|Usman Alkali Baba: Nigeria's Police Chief|
By Emeka Oraetoka
(Management is doing things right, leadership is doing the right things-Peter Drucker).
When the author of the above quote, Peter Drucker, came out with it, he probably had Usman Alkali Baba in mind. About one month ago, some Policemen in Nigeria threatened nationwide strike to demand, increase in salaries, improvement in working conditions, promotion stagnation and welfare for the rank and file.
The strike threat was later shelved, after an appeal from well meaning Nigerians to the Policemen involved in organizing it. The news Nigerians heard after the suspension of the strike was that nine Policemen were dismissed from the Force for their role in the botched strike.
According to a police signal, as reported by Vanguard newspaper of April 6, 2022, the names of the dismissed policemen were listed. Here is the report in part: “The signal said the men were dismissed from service following their orderly room trial for planning and coordinating a strike within the ranks and file of the police. They were said to have been identified, traced and subsequently arrested after their phone calls were tracked. The wireless message addressed to all Police Zonal Commands, State Commands and Police formations read: “Be informed that following the conclusion of the orderly room proceedings of the undermentioned Inspectors, rank and file for the offences of discreditable conduct, improper conduct, breach of confidence;
“To wit: planning, organising, coordinating industrial strike within the ranks of the Nigeria Police Force; the Inspector-General has approved the dismissal from service of the following: “AP/No. 245800 – Insp Nanoll Lamak; AP/ NP 287568 – Insp Amos Nagurah; F/No. 271367 – Sgt Onoja Onuche; F/No. 442680 – Sgt Franklin Agughalau; “F/No. 495378 – Sgt Emmanuel Isah F/No. 508168 – Sgt Adesina Ismail; F/No. 508282 – Sgt Osoteku Ademola; F/No. 525839 – Police Constable Ehighamhen Favour Ebele and F/No. 528222 – Police Constable Ubong Inem.
“Commissioners of Police Commands and formations concerned are to warn the men accordingly, to de-kit them and eject them from the police accommodation and facilities where applicable and revert accordingly; delete subjects from IPPIS payroll immediately”.
We can even confidently say that the dismissal of the nine policemen involved in the planning of the strike, brought about the long overdue promotion of junior officers in the police. The Guardian newspaper of April 15, 2022, captioned the promotion of these policemen thus: “After strike threat, IGP promotes 21,039 junior police officers”. The main body of the report went thus: “ Weeks after a strike threat by some ‘faceless’ persons, the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, yesterday, approved the promotion of 21,039 junior officers that had suffered stagnation in the last six years.
The elevation, which saw 20,572 Sergeants hitting the rank of Inspector, 324 Corporals for Sergeants and 143 Constables for Corporal, is part of ongoing efforts at improving welfare, conditions of service, as well as boosting the morale of personnel for greater efficiency. Police spokesman, Muyiwa Adejobi, said: “The IGP further noted that the promotion of the officers is part of the manpower development drive of his administration to ensure that deserving personnel are promoted accordingly to encourage hard work, merit, excellence and dedication to duties.
“The IGP equally assured senior police officers that the force’s high command is liaising with the Police Service Commission (PSC) on the release of their promotion, which is expected to be approved and released as soon as possible. “The IGP, while commending the newly promoted officers for their resilience and invaluable commitment to duties, charged them to see their promotion as a call for renewed zeal, vigour, patriotism to duty and rededication to professional policing standards. “The IGP equally restated the commitment of his administration to entrenching longstanding reforms in the Nigeria Police Force.”
The Guardian report further revealed that the strike threat led to an increase in police budget allocation by the federal government. This is what the report said: “Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Appropriation, Muktar Aliyu Betara, has justified the increase in the force’s 2022 budget. Addressing reporters yesterday after passage of the revised 2022 fiscal framework, the Borno State lawmaker said the N182 billion increments was to cater for the improved salaries of the personnel.
He said: “The President and Commander-in-Chief brought an amendment to the 2022 Appropriation Act, which the House passed today (yesterday). We passed the budget with an increment to police salaries. “We increased the police budget by N 182 billion. That is the only difference between the Appropriation Act and the amendment bill. It’s just the police increment.”
Clearly, The Inspector-General of Police, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, psc(+), NPM, FDC, has done well in quickly embarking on urgent surgery of the immediate ailment, capable of bringing police institution to its knees. Having done the needful in terms of promoting these policemen that have been unfairly treated, the real task confronting him now, is what to do with dismissed ringleaders of the strike! Because by dismissing them for threatening to embark on strike, over their rights, is tantamount to beating a child and telling him not to cry.
To this writer, the IGP should critically balance the issue around the demands the dismissed policemen made, the way they went about it and the important issue around the method deployed in the agitation by the policemen involved. Yes, their demand was legitimate and fundamental. Was there a better option left to the dismissed policemen in their agitation? Here is where Peter Drucker’s management view on Effective Leadership comes in. The right thing to do now is for IGP Usman Alkali Baba to open a diplomatic channel to resolve bottled up anger in the police, arising from the dismissal of strike ringleaders. One thing that is going for the IGP is his integrity and management acumen. The affected police officers should be called and be made to understand that their offence was not exhausting the existing dispute resolution mechanism within the police institution before the threat of strike. After this lecture, they may be asked to apologize, after which their recall by the police may be contemplated.
IGP Usman Alkali Baba has demonstrated that what apex police manager needs to excel, is good management skills; and that, he is not in short supply of. He has even shown with time, that police under him is being repositioned to leverage technology in preventing crime in the country. The latest “Rescue me App” introduced by Alkali Baba-led police, has clearly demonstrated that police is technologically poised to fight crime in Nigeria. The reaction of Nigerians to this wonderful innovation in crime fighting and prevention, on social media, is an indication that Nigeria has one of the finest IGP in history. When people talk of reform in the police, experts in security will easily tell you to pick up Alkali’s 12 point agenda and read through. Whatever Nigerians want in terms of reformation of Nigeria police, is contained in IGP’s practice direction, called, 12 point Agenda.
For Effective Leadership as propounded by Peter Druker, IGP Usman Alkali Baba, is exhibiting it in quantum, as head of the Nigeria police. He can only get better and better, as he continues the repositioning of the police for the good of Nigeria.
(Oraetoka, an Information Management Consultant & Researcher wrote in from Abuja. He can be reached via: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, GSM: 08056031187 09039094636).
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