We Note with deep concern the on-going stage show over the confirmation of the Ag. Chairman of the Economic and financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, by the Senate and the poison it has diffused into the nation’s political space. Twice, Magu’s name was sent to the Senate; twice it was rejected as a result of a security report by the Department of State Security Service (DSS). More worrisome was the deafening presidential silence. Besides pitching the Senate against the executive, the latest dimension of the controversy is the Senate’s spat with Professor Itse Sagay, SAN and Chairman of Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-corruption (PACA). Sagay has been summoned by the Senate to appear before it over a media statement credited to him in which he allegedly described the Senators as “irresponsible and of questionable character” for failing to confirm the appointment of Magu as a substantive chairman of the EFCC. The eminent professor of law flatly turned down the summons and dared the Senators to head to court. Of course, anxious Nigerians have been waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari to be decisive on this issue by addressing it squarely. Somehow unenthusiastically, the presidency recently set up a special team spearheaded by Vice President Yemi Osibanjo to reach out to the vexed Senators to strike peace accord and work out a harmonious relationship between it and the Red Chamber. At the risk of being misunderstood for partisan opinion, we want to underscore a point or two anchored on these questions: Is Magu qualified for the job? Does the fact that some people, especially influential and vested interest are not comfortable with the style or method of EFCC, or its groundbreaking achievements, make Magu unworthy of the job? Has he been actively on his beat with astonishing results or not? Is anti-corruption fight all about being politically correct? For the Senate and those opposed to Magu’s confirmation, there is one more nut they have not cracked: have all the allegations leveled against Magu by the DSS been investigated and the suspect (Magu) was found guilty? There is also a need to hoist a red flag right in front of the Senate wing of the National Assembly building for several reasons. For instance, many Nigerians have implacable conviction that the Senate is the cozy haven where corrupt former governors, ministers and top government officials hide for political cover against
arrest and prosecution. It therefore requires that the Senate should, as a matter of imperativeness and political correctedness, first of all purge itself of this battered image. In fact, at the moment, the leadership of the Senate has been facing trial bothering on alleged corruption and abuse of office. In other words, until the institution redeems itself, it does not possess the moral rectitude to redeem the executive from wrongs, real or perceived. It is quite understandable why anti-Magu is this fiery in the Senate. It is interesting that many of the people who are supposed to approve the appointment of Magu as the substantive chairman of the EFCC have one corrupt case or the other hanging over their heads. It challenges moral standards that a number of suspects standing trial (legal or moral) for alleged corrupt enrichment are part of the Senate’s privileged crowd venting their vengeful anger against the approval of Magu, simply because the man refused to play game. This is the bloody alter upon which anti-corruption war is slaughtered with hunch back ego. Recently, a social development, media and communication advocacy group, Citizens Media and Development Network (CIMEDEN) took a related position on this matter during its recent policy review meeting held in Abuja and its position was published in some national dailies. According to the group, the issue comes down to just one point: “We are of strong conviction that the matter of the Senate’s rejection to confirm Mr. Magu as the substantive chairman of the EFCC is being unduly and unfortunately politicised. Three things are, however, notable here in all of these: (a) President Buhari has confidence in Magu (b) Millions of Nigerians believe in Magu’s passion, dedication and determination for his job and (c) Magu’s outstanding results – of course not perfect – are speaking very loud and clear”. At the end, CIMEDEN called for a collaborative effort among relevant agencies of government as well as all well-meaning Nigerians in the fight against corruption in the country. All over the world, the fight against economic saboteurs, their cronies and network is messy and dangerous; it must face tough opposition, confront powerful moneybag law breakers who twist systems to their advantage against larger interest of the populace. It must have injuries and sometimes victims. It is a necessary sacrifice for good governance and economic development for the nation.