From: Ismail Omipidan
The dream of every professional is to get to the peak of his career. Mr. Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is not an exception. He also nursed the dream. He may not have said so in any of the press interviews he granted while holding forth in an acting capacity, but deep inside him, he would have wished to be calling the shots under President Muhammadu Buhari’s presidency, as the number one thief catcher in the country.
Sadly, with his rejection for the second time by the Senate in less than three months, Magu may as well bid the Tunde Idiagbon House, headquarters of the EFCC, Abuja, farewell, and may have to turn to the Louis Edet House, for another opportunity to serve his father land.
Ironically, since 2003 when the EFCC was established, successive Nigeria Presidents have always had their way, in deciding who heads the agency. For instance, when the EFCC Act was first passed into law, the law had stated clearly that to qualify as Chairman of the Commission, one must either be a serving or retired Police AIG or its equivalent in the Army and other paramilitary institutions. But when it was clear that the Presidency at the time wanted Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, for the job, the Act was returned to the National Assembly for amendment to accommodate Ribadu who was then an Assistant Commissioner of Police.
Again, when late President Umaru Yar’Adua was done with Ribadu and wanted him out of the way at all cost, not even the Senate, which reserves the power by law, to pass a resolution, required to send Ribadu away, could stop him. Ribadu was unceremoniously removed from office, without following due process.
Like Yar’Adua, who inherited Ribadu from former President Olusegun Obasanjo and later fired him, former President Jonathan too, also inherited Mrs. Faridah Waziri from Yar’Adua. And like his predecessor, Jonathan also fired Waziri, without looking back. He brought in Ibrahim Lamorde. Buhari too inherited Lamorde. And to get Buhari’s nod to retain his job, Lamorde had hauled in the likes former Jigawa governor, Sule Lamido, barely five days after Buhari was sworn in. Unfortunately, Buhari failed to notice his impact, and by November 2015, he was asked to proceed on terminal leave, as his first tenure was expected to terminate in February, 2106.
Although, Buhari was able to bring in Magu, as Lamorde’s replacement, albeit in an acting capacity, a thing that offends the extant law, setting up the agency, as there was no provision for an acting chairman, Buhari will go down in history, as the first Nigeria President, who could not muster the necessary political will and sagacity, to have his way, concerning the headship of the EFCC, since inception.
The issues, the politics, the intrigues
Magu, Daily Sun can authoritatively reveal, lost to the struggle for control of power, by forces within the government, especially the presidency. For instance, while Magu chose to align with the Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s faction, within the government, as being ably represented in the Buhari’s cabinet by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal, the people that actually have the ears of Buhari, like Mamman Daura, Buhari’s nephew, Abba Kyari, his Chief of Staff, and Lawal Daura, the Director-General , DG, of the Department of State Services, DSS, have chosen to frustrate Magu’s appointment, for reasons other than national interest. Within the Buhari’s Kitchen cabinet, the only other supporter Magu has, apart from the SGF, is the National Security Adviser, NSA, Babagana Mungono.
Interestingly, the group against Magu, found a willing ally in the President of the Senate, Senator Bukola Saraki, who as a person, would obviously have done anything within his powers to ensure Magu was not confirmed for a number of reasons. Magu, as Head of Economic Governance Unit of the EFCC, had investigated Saraki, as Kwara state governor, including his role in the collapse of the Societe General Bank. Again, while Saraki was still standing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, Magu, made attempt to incarcerate Saraki’s wife, Toyin, for money laundry allegations. With Saraki’s own personal experience in the hands of Magu, he was said to have told every of his colleagues who cared to listen that confirming Magu, would be tantamount to signing their “Warrant of Arrest.” Therefore, once the relationship between Saraki and the presidency improved, it did not take time before the DG, SSS, who never wanted Magu on the job, linked up with Saraki, who had been “waiting” for Magu, to tidy up the “Operation stop Magu,” campaign. And the report from the DSS, indicting Magu, on two separate occasions, notwithstanding the clean bill handed him by the presidency, after the first DSS report in December, indicting him, did the magic.
Magu, no doubt knows the job, but he appears to lack the tactics and strategies of not just doing the job, but also staying on the job. Another big mistake he was said to have made was his inability to win the confidence of his staff, at the EFCC. Just like the presidency was divided on Magu, the EFCC staff was also divided. The division was between the core staff, fighting for the control the Commission and those on secondment, especially from the police, who incidentally have been controlling the Commission, since inception.
The acting EFCC chairman, it was further learnt, resumed at the EFCC with an unfriendly stance against the core staff, who though are in the majority, yet are the most oppressed in the Commission. These set of staff, Daily Sun gathered, wasted no time in reporting Magu to different quarters, with petitions. This was why, while he was acting, he was left unattended to for about a year, until the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, sent his name to the Senate, in December last year, when he first acted as President. Curiously, at the time his nomination was awaiting Senate’s attention; other candidates were been interviewed for the same job.
With his rejection yesterday by the Senate, having failed the “integrity test,” according to the Senate, Magu, has come to the end of the road, as far as his career at the EFCC, is concerned. He should by now be heading to Louis Edet House, for further posting, as he can no longer continue as acting chairman of EFCC, just as it is unlikely that he would ever be re-nominated.