All things considered, I hold the strong view now that President Buhari’s anti-corruption project is under heavy threat by some corrupt and diabolic elements in the DSS and the Senate of the Federal Republic. I am of the opinion that unless the President and the Vice President do something tangible to stop the drift, they may lose the momentum and the strong pillar that prepared the ground for the smooth ride to power in 2015. The promise to fight corruption to a standstill in Nigeria and release funds for projects was the principal reason why Nigerians voted for PMB in 2015 after three attempts in 2003, 2007 and 2011. The president has done well so far given the monumental achievements recorded by EFCC, ICPC and the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-corruption led by Professor Itse Sagay. This regime would have achieved more than what we have now if it had paid attention to behind the scene moves during the formative stages leading to the emergence of the 8th Senate.
The emergence of Bukola Saraki as the Senate President and the opposition as the Deputy Senate President remain a fundamental mistake the leadership of APC made. This grave mistake is still haunting the APC Presidency till date. Corrupt elements in Nigeria have teamed up with the duo to circumvent every attempt to take the fight against corruption to another level. Senator Saraki is facing corrupt charges at CCT and yet he still sits as the president of the Senate. It has not happened before. The late Chuba Okadigbo was impeached. Evan Enwerem stepped aside and so was Adolphus Wabara for similar offenses. But here is Saraki sitting tight in the Senate and going to CCT.
This is an aberration, an affront, an attack on the integrity of this government, an attack on constituted authority and an attack on civilization.
Now Saraki, Ekweremadu and other Senators have ganged up against EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, working in tandem with some funny characters at DSS office. But DSS is under the control of the President. So what is going on? I am told that the Senate hurriedly rejected Magu based on the baseless and cooked up report from DSS directly under the Presidency. This is unbelievable. Are we suggesting that those appointed by the President are now too powerful to work against the President? What is the meaning of all this? When a dog bites its owner, the dog must die. Chief MKO Abiola once said so.
Today I read a front page report on The Nation’s Newspaper why they are against the Acting Chairman of EFCC. The Nation says “The Governors are not happy because of the probe of alleged diversion of 19 billion, part of the 388.30b Paris Club Refund. The Senators are not happy because Magu’s refusal to stop investigation or trial of no fewer than 10 Senators for alleged corruption: there are also some high profile suspects being probed who are angry THAT EFCC will not stop their investigation”
Given the report above and what we knew already, it is crystal clear that the fight against corruption is under threat from some powerful quarters and unless President Buhari carries the big stick, we may lose the war against corruption.
I am told by eminent lawyers like Femi Falana, Wahab Shittu and others that Magu can be represented again or allowed to do his work in acting capacity as the president deems fit. I support this 120% beyond mathematics. Friends and President Buhari’s associates tell me that Commander in Chief is treading softly so that he will not be termed a dictator. Now we have to perish this thought. The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has enormous and unprecedented powers to get things done in the National interest. Few corrupt and totally irredeemable savages cannot hold 160 million Nigerians hostage. President Buhari had a full dose of military trainings across the globe and dealing with mischief makers should not pose a serious problem. President Buhari can consult his colleagues in the original constituency to deal with trouble makers. Senator Saraki cannot be going to court to face corrupt charges and at the same time sitting tight as the president of the 8th Senate. Senator Ike Ekweremadu from PDP cannot remain the Deputy Senate President. That position belongs to APC, all things considered.
I do not want to believe that President Buhari, who contested presidential elections in 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2015 is now too weak to take the bull by the horns. I do not want to accept this.
This President is still the man Muhammadu Buhari we all know. Now the first step to address this challenge is to sack the DSS boss for working in tandem with enemies to ridicule the presidency and for submitting two reports about Magu to the Senate on the same day. It shows complicity, subversion, sabotage, insubordination, betrayal, abuse of office and disrespect to the presidency. If the president fails to do this, his supporters would have no choice than to run away with the thinking that President Buhari has appointed some people who are now so powerful that they do not know their limits.
Joe Igbokwe writes from Lagos.