Tuesday Column By VICTORIA NGOZI IKEANO
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To be candid I was surprised to see pictures of now suspended deputy commissioner of Police (DCP) A. K. with Obi Cubana at the Oba ‘show’ apparently enjoying himself with a wine-filled glass. In another Oba photo, he wore the Ankara ‘aso ebi’ dress which is usually reserved for family members and close associates of the bereaved. In both cases he was surrounded by a motley crowd happily posing for the cameras. He described Obi Cubana, a billionaire night club owner, as ‘’a friend and brother” whom he had known for years; in which case we may conjecture that he also visits his club? DCP K. also let it be known in a post that he had attended another similar event of a mutual friend of the two of them (Obi and K.). My surprise stems from my belief that policemen involved in criminal investigations are discreet people, not given to showing off, much less public showmanship. When I related my discontent about K’s appearance there to a friend, the friend said he must have gotten approval from his superiors to be at Oba.
Police officers do attend social occasions, outside the Police Mess alright, but they do not mingle with the crowd as such. They appear on the scene, greet the celebrant or host and leave within a few minutes (looks like times of changed though). Replying to another photo post of him in Dubai, DCP K boasted that he sponsored himself to Dubai. It is obvious he loved the limelight (as do most men) as he was always seen with a phone apparently snapping at will for social media consumption. The photographs range from his exploits on the job, through family members’ (wife, children, and siblings’) private outings with him, to attendance of social gatherings as the aforementioned. These were generously splashed on his social media page. He soon became a celebrity as every of his post was lifted and splashed online, in social media, the most popular of which is opera news. That is why online and traditional media, including the social media have no problem getting pictures with which to illustrate stories about him. They have them aplenty, of various shades, from his personal posts. A psychologist can decipher his character by analysing his numerous posts.
DCP K. is perhaps the first modern-day celebrity cop in Nigeria. The nearest to this was the former public relations officer of the Zone Two police command with headquarters in Onikan, Lagos. We often saw pictures of herself as well as statements/releases about the zone’s activities. This is understandable, given that she was the spokesperson and hence, face of Zone Two. However, her social media exposure was nowhere near that of DCP K. None of the Police public relations officers in all the states and zonal commands nor the Force Public relations officer at the Abuja headquarters enjoys any celebrity status as does DCP K. He was his team’s (IGP Intelligence Response Team) ‘PRO’, showing its exploits with photos to the world on his personal social media handle, something that should be left to the Police public relations department.
No doubt, DCP K’s achievements in cracking many high profile criminal cases made him popular and earned him the respect of many too. Apparently, he sought to leverage on this through his social media page and seeing the adulation, followership he was getting there, he dug deeper into social media fame and began to rub shoulders with other celebrities of whatever hue, wherein he began to post literally anything that would, it appeared, enable him maintain that status –picture of himself or his family in the cutest wears (in uniform or out of it) in the cutest environment and the cutest circle of friends. It seemed that the more narcissistic he became, as he became fixated with social media adoration with conceit (a characteristic of celebrities) seeping in, he soon forgot the etiquette especially for a crime buster as himself that one should dine with the devil with a long spoon. His failure to heed this adage, blindfolded apparently by the hailing mob who splash his photo everyday with every single post of his on their social media portals, blogs was his Achilles’ heel. The same hailing mob whose admiration he seemingly curried are the same mob that are leading him to the executioner’s site with their damaging social media stories.
He now finds himself in a celebrity mess, cut off from his ‘beloved’ social media posts because, now under suspension, he is obviously debarred from posting anything pending conclusion of the investigation about celebrity yahoo boy, Hushpuppi’s allegation against him. For celebrities, being constantly visible in the social media is like an elixir to them. You can well imagine the depressive state of this celebrity super cop, DCP K. He may use this time to reflect on his life, on his singular mistakes and learn from it. It is not the end of life for him but it is a big blow given the wide world web of the internet/social media and its permanence. My wish for him is that he comes out of this a reformed, changed and better human being.
DCP K. is said to be a patriotic, dutiful, police officer given the awards he garnered for cracking many hard criminal cases. The true yardstick for measuring patriotism or loyalty is love for the cause. If one is driven by genuine love for a certain cause, (for example, to help make Nigeria a better place by ridding it of hardened criminals) then this love literally envelopes the person and overrides every other consideration. Where this love for the cause is lacking, then the patriotism, dutifulness, loyalty is not genuine, not skin deep but borne of some material, earthly consideration, ambition. The Nigeria Police may wish to review social media rules for its personnel in general. Police officers should not out rightly court celebrity status.