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Weekly political notes

By Samson Ezea
18 March 2017   |   4:00 am
“In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption stand of the current government,” the SSS report, read by Melaye, stated.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo and President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Again, Senate Rejects Magu As EFCC Chairman
The Senate has again rejected the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), after the State Security Service (SSS) reaffirmed its position that the nominee lacks integrity to lead the country’s anti-corruption agency.

Magu was rejected on Wednesday, after his appearance before the Senate for his confirmation hearing during which Dino Melaye raised the SSS report, dated March 14.

“In the light of the foregoing, Magu has failed the integrity test and will eventually constitute a liability to the anti-corruption stand of the current government,” the SSS report, read by Melaye, stated.

Although, Magu tried to answer questions put to the satisfaction of the lawmakers, senators challenged his suitability given the report against him by the SSS.

Magu questioned the credibility of the SSS, which he said dispatched two reports on him with varying contents the same day. There is no doubt that President Buhari, his cabal and the Senate are using Magu’s confirmation to play politics. It is obvious that Magu’s confirmation and position is being politicised for reasons best known to those behind it. The presidency, especially President Buhari cannot claim ignorance of this, when his kinsman in the DSS is the arrowhead. If Buhari and his cabal don’t want Magu, which is now obvious, it is better they replace him and save the country further embarrassment.

Which mysterious DSS security report was Dino Melaye referring to? Why Melaye of all the senators and how did he come about the report? Was it not the same Magu that was allegedly investigated and cleared by Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami on the orders of President Buhari? Is the DSS saying that the AGF did a shoddy job or that the Presidency was wrong?

Meanwhile, anybody who has followed the drama that has characterised Magu’s confirmation will not be surprised by the Senate’s position, especially that of Senator Melaye. It is quite unfortunate that the Senate and the cabal in the presidency have formed strong alliance against Magu for selfish reasons. President Buhari, Nigerians will like to know your true position on this.

Buhari Resumes Work, Writes NASS
Just as he promised last Friday, when he returned from medical vacation in London, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday morning resumed official duties at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He wrote a letter to the National Assembly to notify lawmakers that he had reported for work, the way he did when he departed for London nearly two months ago.

Buhari arrived at his office about 11am, after which his Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, came, obviously to pick up the letter for the lawmakers.

By noon, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo walked from his office to the President’s office to meet with Buhari. After the meeting, Osinbajo said he had handed power back to President Buhari, whom he declared as “over-ready” and healthy enough to resume official duties.

No doubt, President Buhari’s return last week Friday has doused the tension in the polity over his state of health and its consequences. This has also relieved Buhari’s friends, relations and well-wishers of anxiety. But Buhari’s sudden resumption of official duty on Monday, after he had said on his arrival that his Vice, Osinbajo would continue to act, while he (Buhari) rests for a while looks suspicious and calls for concern. Why the sudden u-turn by Buhari? Hope he is strong enough now to withstand the daily hectic rigours associated with his office.

Let it not be that Buhari was prodded by the cabal to change his mind and resumed duty on Monday to hang on to power. If not, why was it that a press statement was quickly issued by the Presidency to counter Buhari’s earlier public statement on his resumption plan. Why was the rest cut short? Or were there secret and urgent matters Buhari must attend to by himself?

Well, Buhari should know that his health is paramount, more than anything, not even the Office of the President of Nigeria. Because when the chips are down, there is alternative to the Nigerian president, but no alternative to his life. If Buhari is truly fit enough to do the job as stated by Osinbajo, so be it.

Of utmost importance and concern is for the job to be done very well, not to be done by the cabal in the Presidency hiding under Buhari’s cover. Mind you, the cabal were not elected by Nigerians.

Obasanjo Speaks On Malabu $1.1b Scandal, Tackles Adoke
Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday warned a former Attorney-General of the Federation, Bello Adoke, to cease further mention of his name in the controversial $1.1b Malabu Oil deal.

Obasanjo said he considered the controversial award of OPL 245 oil field licence as the “height of corruption,” and, as such, could not have participated in negotiations that led to it.

“I don’t support that kind of conduct,” Mr. Obasanjo said. The rebuttal came a day after Mr. Adoke distributed excerpts of a petition he sent to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, alleging victimisation and persecution by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Adoke told his successor to call the anti-graft agency to order because he was not the only official who acted on behalf of Nigeria in brokering the Malabu Oil deal with international oil majors that included Shell and Eni. He specifically mentioned Obasanjo’s name, alongside his two successors and their appointees.

While Obasanjo’s reaction is not unexpected knowing his style, it is now left for Adoke to prove him wrong. It is hoped that Adoke has substantial evidence to buttress his allegation. It is expected that these latest revelations, allegations and counter allegations will help the anti-graft agency (EFCC) to conclude the endless oil saga.

Instead of being on the run and leveling allegations, Adoke should make himself available to the anti-graft agency to prove his innocence. Nigerians cannot wait to see him do so and at the same time explain in details the alleged role of Obasanjo, his successor, late Umaru Musa Yar Adua, the then minister of Justice, Bayo Ojo and others in the messy oil deal.

Well, Adoke, hope your case will not be like that of former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musliu Obanikoro and the EFCC in the arms deal saga. Just like Adoke, Obanikoro while overseas ran riot with his mouth, claiming innocence, only for the music to change when he made himself available to the EFCC. Today, Obanikoro is as quiet as a graveyard. Why?

Sheriff, Makarfi Bicker Over Governors’ N50m Stipend
ARE the party’s governors giving N50 million monthly to the Markarfi-led caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)? 
The accusation and counter accusation were exchanged on Tuesday by the caretaker committee chairman of the party, Senator Ahmed Makarfi and the factional national chairman of the party, Senator Ali-Modu Sheriff.

Deputy National Chairman of Sheriff faction, Dr. Cairo Ojougboh, alleged that Makarfi’s opposition to the planned convention stemmed from a N50 million monthly subvention the caretaker committee has been collecting from the party’s governors.

“They know that the N50 million monthly subvention Makarfi gets from the governors will stop after the reconciliation and convention. They know that as soon as the ongoing reconciliation pulls through they will no longer exist.”

But spokesman of the Makarfi group, Dayo Adeyeye described Ojougboh’s allegation as blackmail that is too cheap and simplistic.

With this development, it is obvious that there may be no end to the crisis in the PDP soon. At a time, it appeared there was some silver lining, but no sooner the major actors returned to their trenches to the disappointment of many. What a setback!!!. One thing these actors and their supporters in the party have failed to realise is that Nigeria needs a virile opposition now more than before. And there is no alternative to the PDP.

But not helping matters in this crisis is the quietness or aloofness of some party leaders, especially the governors. Is this a sign that the much-talked political solution was not agreed upon by all of them? It appears some have decided to remain mute and see what will become of the leadership duel between Makarfi and Sheriff pending at the Supreme Court.

Curiously, the Bayelsea State governor, Seriake Dickson seems to be aligning with the Sheriff camp. Is there anything he is seeing alongside his kinsman and ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan that other party leaders are not seeing? Whatever is the case, it will be a huge disappointment to Nigerians and big shame on the PDP leaders if the party dies in their hands. There is urgent need for the party leaders to drop their ego, overlook the N50m allegation and move the party forward in the interest of democracy.