By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
A last minute order that had Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Edgar Imohimi, announced redeployment suspended, may not had served as a good development among police officers within and outside the state, particularly within public domain, after last week incident reported to had claimed lives.
The action, to politicians of bigwigs, who understand the implication, after a drama over office control ensued between Edgar and Acting Commissioner of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, who was earlier directed to take over the command, may be a bad omen for Lagos State chapter of All Progressives Congress (APC) at the forthcoming election.
In their conclusion, the development was evidence that one of the party’s member was deliberately working against Lagos APC to deliver the state to opposition.
Besides, circumstances surrounding last minute change of order as linked to the Force Headquarters in Abuja, was alleged to have been orchestrated by Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, whom was claimed to had monetarily induced immediate past Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris, his successor, Adamu Muhammed, alongside an undisclosed aide of President Muhammadu Buhari, in order to have Edgar return, back to Lagos police command.
As gathered from Nigerian Police Commission, Ambode was said to had visited Abuja on Monday, not for political business as usual, but to perfect the commissioner’s redeployment reversal, and that N500 million was placed on table in exchange for the deal.
It was also learned that the former IGP connived with his successor, the newly appointed police boss, to make the earlier directives un-effective, on learning that his request for tenure elongation was turned down by the president.
Perhaps, investigation by the Guild after a mild drama between Edgar and Egbetokun at the Lagos Command yesterday further revealed that Ambode’s visit to Abuja was not coincidence with Edgar’s appearance at the force headquarter on Monday, but to work out the latter way back to Lagos.
Through the moves, it was discovered that the governor had since after APC primary election in the state, recently, not been on same page with his party and those who campaigned for him to ensure he wins 2015 gubernatorial election.
It would be recalled that Ambode and the commissioner of police relationship was reported, with the latter been alleged of undermining the state security system to favour the opposition.
The raised concerns against the duo were from the role played by Edgar during primary election and that of free for all encounter among hoodlums recorded during Lagos APC campaign flag-off, the situation of which was linked to breach of security at the venue.
In our exclusive report barely a week ago, the Guild reported that both Ambode and Edgar may be actively involved in undermining the party’s efforts to furnish the campaign venue with needed adequate security.
However, mixed reactions among political parties, over yesterday’s development, particularly from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in Lagos, held that Edgar’s redeployment suspension was targeted at aiding electoral manipulation and that the move could put Lagos in bad light during forthcoming election.
Furthermore, they claimed that Edgar may aid violence during election due to his alleged involvement in recent crisis at the Lagos APC campaign flagged off and relationship with Ambode.
For APC members in the state, who separately spoke to the Guild over the action, the embattled commissioner should not be allowed to control police affairs in Lagos and that his return to the state pose danger on lives of people.
A source from the police, who pleaded not to be mentioned considering sensitive nature of the issue, disclosed that Edgar return to Lagos came with price from the state governor, whom he said wanted to retain the commissioner based on personified plans and otherwise moves.
He hinted that the plan to return Edgar to Lagos was perfected after Ambode visited Abuja on Monday and secretly danced to monetary demands of former IGP who had learnt of his tenure elongation denial.
The source added that Idris, who was said to have been lobbying APC national leader, Bola Tinubu, for tenure elongation, backtracked on his earlier directive to redeploy Edgar after Ambode placed on table substantial amount of money.
“The action was as a result of Idris’ expectation that his tenure elongation request would be granted, but met otherwise.
“From what I know, about five people are involve in the process, and Ambode’s fund was shared by Idris, new IGP, and one of the President’s aide.”
Another source from the force headquarters, who also spoke under anonymity, explained that the process leading to Edgar’s redeployment reversal emanated from the presidency in conjunction with Oba of Lagos, Riliwan Akiolu, who was said to have been discreetly supporting Ambode’s moves.
He explained that the plan was to ensure former IGP reverse the order, so as to prevent any suspicion before leaving office, while Muhammed maintains the status quo on Edgar, confirmed to be his course mate, as commissioner of police in charge of Lagos command.
However, a source from Lagos police command indicated that officers from the premises were not satisfied with Edgar’s return and that they believed senior officers at the Force headquarters must have manipulated the process to aid the return.
He stated that some of his colleagues, who had had encounters with Edgar, expressed displeasure after news on the commissioner’s returned filtered in, particularly the superiority display between the commissioner and Egbetokun.
Apart from police personnel within the Command, who expressed displeasure over the action, Lagos APC senior members also condemned the development, alleging Ambode of making moves to deliver the state to PDP.
They alleged that the governor’s body language after suffering defeat during primary election in the state was an obvious indication that he was no longer interested in APC and that he had since been working secretly against the party.
One of the party member from the governor’s office revealed that Ambode had since after his defeat been at par with the state APC and its EXCOs, particularly the party’s governorship candidate, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, whom was reported to had not enjoyed goodwill from the governor.
He stated that the Ambode had embarked on desperate moves to deliver his office to another party since his party, APC, denied him chance to contest for second term
“Some of us have persuaded him to accept the party’s decision and work with Sanwo-Olu. But he refused and promised to fight on.
“From what I know, there are some people who have wrongly been advising him on reasons he needed to retaliate and ensure the party does not retain the seat,” he hinted.
In another revelation, a civil servant disclosed to The Guild that the state governor had intentionally allowed power crisis within state secretariat to linger than expected after refusing to approve funds for procurement of gas to power the Independent Power Project (IPP), forcing civil servants to leave work earlier than expected.
“The governor has done worst than good lately. I do not understand reasons for his actions. He has deliberately shutdown government because what is the essence of the ministry that is opened for operation and yet the staffs do not have power supply to perform their duties.
“The power supply crisis has lingered for over six weeks without solution in sight. This is part of the punishment he felt he can inflict on us.”
Also in the metropolis, a staff of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), hinted that gridlock had returned without any plan from the governor to ameliorate the challenge which could reduced if larger percentage of traffic lights erected across the state functions effectively.
Another top civil servant, who did not want his name in print because he was not authorised to speak, stressed that rather than address gridlock challenge, the governor however directed Vehicle Inspection Officer (VIO), LASTMA, Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) to intensify enforcement machinery across the state.
He said: “85 percent of the traffic lights are down begging for repairs. Also, the streets lights on major and inner roads have malfunctioned. And weeks after, no one is talking about fixing them.
“While we are awaiting plans to address traffic, the governor issued a strict directive to VIO, LASTMA, LAGESC and other enforcement agencies to intensify their activities which can further discredit APC in Lagos.”
In our effort to have clear evidence on the said Ambode’ N500 million and those involve, a reliable source from the APC national leader’s house confirmed the transaction and also listed Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, among people assisting Lagos state governor in working against the party.
He said that leaders from the party were aware of both Ambode and the CP underground countered role against the party but decide to treat it silently and that they may call the governor to order or take necessary action, should he fails to adjust, so as not to allow more damages.
“Tinubu is aware of everything that transpired on Monday in Abuja and he was phoned while Ambode was lobbying with N500 million, to have his friend back to Lagos”.
“Listed of the people within the police, including the former IGP, the new and another person from villa, and others involve, got to him before the deal was completed”, he added.