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House of Commotion and Levity

By Dr. Ugoji Egbujo

It’s the Department of State Security, and another shocker . This time they have taken on their sibling – the EFCC. The report at the centre of it all , has contents more historical than revelatory. But like all developments in Nigeria, that ‘kpanla’ is the juicy meat of another party. The drama is every inch perplexing. The senate has been visibly ecstatic. A multitude of conjectures has been deemed sufficiently disqualifying . Magu is therefore unfit to head the EFCC , on a more permanent basis. The work of many unseen hands. But it is to the senators, the trigger has been assigned. And with glee they have pulled it. They are wringing their hands now, and deflecting blames in the direction of the DSS. And the presidency? Utterly Confused , abjectly unfathomable.

Like everything else in government here, private interests are paramount. The senate had risen in the wake of the arrests of some judges by the DSS to howl about the meddlesomeness and overreach of that agency. Then you could mistake them for defenders of democracy. The judges’ ordeal they announced , was a foretaste to something darker . So they howled and howled to keep a ravenous wolf at bay. The DSS is not the police, we heard them shouting. They must concern themselves with only issues of grave national security consequences, they screamed. That was then. Now the DSS has played another card with their report and the senate is seduced. With it, the senate didn’t need to concoct reasons for doing what they had always wanted to do – stop Magu!

Wouldn’t some people claim that the senate leadership has been demonstrably petty and vindictive? The squabbles with the EFCC predated Magu. EFCC’s net was once full with Saraki issues: crying wife, fugitive manager, delinquent companies. The senate president dropped his gloves and went after the then EFCC chairman, Lamorde. Magu inherited sufficient bad blood. If he was going to succeed, he wasn’t going to genuflect to Saraki. And since senators had made Saraki synonymous with the senate, a collision was inevitable.

The EFCC was been branded Buhari’s instrument of tyranny by the lawmakers. Privately, the senators described the acting EFCC chairman Magu as insufferably arrogant. That shouldn’t be a surprise. An assumed inferior who can neither be bullied nor bought must be self conceited. Magu , we all knew, had formidable adversaries. We thought the president knew that too.

And that is why the open involvement of the DSS is particularly intriguing. When Ribadu went for jugular of the Inspector General of Police, it was with Obasanjo’s consent. The DSS reports to the president. The president, we must assume, also wants Magu to remain EFCC chairman. The fight against corruption, besides that against boko haram, is about the only thing the government has started in earnest. The president believes corruption can kill the country. How can he author this confusion? This isn’t circus time. And it isn’t even about a bumbling Dalung and a peripheral ministry of youths and sports in perpetual confusion. How then did we come to this pass? President Buhari has become an enigma.

Sometime last year he found Magu worthy of leading the war against corruption. He must have had security men dissect his entrails before that decision. After one year, he seemed satisfied with his performance and personal integrity. He decided to reward him. He submitted his name to the senate. This DSS report, the senate is brandishing now, must have yellowed somewhere around Buhari. The bulk of its largely trite historical content he must be conversant with. Could he have dismissed it as unconvincing , weightless? And could that be the reason Magu is still on that seat? There could be more. So the president cannot now be ordering any kind of investigation on Magu without appearing thoroughly negligent. The public waited to hear the superior reasons he relied on to keep faith with Magu despite that report. And that is why many are baffled by his diffidence and prevarication.

The president couldn’t have been waiting for the the senate to nudge him, that will be very concerning. An Army General may not know modern economics but he should understand responsiveness and decisiveness.

But where is coherence in the presidency? A bleating country has no spare effort to dissipate ruing these ugly spectacles. That DSS report may actually contain facts. But forgive me dear Lord, it looks so much like uncle Fayose’s scripts. That indecorous crossing of boundaries just to peddle chaff. Who else could contradict, so petulantly? The president says Magu is fit, the DSS says Magu is unfit.

The president’s position is utterly incompatible with the DSS position. The president’s reputation is at stake. Perhaps we wont make sense of this riddle until we let our minds roam and interrogate without discretion. The DSS was sent by the president to dig up dirt on his preferred choice for the headship of the foremost anti corruption agency in the country? That’s too preposterous. Ok, they weren’t sent by the president. They are an independent institution. And in furtherance of the president’s non interference policy, they are allowed to do their work unhindered.

But isn’t this the Third World where no one reports speculative findings to the adversaries of the administration that employed him, and can send him into oblivion? No, the senate is not an adversary. Saraki is now very chummy with the president. Realignments are taking place. Did the president read this report when it was sent to him? Or he didn’t read it at all? Haba, he reads even newspapers, very often. He is tired of separating quarrelsome children , so he wants them to slug it out publicly.

Buhari couldn’t have submitted Magu’s name for confirmation without a thorough and exhaustive consideration. We can make that assumption. Or should we just stop assuming? No, you cannot stop, go on. That letter of nomination to the senate says , essentially: on my honour, this man, Magu, is a fit and proper person to lead the war against corruption. Can that statement be made with levity? Levity is swirling around us. Really? Yes! Have you ever wondered why Dalung is still there? Even fathers sometimes disown their sons, when all they bring is shame. We are swimming in levity, my friend. But seriously, how could the DSS not know that they contradicted the president? They should do that more often! Their loyalty is to the nation? Exactly! But haven’t they questioned or perhaps ridiculed the capacity of the president to make good judgments , and done so publicly? The president should question their capacity to do objective and serious investigations. ‘Abi’?

You know what levity is? Levity is the president failing to address the implications of his nominee for such an important job being turned down in circumstances that are unforgivably ridiculous. You have a point!

My friend, if Obasanjo were president , the DSS would not go to the senate and mock his intelligence. And if he handed the matter to the Attorney General then, it would be to give the DSS report a decent burial. But president Buhari wants to stay above the fray, he is too clean for dirty politics. And the minor political issues are allowed to turn into embarrassing purulent sores. You think the Attorney General won’t be fair to Magu? My friend, may you not be delivered into the hands of your enemies. Amen sir!

Na wa for dem and Buhari oo!


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