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‘Magu’s non-confirmation exposes Mr. President’s weakness’


President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

The controversy generated by the Senate’s refusal to confirm the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has continued unabated with more divergent views emerging.

Some have insisted that Magu’s rejection did not only confirm the assertion that there is division in the ruling Party, but also shows that President Muhammadu Buhari is losing grip of his government.

Besides, others want the President to ‘speak up’ on the matter while some have asked the acting boss of the EFCC to step aside and defend himself against the allegations.

Convener of the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reforms (CODER), Chief Ayo Opadokun cautioned the presidency against the inherent dangers in not validating Magu’s selection as chairman.

Opadokun’s backing for Magu was based on the premise that anything to the contrary would whittle down the influence of the President among the Nigerian populace.

He alleged that the rejection of Magu by the Senate could not be divorced from the pending cases of criminal prosecution of some Senators at the instance of the anti-graft agency.

Furthermore, warned that the development could cost Nigeria some of her international supports on the war against corruption.

The former Secretary of the Yoruba socio-cultural organization, Afenifere who spoke at Offa, Kwara state during the annual convention of Offa Christian Indigenes Union (OCIU), said that Nigerian politicians were toying with the nation’s hard earned democracy.

His words: “If President Buhari fails to get Magu confirmed, no doubt about it, he would have lost significant portion of his admirers and those who voted for him. Anyone telling you anything contrary is deceiving him. And I believe that it is a misadventure that the President is now setting up a so-called committee to probe allegations made by DSS (Department of State Security) against Magu.

“That the man who is the arrowhead of the Buhari’s anti-corruption war is being humiliated in this manner is an unfortunate thing. It has become clear that the effort Magu is putting into the anti-corruption fight has led to national and positive understanding. The international community has been providing enough resources to support the anti-corruption struggle and now they are humiliating Magu. It is not in the best of our national interest. I daresay that we must be on our watch.”

For him, many of the incumbent Senators were hand-in-gloves with the junta, noting, “Most of those in the National Assembly today were in the Abacha’s five leprous fingers of one hand. They were roaming from one party to the other. When we were fighting for democracy they were hands-in-gloves with the military oligarchy. They must watch it and be careful.”

Furthermore, he maintained: “From all indications, the Coalition of Nigerians Against Corruption has given us sufficient indications the files found in Magu’s home were taken home by him to work on them. So why should that be a serious allegation against any serious officer. In any case, the coalition gave us sufficient indication of their knowledge that one of the files was that of the petition against the leaders of the Senate.

“So you expect such a Senate to confirm Magu as the substantive EFCC chair? We should understand the Nigerian Senate of today; out of the 109, there are practical evidences that almost one quarter among them are facing criminal prosecution. The former governors who are now so-called senators many of them are facing criminal prosecution. Some other politically exposed persons are facing criminal prosecution initiated by the EFCC. They in the National Assembly and their collaborators who are not there are combining forces together to deny Magu the chance of being confirmed. I think it is an unfortunate dimension to our national crisis. Our national crisis of identity is being further damaged by the conduct of the Nigerian Senate.”

Opadokun also queried Mr. President conduct and behaviour over Magu’s confirmation arguing that to the admirers and those who voted for him, it indicates that he has lost firm control of his government.

He added: “There are three major unfortunate developments that are showing a divided presidency. Clearly, perhaps the Buhari we thought we knew in the 80’s is totally a different personality now. Mark you, what was going for General Buhari that led many of us to whip up
sentiment in his support, to persuade and mobilize a large crowd of people both Christians and Muslims and those who don’t believe in anything that he was the right choice, was our understanding and belief that he is a clean person; that he has the capacity to fight corruption to a standstill; and that he is a marathon runner not a relay racer.

“Unfortunately, this Magu’s dimension has brought out a disappointing understanding of what Buhari could do. I daresay, the fact that the presidency sent the nomination of Magu to the Senate and it was there for six months and Mr. President could not get that name cleared and confirmed is a great disappointment. It is an indication of a fundamental inadequacy on his part.”

However, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Abeny Mohammed urged Magu to stand up and clear the air on the allegations of corruption leveled against him by the DSS.

Speaking with The Guardian yesterday, Mohammed said that the alleged silence of Magu on the allegations could mean consent and thus justify the Senate’s rejection of his confirmation.

Moreover, he pressed on Buhari to live up to his billing as the President, by ‘speaking up’ on sensitive issues to avoid unnecessary heating up of the polity.

“If we say that as a nation we are fighting corruption, we should not cover up an area and leave out others. The Senate has said that it is relying on the security reports by the DSS against Magu to refuse his confirmation for the substantive post of the Chairman of EFCC. But what is most baffling is the fact that both Magu and the Presidency that forwarded his name for confirmation has refused to accept or reject the allegations of the DSS,” he stated.

To him, Nigerians and other lovers of democracy the world over should also examine the other lead into the Senate’s stance on Magu as one allegedly taken to cover up the atrocities of some of the Senators especially the former Governors with pending corruption charges against them.

Said he: “The Senate may have ulterior motive on this issue. Remember that most of these senators were ex Governors who have cases with the EFCC. I will therefore wish that Magu come out and tell the world the truth about the allegations by the DSS.

“Besides, we have a President who is not always talking on sensitive issues. Buhari’s tactics are too military in nature. I don’t think democracy likes that attitude. He needs to talk more for Nigerians to understand many things shrouded in mysteries.”

The member of the inner Bar urged the Senate to make transparency its watch word on Magu’s case as the President has the Constitutional powers to renew his contract as a person in a temporary appointment stressing: “This will still confer on him all the powers of a substantive chairman.”

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1 Comment
  • Omooba A

    Mr. Opadokun should go back to school and learn politics 101 again. This is not dictatorship era and the check and balance between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial arms in the type of democracy that we are ‘practicing’ did not exclude this type of thing from happening. If everything the president want are rubber stamped for him, then he is more of a dictator than a democratically elected president. It happened in the USA where we copied our so-called democracy that not everyone their president nominated for a position are confirmed by the senate. Associating the action of the senate as a loss face for the president or weakness in the anti-corruption war is baseless. After all, Magu was with the EFCC prior to Buhari presidency and he was nominated because of his status with EFCC and if the senate found him not capable to run it, then someone should replace him. His rejection could be that the criminals in the senate are wary that Magu may be going after them especially the senate president with series of cases pending in court.