By Yinka Odumakin
IT is a well known fact that Vice President, VP, Yemi Osinbajo,a Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, forwarded the name of the Acting chairman of the EFCC Mr. Ibrahim Magu to the Senate for confirmation when he acted for the President during his first 10-day leave to London. It is therefore natural that he would want his nomination to sail through.
In his letter read on the floor of the Senate on 14th July,2016 Prof. Osinbajo quoted copiously from the EFCC Act to support his nomination.He wrote as follows in one of the paragraphs :
“Apart from other ex-officio members of the Commission provided for in section 2, The Act also provides for four eminent Nigerians with any cognate experience of the following that is finance, banking, law and accounting. Section 2 (3) further provides that chairman and members of his Commission other than ex-officio members shall be appointed by the president and the appointment shall be subject to confirmation of the Senate.”
As the VP letter was going to the Senate,the Directorate of State Security, DSS,also forwarded its own letter to the Senate in which it claimed that Magu is ethically challenged and would not be suitable to head the anti-graft body. After sundry allegations against Magu the secret police concluded:“In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.”
It was on the basis of the letter that Ibrahim Magu was rejected by the Senate after which the President constituted a committee of the Vice-President and the Attorney General of the Federation. Their findings were not made public. But a much more damning report was forwarded to the AGF by the DSS.
The presidency however presented Magu to the Senate saying it was satisfied with his response to his indictment but in what appeared a clear vote-of -no-confidence on it,the DSS wrote to the Senate on the eve of his second appearance insisting on its early report on the nominee.The Senate rejected him for the second time based on the security.The woeful performance of Magu during his second appearance during which he could not say the total amount of loot the agency has recovered became secondary in the consideration.
The rejection of Magu by the Senate for the second time required that he quit as Acting Chairman of the EFCC and for the president to nominate another person. But impunity Nigerians has seen him carrying on with his vuvuzelas huffing and puffing all over the place.They included very senior lawyers who should have guided the administration.
We do not have the best Senate in the land today but Magu supporters refused to interrogate why the DSS that reports to the presidency would mount roadblock against its appointee without consequence and their mouths would be full of foam against the Senate and not the source of Magu’s problem.
Consultancy is not a crime in the land and the misconduct of these fellows can be excused. But the same cannot be said of the Vice-President who is the most advanced legal mind in the presidency and a Pastor in addition who few days ago joined those confusing the people on a very clear issue .
The VP who was quoting copiously the EFCC Act when he forwarded Magu’s name to the Senate suddenly became a typical Nigerian politician who changes the goal post after a goal has been scored when he said :
“I agree with Mr. Falana that there was no need in the first place to have sent Magu’s name to the Senate, but we did so and it was rejected by the Senate, but I believe that it can be re-presented. I don’t think there is anything wrong about the fact that Senate has rejected him. “Senate has acted in its own wisdom to say ‘no, we don’t want him’, and we can say ‘this is our candidate… we like the gentleman and we want him to continue.”
The position of Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) that the politician in our VP was agreeing with was the nebulous interpretation of section 171 of the 1999 constitution which says:
“(1) Power to appoint persons to hold or act in the offices to which this section applies and to remove persons so appointed from any such office shall vest in the President.
(2) The offices to which this section applies are, namely ¬
(a) Secretary to the Government of the Federation;
(b) Head of the Civil Service of the Federation;
(c)Ambassador, High Commissioner or other Principal Representative of Nigeria abroad;
(d) Permanent Secretary in any Ministry or Head of any Extra-Ministerial Department of the Government of the Federation howsoever designated; and
(e) any office on the personal staff of the President.”
It is not difficult for even non-lawyers to see that an agency like EFCC set up by an Act of Parliament does not fall under this provision of the constitution.The following parastatals are listed under the Ministry of Justice for which the President can appoint Acting Heads and EFCC is clearly not among :
The Nigerian Law School
National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons and Other Related Matters, NAPTIP, Nigerian Law Reform Commission, Nigerian Copyright Commission, Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, Regional Centre For International Commercial Arbitration Legal Aid Council.
This very disingenuous attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the Nigerian public will definitely haunt Mr VP for the rest of his life.Another one bites the dust!
Re: Emir Sanusi and gullible Republic of Nigeria
THERE is one unique thing about Nigeria that marvels the entire world. It is some sort of uniqueness that has metamorphosed over the years into different shades and forms. It is multi-faceted and most often, challenges the reality of our ego better way of life. It is in that uniqueness that millions of people toil day and night to make ends meet; only for them to be rewarded by striking institutions and decaying infrastructure.
They still wave aside all disappointments and manage to get decent sleep in the midst of thundering generator noise (and darkness in some homes). It is still surprising that the Guinness Book of Records hasn’t named Nigeria as the country with the highest number of electrical engineers. Everyone knows how to change over from generator to electricity and sometimes, this can happen up to fifteen times a day.
For a male to get a haircut in Nigeria, means that he has to ask if the barber has fuel and a functional generator. We have come to accept, imbibe and endure the smell of premium motor spirit; a Nigerian needs no professional to detect adulterated fuel. In that strange uniqueness, the potholes on the roads have no more space in our consciousness. We would simply hope that there would be no harsh rain, cruel enough to wipe off the little tar that is left. It is a uniqueness that has enabled State Governments to become monarchies, headed by ‘elected’ governors and their family members. The Chief of Staff could be the brother to the governor and the rest of the cabinet will be his cousins and friends. A society that has chosen a constant romance with mediocrity, yet her leaders wish to be addressed as ‘your excellency’.
Not quite long ago, Governor Adulaziz Yari of Zamfara State announced that the outbreak of Meningitis was an act of God.
According to him, God is punishing Nigerians for adultery. It would have not been possible for him to make that utterance if there was a close aide that thought any differently. There would have been an objection to that opinion, there would have been a NO in the midst of all the sycophantic YES’ that our leaders crave so much. Only a conglomeration of friends and relatives with the same exact ideas and outlook on life, could have given a nod to such an assertion…with a combination of gross ignorance of course. Perhaps to him and…them, Ebola might have been a punishment meted out to Liberia, simply because her citizens are blacks.
In some sort of unique paradoxes, the former CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido would marry a 17 year old girl but still come out to lend his voice to girl child education, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo would call himself a Statesman after almost destroying what is left of our democracy with his third term agenda and successive governors of Abia State would neglect the pressing need to make that state livable yet the pictures they sponsor on TV adverts paint an Eldorado.
Nigerians have come to realise that they spend so many years getting educated, only to graduate into unemployment. Other countries look at us and wonder if the system prepares youths to fail, before ever they can make an attempt in life. In this unique present, the government’s drive for increased Internally Generated Revenue has made those at the top to forget that certain small scale businesses need tax holidays to survive. Instead, the decadent tradition of multiple taxation still continues in many states and yet the government expects Made In Nigeria goods to thrive.
If they cannot be provided with electricity to operate, why not grant them tax breaks for a limited time? That same uniqueness manifests brazenly in the ruling class. Despite the fact that the ruling elite in Nigeria are amongst the most learned in the world, they haven’t performed any better than their uniformed predecessors. Upon assuming office they become concerned with the little things that matter… like the need to include Arabic education in the curriculum of a secular country , the need to create grazing lands for a few men with cows; thereby disinheriting millions of others and the need to refurbish their offices and gain more allowances.
They will choose to stand aside and remain aloof now that these echoes of secession have become louder than ever, instead of tackling the issues head on; because they know that they still stand to gain whether things fall apart or not. In that all so queer uniqueness, millions of youths still storm out to support politicians who have done nothing for them. Politicians whose families are hidden in Europe and whose homes have become resting places for looted funds.
Not many ask whether they are for us or against us. In their campaign rallies, they would rather not explain how they will work things out; they would prefer to declare agendas…narrowing them into 7point or 8point and even the not so forgotten vision2020. Now that the year 2020 is upon us, many are yet to look beyond the deceptive cloak that is PDP and APC, to carefully examine the assembly of vultures that have come to tear out whatever good that Nigeria has a chance of ever achieving. If we were a forward-thinking nation, our leaders would have known that the only way to smite the head of the powerful establishment holding us down in this pre-arranged 13th century fiefdom, is to push religion away from our national life. If God would punish the sexually immoral with Meningitis, then what about politicians that brood over criminality?
We are past the age and time when our spiritual beliefs dictate our common sense; it remains weird that such weapon of ignorance is still used by the ruling class till today.
-Dr. Ejinkeonye Ikenna.