•Magu should step aside, says Oyebode
•We didn’t reject EFCC boss’ confirmation –Senator
From James Ojo, Abuja, John Adams, Minna and Romanus Okoye
From John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, came a bombshell on President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-graft war yesteray. He scored the government’s war against graft low.
He spoke on the State of the Nation on Kaakaki, a programme on African Independent Television (AIT) in Abuja.
This is even as Professor of Law and Jurispudence, Akin Oyebode, said yesterday that the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, should step aside.
Onaiyekan, speaking on the programme, lamented that the nation was on the state of an emergency on every sector.
“Corruption is worse under this government, it is widespread and virtually everyone is involved, I doubt if anybody can stand by and say I am not part of it, this is why I say that we are in an emergency,” he said.
The war against corruption which the Buhari government placed premium on suffered a major setback when his appointee, Ibrahim Magu, was purportedly rejected by the Senate as EFCC chairman.
Also, some key officers of the Presidency had come under allegations of involving in acts inimical to the anti-corruption crusade of the government.
According to Cardinal Onaiyekan, recent developments in government showed that corruption has eaten deep more than expected.
“The war against corruption was not succeeding because the system of doing things in the country has been corrupted by those who had served the public in the past and even now in the present.
“If we are to be sincere, the system is corrupt and it will be difficult to change the system. We must admit that everyone in government should not be allowed to carry home huge amount of money.
“There is legal corruption and this is one of the major problems. Legal corruption is killing us. We take millions legally and can’t be charged to court.
“For instance, you have members of the National Assembly going home every month with millions without doing much, this has to stop,” the Cardinal said.
The cardinal tasked the Federal Government to rise up to the challenge of good governance, saying that more should be done in all sectors.
He called on religious leaders to correct the ills in the society and admonished public office holders to be more interested in the welfare of the masses.
Meanwhile, Oyebode said Buhari should look for an alternative candidate to replace Magu. This is even as Senator David Umaru (Niger East) re-echoed Senate Leader Mohammed Ndume’s comment last week that the Upper Chamber did not reject Magu’s confirmation.
Oyebode urged the President to look for another candidate so as to restore Nigerians’ confidence in his fight against corruption.
Oyebode spoke on live TV programme that there appears to be operational dysfunction between the agencies in the Presidency where “the left does not know what the right is doing and the right does not know what the left is doing.”
He said the President ought to have been briefed on the security report on Magu since the Department of State Services (DSS) works on advisory role to the Presidency. This, Oyebode said, would have saved the government the embarrassment caused by Senate’s purported rejection of the confirmation.
“I do not know the veracity of the allegations. But Magu no longer enjoy the credibility as before. He will no doubt lack the effectiveness to continue with the job after security reports were given by the Senate as reasons for rejecting his confirmation. The President needs somebody that will give bite to the anti-corruption war; we have had such in the past.
“At present, the Presidency seems to be in quagmire. You cannot give what you do not have. There is issue of credibility. People think the President has not done enough to fulfil his promises.
Oyebode, who is also the Chairman, Office of International Relations, Partnership and Prospects, University of Lagos, alleged that there may be conspiracies by those who do not want Magu to be there.
“Magu seems to have intensified the anti-corruption fight,” he said.
“But if the President was aware of the report, maybe he would have nominated another person. And that maybe what he may ultimately do because the Senate appears stock to its position.
“The President has done well in the area of security. He has put Boko Haram to where it belongs; though he still needs to assuage other agitators like IPOB, Niger Delta forces etc. However, he needs to put the right people in the right places, maybe re-jig his cabinet.
“The President is said to be a procedural person, but there are things that are more expedient than ordinary process. He needs to re-order things. He needs to fight hunger. He needs to be decisive on the issues of herdsmen. People accuse him of not acting because he is a Fulani,” Prof. Oyebode said.
Meanwhile, he advised the President to forward the name of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen to the Senate and allow the lawmaker to decide if he is fit.
“He has the requisite qualifications. I don’t know the alibi the President will come up with. He should remove that albatross of leaving the man in acting capacity from his neck. The man should be duly appointed because leaving him in acting capacity is unacceptable,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Senator Umaru said yesterday that the Senate did not reject Magu’s nomination.
While some Senators want Nigerians to believe that the confirmation of Magu had been rejected by the Upper Chamber of the National assembly, Senator Umaru pointed out that the issue had never been discussed at the Senate plenary and therefore, it was not possible for anybody to conclude that he had been rejected by the Senate.
“If somebody says it was rejected, it was probably a mistake, but as for me, I have not voted, the Senate operates by rules. The rule is that this thing must be presented to us either by the committee or through direct interaction with the members in plenary none of this has happened”.
“The issue of Magu was discussed only in the executive session of the Senate, it was not an issue discussed at plenary, so, anything done in the executive session is not the same thing as that done in plenary, so as far as I am concerned, the issue of Magu, the consideration of his nomination, was never considered by the Senate”.
Umaru, who is the Chairman, Committee on Judiciary, Legal Matters and Human Rights, stated this in Minna during an interactive session with newsmen, insisting that “ the issue of Magu was never voted on in plenary, so as far as I am concerned Magu’s nomination was never rejected”.
Senator Umaru disclosed that the matter was only referred to the Presidency “so that they can clarify the issue raised by the DSS and send it back to the Senate for consideration.”