The Nigeria Police: The Question of Recurring leadership Change and its Effects

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The processes and dynamics of change in an organization like the Nigeria Police force usually have effects on the employees conducts, on the systems’ behaviors and the people.

The sudden and reoccurring changes in the last decade have not markedly reduced the negative perception of the Nigerian police in the country.


By mere observations, the change of management has become so constant and the causes given for change in management are generally poorly explained, and the reasons usually given have not provided a structure in regards to needed interventions.

Even with Ringim’s sudden end in the month of January of 2012 the Police force has been characteristic of the same recycling problems and challenges.

From the year 2002,Mr.Mustafa Adebayo Balogunthe 11th Inspector General of Police(IGP) headed an institution that was propelled with indiscipline, electoral fraud, police abuse, press gagging and general brutality as well as open corruption.

IGP Sunday Ehindero’speriod between 2005 and 2007 were punctuated with probes after the other in regards to  fraud and money diversion.

IGP Mike MbamaOkiro led the police from 2007 to 2009  and his time with no fault of his, was marked with the still fragmented case of $190m Halliburton Scam in regards to the reported bribing Nigerian government officials.

IGPOgbonnayaOkechukwuOnovo who succeeded Okiro in 2009 was constantly surrounded by cases of kidnappings and horrible killings.

IGP Hafiz Ringim from the period of  September 10, 2010 to the time of his forced exit was surrounded by  mountains of cases involving police inefficiency, unethical practices, bribery, extortion, destruction, escape,  and terrorism every whew and at his doorstep—the police headquarters.  Now comes the new chief, IGP Mohammed DahiruAbubakar.

The turning points that has led to unique set of complexities in policing as in the habit of letting go an existing police chief’s management team which usually consist of Deputy Inspectors- General, remains a disturbing problem.

The usually explanation for this type of move is to allow  an  officer in the rank of Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) to enjoy the new status of Inspector General of Police (IGP).

It is believed that by removing or given sudden retirement to persons with the rank of a Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), the officer of the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police who suddenly gets double promotion to become the Inspector General of Police will possess an establishment marked with  a breath of fresh air and absolute loyalty from all subordinates.

But what organizational function does this type of change bring other than provoking reorganization and repositioning of new names in leadership.

How does suddenly relieving a whole management team suddenly solve the  internalinstitutional and external security challenges in the country? Hasn’t   this been done before?

Given that in a very short period, beginning mostly from 2002 until now,  the country has seen six successive police chiefs.

Yet these peculiar transitions have not markedly put a positive dent on matters like indiscipline, fraud, security, fraud, police welfare, record keeping, training, pay system, religious/ethnic violence, favoritism, bribery, waste, and others.

If we are to see any meaningful change in the policing of the nation we will have to cultivate and built on  workable  and lasting organizational goals and values in the areas of  effective system performance, standards of training, personnel development, public confidence, individual  performance of Officers, and Human Rights as well as the  overall improvement of the Nigeria Police organization.

The nation should see more of changes not in mere individuals but in the system of policingwith its environment characterized by a greater the degree of openness, constant positive interaction with the public, police lawfulness, organizational discipline,  efficient record keeping and case management, as well as accelerated case follow up and completion.

With improvements in these areas,the erratic change of police chiefs and leadership team  will likely reduce. Also, we could in the process reduce sudden, obvious and unforeseen psychological difficulties on personnel, decrease social and family pressures due to sudden loss of jobs, lessen unproductive work behavior,  condenseanger, hostility, or potential violence as well as reduce acts of security breach and a work environment marked with indifference.

When there is need and a good reason for a new leadership change the leadership should focus on producing system outputs that will satisfy the need for change.

Note that mass transfer of senior police officers and members of rank and file does nor necessarily bring a progressive alteration to the system, and the situation in need of change. Since such reactive transfers are not designed to bring in effective behavior change.

A psychologically and culturally based formula is what is needed to bring in a steady state of  productive environment into the police force.

The incoming police management team could form new managerial initiative both internally and externally using social and psychological factors of workers and the public to cause general improvements.

These include showing appreciation, recognition, offering praise, meetings with each worker occasionally, and giving feedback and correction to workers. Learn to give the community updates about police accomplishments, build quality relationships with citizens, and train staff police to communicate non-sensitive police work with good listening skills.

What matters now following the coming of the 16th police chief and his management team,  is erecting an organizational philosophy with a sustainable  vision and knowledge that will guide the Nigeria police force towards quality service of the law to the people.

John Egbeazien Oshodi, Ph.D., is a Licensed Florida Forensic/Clinical Psychologist; Diplomate of American Board of Psychological Specialties; Fellow of American College of Forensic Examiners (For Psy); and  the Secretary-General of the Nigeria Psychological Association (NPA) , Abuja. Jos5930458@a0l.com 08126909839

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