entire thing was that a certain political party won an election and another political party lost an election. We (the Service Chiefs and the IGP) had privileged information few hours after the election was concluded that the then President Jonathan had lost that election. Even Jonathan himself knew that he had lost the election. His Principal Secretary was in a meeting where the entire electoral process was being reviewed bit by bit. Immediately it was clear that Jonathan had lost the election, his loyalists began to plot how to disrupt the process. That was when I cautioned them to be careful so they don’t put Nigeria into flames. I suggested that they should allow the process to conclude to avoid crisis that would lead to the death of people. That was when they calmed down and began to accept defeat.
“Remember that whenever things have gone wrong, the people in power choose who to see. Besides, they never believed in me. They were never satisfied with my approach to the elections. Shortly before the elections, I was queried by the Presidency for asking the State Commissioners of Police to be civil, impartial and non-partisan in their handling of the elections.
“I also received a communications from some senior government officials seeking to know why I asked the CPs to be impartial and non-partisan, instead of asking them to help their party win the elections.
“I was made the chairman of the election security committee and I knew the importance we attached to the election. However, I gave the directive at the regular meeting of police senior officers. But the government officials queried why I should give such directives.
“They suggested that I do it individually instead of collectively. Meeting and interaction of police officers are regular exercise in the police service whether during elections or not. It is always an opportunity to constantly remind the officers of the need to be professional in their conduct.”
On Tambuwal, he said, “I didn’t act alone in that saga. The then president gave us the assignment to withdraw the security details of the then Speaker. The assignment was not given to me alone. Myself and the Director General of the State Security Service (SSS) were given that assignment.
“I tried as much as I could to convince the president to, at least, allow me retain the ADC of the ex-Speaker, but I couldn’t succeed. Nigerians didn’t really understood what happened at that time and that was because the information available to the public was limited. My happiness was that I never allowed myself to be used by people in the corridors of power.”