Alhaji Musiliu Smith, former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), was on Thursday announced as the new Chairman, Police Service Commission (PSC) by the presidency.
He is to take over from the current chairman, retired IGP Mike Okiro, whose tenure expires on June 12, 2018.
Investigations revealed that one of the former IGPs, Suleiman Abba, and retired Deputy Inspector-General (DIG) of Police, Israel Ajao, were earlier shortlisted for the position.
DAILY INDEPENDENT earlier reported that a top politician from the South-West who has the ears of President Muhammadu Buhari had made overtures for a South-West candidate to replace Okiro who is from the South-South on the grounds that votes from the South-West contributed largely to Buhari’s victory.
We also reported that the top politician in order to drive home his point told Buhari that for him to convince the South West to vote for him again, he should appoint a South West person as chairman of the PSC.
In addition, he was said to have told Buhari that to achieve national spread in appointments, the chairman of PSC should not come from the North when the IGP is from the North.
He argued that officers from other parts of the country would not feel secure.
DAILY INDEPENDENT learnt that the deal was sealed when Buhari was in Lagos on a two-day working tour in April.
However, there was a dramatic change when IGP Ibrahim Idris allegedly approached President Buhari and pleaded for Smith instead of Ajao.
Sources at the presidency and Force Headquarters, Abuja, told DAILY INDEPENDENT that Idris was able to convince Buhari that Smith was a better officer because he is flexible.
In addition, Idris was said to have stressed to Buhari that Ajao was too hard to bend.
Sources said as soon as Buhari took over the mantle of leadership and appointed Ibrahim Idris as IGP, there were lobbyists urging Buhari to relieve Okiro of his position and appoint their candidates.
Similarly, less than two months after Idris was appointed IGP, Smith paid him a courtesy call in his office, a visit which many police officers viewed as a lobby effort to take over from IGP Okiro.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Okiro chairman of PSC, a position that has a five-year tenure.
The PSC chairman can only be confirmed or rejected by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly members.
In 2006, Musiliu Smith was made Chairman of the Skye Bank board of directors, and in 2007, former Lagos State governor, Babatunde Fashola, appointed Smith head of the Lagos State Security Council, a body charged with taking a holistic look at the anatomy of crime in the state.
President Buhari has written the Senate, asking it to confirm the nomination of Smith alongside six others for the board of the commission.
The president’s request was contained in a letter read by Bukola Saraki, President of the Senate, on the floor of the upper legislative chamber on Thursday.
Citing sections 153 (1) and 154(1) of the 1999 constitution as amended, the president urged the red chamber to expedite action on the request with a view to enabling the appointees to fill the vacuum created by the exit of their predecessors.
The president wrote: “In compliance with the provisions of Section 153 (1) and 154(1) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, I write to forward for confirmation by the Senate the under listed names as the chairman and members of Police Service Commission (PSC).
“I attach here, with their CVs. In anticipation of the early consideration and confirmation of the above appointments by the distinguished senators, please accept, Mr. Senate president, the assurance of my highest consideration.”
The nominees included Musiliu Adeola Kumbi Smith (Chairman), South-West; Justice Clara Ogunbiyi (full-time commissioner), North-East; Lawal Bawa (full-time commissioner), North-West; Muhammad Najatu (member), North-West; Braimoh Adogame Austin (member), South-South; Rommy Mom (member), North Central; Nkemka Osimiri Jombo-Ofo (member), South-East.
The Senate president, while ruling on the request, directed the committee on police affairs to conduct the screening and report back in two weeks for further actions.