Scorecard Of Arase’s One Year In Office

By Zayd Ibn Isah

“Nemo dat quod non habet” is a legal rule which literally means ‘no one gives what he doesn’t have.ʼ It originated from ancient Roman law and would later be incorporated into English common law. This legal principle is now recognized as an important aspect of property law, and at a time when criminal-minded people can lay claim to people’s properties, the nemo dat quod rule is essential to checkmate the activities of fraudsters. This is also why people going into transactions are always warned with a caveat that they should make sure they are buying the property from its genuine owner in order to avoid stories that touch the heart.

The principle of ‘Nemo dat quod non habetʼ resonates strongly not just in the legal realm, but also within the space of governance, which is where the ability to effect change is tied to one’s capacity and commitment. This is simply the case with Dr. Solomon Ehigiator Arase. Immediately he was given the mantle of leadership by the former President, Muhammadu Buhari, he refused to observe the customary ‘honeymoonʼ period associated with most newly appointed government officials, nor did he pussyfoot; he just hit the ground running from day one.

Although Arase’s emergence did not sit well with most staff of the commission who were already fatigued by retired police officers coming to head them, as I stated in my 26 December 2023 article, titled ‘Arase: Revolutionizing Police Service Commissionʼ, and published by The Nation. Here is a particular paragraph from that article:

“However, Dr. Solomon Arase’s assumption of the role as Chairman of the Police Service Commission was initially met with mixed reactions. He stepped into the position at a time when the Commission’s staff were already fatigued by the retired Police Officers who had, at one point in time or the other, headed the establishment. With the exception of the pioneer Chairman, Simon Okeke, all other chairmen had been retired police officers. As such, some of the Commission’s staff held the opinion that a retired police officer might consistently favor the police in decision-making and not fulfill oversight functions in line with the constitution’s letter and spirit.

Fast-forward to this present day, and Dr. Solomon Arase has shown with his performances that what the Commission needs is someone with stellar records of service to pilot its affairs. Even those who expressed their concerns and doubts have had no choice but to key into his agenda, seeing that he actually desires the best for the Commission.”

Now, let us quickly review some of Arase’s landmark achievements since he officially assumed office on 28th March, 2023.

Setting the Stage

A good doctor knows that in order to find an effective cure for an illness, he or she would have to diagnose the patient first to determine the cause of the sickness. This is exactly what Dr. Solomon Arase did: when he resumed work at the Commission’s office in Federal Secretariat, Abuja, he discovered that the environment wasn’t fertile for good working conditions. It wasn’t hard to deduce that somehow, this had seriously hampered the productivity of workers. The next thing Arase did was to relocate the commission to its corporate headquarters at Jabi. That historic move signaled a new era of leadership and good working environments for staff of the Commission.

Establishment of Compliance Monitoring Unit

Dr. Arase wasted no time establishing a Compliance Monitoring Unit (CMU) manned by dedicated staff of the Commission. The staff of this unit were tasked with receiving complaints from members of the public, especially when such complaints involved allegations of police misconduct. This initiative aimed to uphold the principles of transparency and accountability within the police force.

Strengthening Institutional Capacity

Under Arase’s leadership, the Commission underwent significant institutional reforms, including the establishment of a sick bay and crèche to cater to the welfare of staff. Additionally, prompt payment of personnel allowances underscored the Chairman’s commitment to employee well-being.

Building Bridges

One of Dr. Arase’s notable achievements was the fostering of a harmonious working relationship between the Commission and the Nigeria Police Force. Through strategic initiatives and open dialogue, mutual suspicion was replaced with collaboration and partnership.

Embracing Global Partnerships

Dr. Arase’s tenure saw increased collaboration with United Nationsʼ agencies and civil society organizations, amplifying the Commission’s impact on a global scale. This strategic engagement underscored the Chairman’s commitment to leveraging international expertise and resources.

Upholding Justice and Discipline

Central to Dr. Arase’s mandate was the prompt dispensation of justice in disciplinary issues against police officers. His unwavering commitment to accountability and justice ensured that erring officers were held accountable for their actions.

Interestingly, only those who already know the kind of man the Honourable Chairman is, can afford to be surprised by how well he has used his magic wands of service to turn things around in the Commission — and all within the space of a year. Clearly, he is simply giving what he has, and even more!

Ultimately, there is nothing Arase is doing now that he hasn’t already done during his time as Inspector-General of Police. A story was told of how the former President, Muhammadu Buhari wished he stayed longer as IGP because he enjoyed working with him. This is why when the opportunity came to appoint a new Chairman of the Commission after the erstwhile Chairman voluntarily resigned, the former President chose Arase. And now, he has performed beyond expectations, doing so in spite of a myriad of challenges which have bedeviled the Commission.

It is in this vein that I wish the Chairman a ‘Happy Anniversary’. Mr. Chairman, sir, my wish for you is drawn from Tai Solarinʼs words many years ago. And that is, “May your road be rough.”

Zayd Ibn Isah can be reached at [email protected]