Barr. Utum Eteng

It is sad that the Senate on 15th March, 2017 turned down for the 2nd time the request of the President to confirm Ibrahim Magu Chairman for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Several arguments have been advanced for this act of disservice to the Nigerian people who keyed into the corruption crusade of the Buhari Administration with zeal. Some argued that, some corruption infested ex and serving governors ganged up with some Senators facing investigation/trial for corruption to orchestrate Magu’s non-confirmation. It will be recalled that Magu was first rejected on December 15, 2016 based on an alleged security Report from the DSS.

The non-confirmation of Magu is also speculated to be based on the organized sabotage of some high-profile suspects facing EFCC investigation and trial from the courts who are angry that Magu is not yielding to their attempts to corrupt compromise him.

Assuming some of the governors diverted part of the N19 billion of the N388.304 billion Paris Club refunds are part of the gang-up against Magu, it beholds on the President to employ other security agents to investigate the matter and if found true, prosecute them thereafter. The 2nd rejection of Magu coming after that of Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, a Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution involve in corruption prosecution is a pointer to the gang-up in the Senate to frustrate the Nigerian people who firmly support the Buhari corruption crusade.

Nigerians now know that as a way to stash ill-gotten money outside the shores of Nigeria some state governors pretend to gallivant across the globe searching for imaginary foreign investors, yet none can boast of foreign investors up to the number of trips abroad and the huge state resources involved. Ibrahim Magu is known to have directed his search light on some of these dubious foreign trips by some governors.

It has again been argued that, Magu failed the test because he refused to stop the investigation or pending trials of no less than 20 Senators on criminal charges of corruption. But what is the guarantee that a fresh chairmanship nominee if confirmed will do otherwise?

If the task to cleanse the nation of corruption epidemic is a task that must be done without minding whose ox is goaded, the actions of the Senate should not deter anybody but must be seen an invitation to change our strategy. It is instructive to note like President Buhari said before, “that anyone fighting corruption should expect corruption to fight back.” What is happening in the Senate is either the solidarity of some Senators for the past governors in the National Assembly, particularly the Senate facing trial. Their actions are not out of patriotism howsoever.

It is true that the Nigerian Senate has the statutory power under the Constitution to qualify or disqualify a nominee of Mr. President into any applicable office, but the President also has a responsibility to act timeously/or to be proactive. Delay is dangerous. It is sad that at critical times like this when Nigerians are yearning for a progressive change, the Senate could not clear a man like “MAGU” to the office of the Chairman of EFCC after he has before now discharged himself creditably well in acting capacity. This changed the initial assessment of some of us.

However, it also strange but rather obvious that, those upon whom the instrument of clearance is saddled upon are the same people some of who were the shameless looters of yesterday of the national treasury standing trial in some courts and suddenly a man like Magu who is determined to expose their loot appearing before them for clearance is an opportunity for a pay-back. It is an irony. The report of the DSS by the Constitution in so far as is not a conviction of a court of competent jurisdiction, is not conclusive and it is unusual to punish a man without using the court. Otherwise the Senate President himself standing trial for dishonesty lacks the capacity to preside over judgment against Magu. The Senate must remove the log in the eyes of it members before venturing to clear others. This is like a pot calling a kettle black or a leopard attempting to change its spots.

It is important to remark that in the Senate of today, the Senators are no longer defending the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or the manifestos or the ideology of their political party, be it APC or PDP, instead they are protecting themselves from looted treasury.

As one waits the President’s reaction of Magu’s rejection by the Senate, one would without equivocation key pungently into the bonafide admonitions of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai pointedly suggesting a clinical operation on the entire gamut of government, if the APC government is not to leave Nigerians worse than it met them.

As Nigerians, particularly members of the APC await the reaction of Mr. President on these vexed issues, it is important without equivocation to appeal to Mr. President Buhari to spare part of his rest-time to digest El-Rufai’s said letter/memo. There is so much to gain from it.

No matter how the President or members of his inner circle rationalize, one basic fact must be accepted that, he came to occupy the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through political contest hence, he must be ready to play politics throughout the constitutionally given term. If the President is aware that it is his left hand that is not making him to function well, they can cut it if no much damage will be done.

If Obla and Magu have been denied confirmation perhaps because of their stout posture on corruption matters, it can be argued that if Abubakar Malami SAN and Prof. Itse Sagay have need to seek Senate confirmation for any position they are sure to be out and that will be a big slap on the face of Mr. President.

The Presidency must go back to the drawing board for possible thinking of its style with a view to re-jig the APC and the APC Federal Government as anything short of that will lead to future disaster. The Tinubu’s, Amaechi’s, Atiku’s Kwankwaso’s and the El-Rufai must be consulted.


Private Legal Practitioner,
Human Rights Activist
And Anti-Corruption Advocate, Calabar.
09050032600, 08034008723

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