Let me begin by looking at the unfortunate nature of my country Nigeria, not because I am happy but simply, it is the truth that we virtually avoided. Today whenever you talk about Nigeria especially among aliens whether here in Nigeria or abroad, what will come to the mind of many is that, a country where corruptions thrive? The kingdom which was fraught with enormous leadership deficit? Or that particular part of the world characterized by anarchism? In some certain instances, Nigerians were seen shying away from disclosing their real identities for the fear of been misjudged. As we speak today, the inefficiency in the educational sector, economic sector, poor governance and many others are voices down to corruptions, POOR ATTITUDE to work and BAD BEHAVIOUR that characterized public and private services in the country.
One thing capable of grounding the country down to its knees is the inability to adhere to the rules of law and enforcement of such legislation. The enforcement of the law is the most important aspect recognized in the constitution of Nigeria. Nigerian Police Force (NPF) is one of the institution responsible for law enforcement in Nigeria, as the apex law enforcement body in the country, NPF is believed by rules and practices to be highly placed and organized, where honesty and integrity become the watchwords, by its nature the men are expected to act and protect with integrity; it is indeed one of the most fundamental values that are anticipated, when employing or hiring personnel to man its activities. It appears like honesty is a common trait to be found among police personnel. The question always in the minds of Nigerians is, if really such trait is indispensable in the police, why is it so hard to find? The answer may be because adhering to the principles and values listed in being an honest, just and ethical is really not easy to sustain in an environment such as Nigeria.
In the history of mankind, integrity and honesty are always rewarded with the highest honour through recognition and appreciations. Michelle Obama once opined that, “We learned about honesty and integrity that, the truth matters… that you don’t take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules… and success doesn’t count unless you earn it fair and square” This popular saying brought me to my starting point, where I intend to look at the sincere depiction of integrity with an example from a fearless, incorruptible and committed police officer, who in spite of all the integrity questions in this highest law enforcement body (NPF) stand to be different, this is no person other than Commissioner of Police Muhammad Wakili (Rtd), the erstwhile Kano police boss.
READ ALSO: IGP, Senators bicker over police reform bill
CP Mohammed Wakili popularly known as ‘CP Singham’ in Kano and other places in Nigeria was officially retired from active services on the 24th May, 2019 on the ground of age and years in service. He hails from Gombe State and holds a Bachelor Degree in Languages and Linguistics from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State. In 1986, he participated in the National Youth Service Corps scheme, and then got enlisted two years later (1988) into Nigeria Police (NPF) as a Cadet Assistant Superintendent. CP Singham as described by his colleagues and associates as well as everyone who works with him in one way or the other is a committed and hardworking police officer and above all patriotic and honest. He has the passion to transform the force right from his childhood as according to one of his friends and a close associate Ardo Chindo, CP Wakili’s passion to join the police was a childhood dream:
“Since we were kids, Yaya Yelwa, as he was fondly called by his younger siblings, a kind, honest and sincere person in all of his dealings. He was very generous as he could give you his last kobo and go empty pocket. He hates dishonesty and hardly backbites a person in his absence. When we were still in secondary school, he confided in me that after his studies he would like to join the police to correct the bad image that characterized the police force”.
It is a well-known fact that CP Wakili has been in the services for over 30 years, though been heard from time to time on the background, but his popularity became known to the entire world on his assumption of duty as police commissioner in Kano state, whether that, has a connection with the position of Kano in the country is another thing, but sure his actions and approach to policing further exposed this lucky diligent and honest officer almost closed to his retirement.
CP Wakili came to Kano, when the state was almost overrun by drugs quagmire and ranked as number one in illicit drugs dealing and addictions in the country, an unfortunate trend that became a serious threat to every Kano citizens especially leaders at all levels. His professional conduct and commitment shown by his war against drug abuse and trafficking with an adequate arrangement to serve an impartial policing help in establishing confidence in the police. His actions and rhetoric on drugs first earn him respect and love from Kano and its environs. On coming he immediately led the onslaught on all the drug addiction syndicates including dealers and the final consumers (users). Despite higher perceived financial offers to him, he was very firm and fearless in disrupting the activities of the logistics of the drug and getting to the roots including end users. He proved to be a strong drugs fighter!
Another serious negative trend in Kano that CP Wakili found on arrival was that, the political atmosphere at that moment was tense, hot and disposed with lots of violence threats and accusations of intimidations with politicians making provocative comments at their various rallies and meeting points. His fearless nature and impartial application of laws with professionalism to everyone built and restored the long-standing reputations of the police and within a short stay the inciting comments, accusations and counter-accusations became almost history in Kano. A political rally began to be held with minimal banditry and where such happen the police commands play their expected role to arrest the situation. These approaches displayed by this gently and an honest police officer saw Kano through by conducting both the presidential and the first-leg of the gubernatorial elections largely peaceful. This feat was largely seen as impossible from nearly all political actors and other stakeholders prior to the coming of CP Wakili.
However, few days to the then scheduled re-run gubernatorial elections in Kano. A news was all over media both prints, online and social media that, the honest police boss was transferred out of Kano on which was believed to be his stand against electoral malpractices by the powers, failure of which culminated into what was then termed as “inconclusive”. A few days after, 1 Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), two AIGs, as well as some police commissioners, were reported to have been deployed to Kano to supervise an election in about 200 ballot units. With the wide publicized deployment of CP Wakili’s superior officers, what comes to my mind and that of many was that, the authority of CP Wakili would absolutely be supplanted by these officers and that Wakili is as equal as no more in the scene. The IG of police who probably took that decision knew much more about their action.
What follows the deployment and displacement of CP’s power and the ‘sham’ re-run gubernatorial elections almost became a general knowledge within the country. The opinions of the majority of Nigerians and most importantly that of Kanawa were that, the first leg of the elections involving the whole 44 local government with over 8000 polling units was more peaceful and successful than the second-leg involving only about 200 polling points. With the wide reported cases of violence with some scores of deaths, it was clear that, CP Wakili was able to deliver better than the combined team of his superiors in terms of policing. This feat was believed to be achieved by Wakili as a result of his honesty, intellectual ability, humility and above all his well-represented integrity!
The displacement was assumed to be made to punish him for his stand to be fearless and impartial to all. He was at several times been punished for been honest, this fate was what makes him almost a dissident police hero in the past. He was widely unwelcomed around the police force and ‘top-notch’ politicians. It was a public knowledge as even the leaders who are supposed to applaud him, were heard at one time condemning him for been professional and impartial. If not a shameless set of leaders, who could in sound morals, condemn a man for taking care of his own integrity and protecting the image of the institution he represents? But this clearly shown, in Nigeria, to be good, honest and professional is a crime! This is Nigeria.
His integrity costs him lots of privileges (including promotions) at several occasions, even at the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) where as a founding officer; he had to work under his juniors. Throughout his career, he has been side-lined, side stepped, supplanted and embarrassed. The superior officers sent to Kano and negated his authority could all be his juniors. Despite all these form of deliberate persecutions, he still remains comical, professional and fearless self. To date people of Kano and even the country at large appear to still have confidence in him. The rate at which he receives goodwill is amazing; he is cheered and treated like a super star everywhere in Nigeria. The CP Singham as he was popularly been called is already household name and an expensive brand in Nigeria today!
CP Wakili’s stewardship in Kano gave me and many other youths hope that within the police force, there are very credible, honest and fearless officers who can be used by any serious government to change the status quo. He retires on the 24h May, 2019 not as IG, DIG or even AIG and not as a millionaire, but with a believed that, “the greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively”.
To CP Wakili, as you retire from active service, keep in your mind that, you have won. The great losers as usual are Nigeria and entire Nigerians who find no moral qualms in punishing the upright amongst them. We will continue to remember you as an officer who inspired us and made us to believe that, honest and professional policemen still exist in Nigeria. You will continue to be remembered as a meticulous police officer who bluntly refused to be compromised. We will continue to remember you whenever we think of fairness and integrity!
While, joining all well-meaning Nigerians in appreciation of your excellent stewardship of police force in Kano and praying for a prosperous life after retirement, I still can’t help, but to conclude that, ‘BEING GOOD IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH IN NIGERIA’
CONGRATULATIONS! As you retire in good health and above all with your integrity intact!
Mr Abdu-Bichi is a Teacher, Research and Statistics Consultant based in Kano