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Buhari’s anti- corruption war room needs an adult with a whip

By Dr. Ugoji Egbujo

We can excuse the police. The police have not had time to join the  fight against corruption. Or perhaps they have not had the guile to pretend to be involved.  We have seen the DSS. The way they took on the judges you would think that they would have emptied the country of corrupt senior  civil servants and compelled a few senior police officers into prudent early retirement.


But it would seem the DSS has gone on  anti-corruption  holidays.  They  are perhaps simply keeping up with the Kardashians rather than with economic saboteurs. We have seen the Office of the Attorney General. They have fought the EFCC more than they have fought corrupt politicians.  They have seized the big nuts but have neither the willingness nor the  capability to chew.

Of course there is the EFCC. They have  taken  on cases headlong. But  they have  picked those cases  with a good dose of political wisdom. The EFCC blames  the judiciary for all its woes.  Their opponents say they are clumsy  witch-hunters. The DSS says they are incompetent and dubious. The Attorney General says they are insubordinate. The President sees them  being bullied and harassed, and sleeps on,  unperturbed.  Then there is the  legion of whistle blowers. They appear seasonally. They may be getting  their whistles ready.  It’s nearly  electioneering season. They’ve to entertain the electorate.

That is the president’s war room against corruption.  Riven by ego, hamstrung by selfishness,  shackled by vindictiveness, lost in the wilderness of internecine squabbles.  Destitute of cohesion, bereft of team spirit, disoriented by the  absence of  firm purposeful  authoritative leadership and direction.

Lest I forget. There is the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption. Members of this committee have cried themselves hoarse.  They have often sounded disappointed.  But they ought to be angry. They ought to have lost their temper.  They should have all resigned.  They believe the EFCC has performed fairly  creditably.

And I agree. They believe the office of the Attorney General is occupied by a Chameleon. They think that there are other highly placed vultures in this government  who are actively sabotaging the anti corruption war. If the EFCC has not been overrun, it is probably because this committee and a few individuals have stood behind it. But how much  longer an apparently  insouciant  president can endure  the committee’s petulance  remains to be seen.

There  is the Vice President. A professor of law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria. Soft spoken, honest, intelligent,  unobtrusive, hardworking. Ordinarily, this government that was hired to restore  law and order shouldn’t have a problem organizing a formidable war room against corruption.  The combination of  the  stone will of the president and the legal brain of his vice should have been unstoppable. But  it’s been absurd insipidity. The president’s wife  can explain it. She believes  the government has been hijacked.

The war against corruption  has been fought with curious circumspection.  The Vice President  has grown weary from  settling  internecine squabbles than marshaling the war. Some insiders  agree with the president’s wife.  They  agree  that the Vice President  doesn’t belong in the real  locus of power.

It is widely speculated  that given authoritative powers and a free hand, the Vice President can reform the anti corruption war room. But a beleaguered vice president, beset by the infernal nuisance of riotous  jackals and hyenas and the somnolence  of his principal, has been left to become a peripatetic  preacher of  optimism.

Buhari’s anti corruption war room isn’t therefore just a tower of babel. It is that synagogue where people come  in wearing  long  white  Pharisaical robes,  not  to worship, but to  nurse their selfishness and greed,  and to trade malice and blackmail. In the tower of babel, they didn’t understand each other. They innocently worked at cross purposes. In that synagogue filled with money changers, the  purpose of the synagogue was subverted by greed. They deliberately usurped and defiled the synagogue. They impoverished their souls to fatten their pockets.

How else can anyone explain  the travesty called  Abdulrasheed Maina?

In a tower of babel many people would have  tumbled over themselves to grab Maina.  But in that  commercial  synagogue,  Maina would be a  potential  lucrative commercial prospect. So those who got him first would  shield him from the prying eyes and greed of others until they made profit.

After Maina,  there is now Umar. And Danladi Umar is interesting. Umar is  supposed to be a commander in the Buhari’s anti-corruption war room. But he has a history with the EFCC. No one is guilty until convicted, so Umar remained Chairman of Code of Conduct Tribunal , the dark  clouds of criminal suspicions notwithstanding. The Senate President  was picked for prosecution in Umar’s tribunal. He questioned  the cleanliness of Umar’s hands and heart.

The EFCC told the public that it had searched and found Umar cleaner than a whistle. Prosecutors often cooperate with soiled hands to secure elusive convictions.  But this was a tribunal chairman.  The EFCC ought to have come  a little cleaner on Umar.  The drama has no end. Umar concluded Saraki’s trial  and  came to an acquittal  decision the EFCC rejected. The case went to an appellate court. Umar’s decisions  were  upturned on some counts.  The case was sent back to Umar. The EFCC pounced on Umar.

The EFCC  said  it had reviewed Umar and found that his  hands were  actually soiled. Criminal charges  were filed against Umar.  A microscopic review of  the filed  charges didn’t show anything not known in 2013 . So why the  baffling somersault? But you would think that the war room would back the EFCC and it’s desperation to land  corruption a punch, albeit below the belt.

The office of the Attorney General moved in swiftly. It gave the EFCC chairman two days to explain the UMAR embarrassment. The Attorney General obviously isn’t dealing with any  arbitrariness but some perceived  insubordination.  What is his motive? You can guess. The cat fight  it seems is being enjoyed by the old man.

Maina has subsided.  Malabu has taken its place. The Attorney General  cannot understand the president sometimes. The president sacked Maina whom he advised reinstated. He has asked the president to let Malabu rest in the interest of national prosperity but the president has treated him and his opinion with contempt.  The presidential advisory committee on corruption  must be seething. But they must make their position on the Attorney General louder and clearer. Perhaps, someday, the president would hear them.

Who would have imagined that Buhari , the Field Marshall of  the war against Indiscipline would return  and not match other African countries in the determination to contain corruption? Transparency International  data don’t lie.  Nigeria has slipped behind others.

The war room needs urgent sanitation.


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