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Akunyili and Magu as examples


Late Prof. Dora Akunyili

Late Prof. Dora Akunyili

Sir: When former President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Dora Akunyili as the Director General of NAFDAC in April 2001, Akunyili started reforming NAFDAC from a docile agency to a very active one.

The reforms she carried out at NAFDAC with the support of the then President, Obasanjo was not because the president asked her to reform NAFDAC, but it was because of her passion and love for her country.

She carried out her duties diligently without caring whose ox was gored. She made a lot of Nigerians conscious of NAFDAC and its activities. Nigerians began to check for expiry dates on products they wanted to buy, especially drugs. NAFDAC became the most popular government agency during her spell there.

There were many directors of agencies and heads of parastatals during her stint but Akunyili worked to distinguish herself from the crowd just like Daniel in the Holy Bible “who purposed in his heart not to defile himself with the king’s meat”.

Former President Obasanjo gave the same instruction he gave to Akunyili to other members of his government; the difference was that Akunyili saw it as a responsibility and a rare opportunity to solve a challenge Nigeria was plagued with.

Enter Magu, a former Director of Operations at EFCC and now the Acting EFCC Chairman. I see it as a mockery of the intelligence of Nigerians, to say that it is because of Buhari’s anti-corruption stance that EFCC started doing its already established work of going after corrupt Nigerians.

Lack of strong institutions seems to be the major problem with the Nigerian system. Everybody is waiting for the leader to tell
him to work, not minding the fact that salary is statutory. That explains the reason everything seemed to be at a standstill during the last year of Yar’Adua as President.

U.S. President Barack Obama once said that Africa needed strong institutions and not strong leaders. Once we have strong institutions, Nigerians would not be too bothered about the postures of a president, because institutions will function properly whether the president is interested in a matter or not. It is obvious to everyone in Nigeria that the EFCC will go back to sleep once Buhari leaves office, which should not be the case.

EFCC has not been successful in prosecuting corrupt government officials, simply because EFCC has been building a house from the roof downwards, instead of building from the foundation upwards. EFCC has been prosecuting suspected corrupt government officials in the media, instead of gathering enough evidence first. We all know that after all the media trial, you still have to go to court to prove your case and sadly that is when EFCC usually starts to gather evidence.

The way forward is for EFCC to stop all the media trial that takes no one to jail. EFCC should gather enough evidence and assemble a good prosecuting team before heading to court. It is foolishness to continue to apply the same method that has yielded no positive result and expect things to change. Magu should focus on building EFCC into a strong institution just like Akunyili did with NAFDAC.

Nigeria can have strong institutions once people in authority and citizens alike take it as a responsibility to do the right thing irrespective of the posture of the president in power.

Chuka Igwegbe
Awka, Anambra State.

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1 Comment

    Dear Chuka, your letter was nothing but undisputed and your view was objective. Thank you for it.