Edo state government rolled out the red carpets and drums last week to celebrate a worthy son and Nigeria’s current Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, reports our Benin Bureau Chief, Victor Osehobo.
The first reception Mr. Solomon Arase got as Inspector General of Police was in July at Sabongida-Ora, administrative headquarters of Owan West Local Government Area, Edo State. Sabongida – Ora is the IGP mother’s hometown. Solomon Arase, the first son of Edo origin to attain the office of the Inspector-General of the Nigerian Police was the guest. The event was to celebrate a man who attained an enviable height on sheer doggedness and merit.
Last week it was a second reception for the same man who has become an epitome, a blazing star of the moment. This time it was Edo state government that rolled out the red carpet and drums in honour of a worthy son. , in all it was obvious that success has many friends.
Edo State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole had extolled the Inspector General of Police at Ora when he said he was “not just a man of history” but a personality with “a very unique ability” which has culminated in his emergence as the current IGP even when “there are many people who could become the I-G by political connection.”
Oshiomhole said that as the first Edo State indigene to attain such position, “I also believe that your present elevation is a demonstration of the way you have sought to manage your office and deal with the challenges of the police force without being partisan. This is a difficult position to maintain. As an Edo man, you represent the finest tradition with courage, determination and intellect to your job no matter whose ox is gored.”
Not done the governor said, “It is a thing of pride to our people that coming from a minority, he has risen to become the I-G of Police. But we also recognize that he is coming to office at a very challenging time. This is the time we need such people with security of mind and competence to drive the changes which President Buhari has promised the people by ensuring that the police play their part of providing security to the people”.
“I think at this time, the IGP would need all the prayers, support and encouragement particularly of Edo people. Let it not be said that the task of policing was made more difficult by the people of the state and he is serving under a President who will not tolerate indiscipline. He is an IGP to drive changes in the psyche and governance of our great nation”.
Besides the governor, a former senator, Professor Oserheimen Osunbor noted that it was commendable that the President Muhammadu Buhari considered Arase fit to continue in office as I-G. In the same vein, former deputy governor of Edo state, Chief Mike Oghiadomhe described Solomon Arase as a “perfect gentleman since he has been in the force and has not known any scandal,” stressing that “long have we yearned for him. He is a true professional.”
Again at the state government reception for the IG held in Benin City, last weekend, Comrade Oshiomhole did not merely re-echo his earlier encomiums on Solomon Arase, he amplified them by disclosing that he was aware that Solomon Arase was appointed based strictly on merit, competence, commitment, intelligence and courage. He said, “I am really proud of him, Edo people are proud of him” especially as President Muhammadu Buhari still retained him as the Inspector General of Police even when other service chiefs were dropped”.
He said “God in his infinite mercy has directed that one of us is made the Inspector General of Police. This time all those forces, negative forces, have been defeated. Our son is the number one Policeman. Right now, we have a no-nonsense police officer. Please, we should appreciate what God has done for us. First, let us appreciate what President Buhari has done for us. President Buhari will go down in history as a person who appreciates merit, commitment, courage and competence.”
Never tired of celebrating the President, Oshiomhole said, “I want to celebrate my own President, our own President for appreciating one of our own. Now we know that without security we can do nothing. All of us should support the National Assembly to support the IGP to reposition the Nigeria Police.”
Apparently enthused by the praises, IGP Arase sang praises to God that he never knew that he would be honoured this way.
Recalling that Magnus Eweka (deceased), Parry Osayande and Fidelis Oyakhilome all indigenes of Edo State, rose to the ranks of Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG without attaining the IGP, Mr. Solomon Arase promised to tread the path of diligence and honour, pointing out “I am going to leave landmarks.”
He listed some of his strides since assuming office to include the dismantling of road blocks and the arrest of cultists in Edo state mid-year. He solicited support for the Nigeria Police as the State and Federal levels could not do it alone and urged the Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Chris Ezike to ensure security in Edo State.
The IGP further said Governor Adams Oshiomhole has been consistent in his support for him all through his professional career. For the royal honour and blessing received, Mr. Solomon Arase flanked by his wife, Agharese submitted, “I also remain specially grateful to our most respected Royal Father, the Ojie of Ora and Clan Head, HRH, M.E.P. Imonah (JP), Arah Odion Urukpa Ohain (1) who shocked me this morning (Saturday morning) by bestowing on me and my wife the chieftaincy title of the Ojeagbase of Ora Kingdom. He also expressed gratitude to Prof. Ahonkhai, former Deputy Govenor of Edo State Rev. Peter Obadan, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Arik Airline, Arumemi Johnson, Rotimi Arumemi, the entire members of Ora Ekpen Development Association (ODA) and all others equally valuable guests, friends and relations that made the event possible.
He promised to project the values of Sabongidda Community and the entire Owan land and that he will not disappoint his relations and friends as he walks through the journey of life. Towards this end, “ I incorporated the Madam Mercy Igbe-Arase (Nee Ifidon) Foundation which has so far awarded scholarship to deserving 15 Owan West and East undergraduates to enable them fulfil their dreams and make their youthful age and future as worth celebrating as mine,” stressing that he would join to drive the development of the Sabongidda Ora Community”.
Until his appointment, Arase, a Fellow of the Nigerian Defence College, was Head of the Force Criminal Intelligence and Investigation Department – the apex intelligence gathering arm of the Nigerian police. The man who turned 59, on June 21, 2015, hails from Oredo Local Government Area of Edo state.
He enlisted into the Nigerian Police on December 1, 1981 after graduating from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, in 1980, with a degree in Political Science. He later obtained a Bachelor of Law degree and Masters of Law from the University of Benin and University of Lagos respectively, attending the Nigerian Law school and was called to the bar in 2000.
Mr. Arase served as Commissioner of Police for Akwa Ibom State, Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Bureau and the United Nations Mission in Namibia.