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Shape of changes to come

By Ben Agande
The shape of changes in the country’s socio-political life conceived by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan is beginning to emerge and the effectuation of the plan is to start in the next five weeks if not days, Sunday Vanguard can reveal.

High on the list of the changes is the revitalization of the war against corruption for which former chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is being drafted from exile.

He is tipped as Special Adviser on Anti-Corruption and Transparent Governance to the Acting President.

Sources in Abuja say he is expected to return home with massive international goodwill and support which had waned following the circumstances of his exit in 2008.

Sources said much of the human and financial assistance extended to Nigeria by international governments and organisations in fighting corruption had dried up in the last two years, because the donors were not impressed with the lack lustre approach adopted by the Yar’Adua administration.

Ribadu, it was further gathered, will be returning with fresh ideas on how to fight corruption gathered in the course of his interactions with anti-corruption agencies and operatives during his exile.

It is expected that his planned appointment will renew people’s faith in the fight against corruption and instill confidence in foreign investors and the international community.

Said the source: “Ribadu will co-ordinate the activities of all the anti-corruption agencies.

“He may have made some mistakes in the past, but he has the zeal and commitment to wage the anti-corruption war.  His presence will give credibility to the new resolve of the new present administration to deal with corruption decisively”.

It was gathered that his dismissal from the Police will be converted to retirement.

As a prelude to that, he will appeal against the dismissal to the Police Service Commission for a review and “it is highly unlikely that the commission will be averse to a positive review”, sources said.

Sources also said the on-going interrogation of some ex-ministers by security agencies was in line with government’s resolve to deal with corruption”.

Besides, the Acting President plans to strengthen the capacity of anti-corruption agencies to deal with corruption.

“Government wants these agencies to be proactive in the fight against corruption”, sources said, adding, “The ICPC (Independent Corrupt Practices and other Offences Commission) has a very crucial role to play in this.  The commission as currently constituted does not fit into the programme of the Acting President on how to fight corruption.

A more proactive person, possibly a retired SSS personnel may be appointed.

New head for INEC

Also on the list of the planned changes is the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

The Acting President is already considering a successor to Prof. Maurice Iwu.

One source said: “In the case of the INEC chairman, it is certain that he would not be re-appointed for several reasons. The Acting president wants to ensure that the election reform is implemented to the letter and he is convinced that the present leadership of the commission is not in a position to carry out this reform.

“There has been intense lobbying by various political and other interest groups on who should be appointed but the search has been zeroed down to former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore. It is because he has not formally accepted to serve that his name has not been forwarded to the National Assembly”.

He has a name to protect, he cannot be pushed around by politicians and he commands the respect of most Nigerians.  He is the ideal person for the job at this time”.


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