March 15, 2017 will remain a special date in the life of the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu. With permutations and opinions across the country about the confirmation of the corruption-fighting expert, one had the inkling that the man who many considered “good” for the job may after all not get the job. This assumption is rooted in the information available in some quarters about his misdeeds since his assumption of office as the helmsman of the commission. As a matter of fact, besides the openly known fact about Magu, the battle he has been fighting within the commission is even more. Assuming he got the Senate nod, his performance as EFCC Chairman will be hugely hindered given the fact that he is not generally accepted by the core staff within the commission.
The hurdles before Magu were clearly more than he could overcome. On December 15, 2016, the corruption czar appeared before the Nigerian Senate for confirmation as requested by President Muhammadu Buhari, who wanted him to continue his work. But owing to the overwhelming incriminating reports by the Department of State Service, which revealed the extent of the corrupt practices perpetrated by the corruption fighter, he couldn’t secure the needed support to get him transformed from acting to full fledge chairman of the EFCC. But believing he has the power and needed political backings, Magu ingeniously had his name resubmitted to the same Senate, which had once rejected him for confirmation.
The fireworks against his confirmation have not been subdued. According to a publication from an online newspaper, The Reflector Newspaper (www.thereflector.com.ng), which claimed to have inside stories of how Magu runs the commission, it became obvious that the people he is preparing to lead are not actually willing to follow him. Instead, they are bent on bringing him down. In one of The Reflector Newspaper publications, tagged: “Magu of EFCC,” the paper said in an attempt to whip up all to silence, Magu decided to malign and bully the core staff members of the Commission with impunity, an accusation he has yet to deny. He acted and impressed it on the core workforce that no one can stop him as if he is above the law. The anti-graft agency boss is not ashamed that several nominations had previously been sent to the Senate for confirmation and got lawmakers’ nod, but his case has remained a mirage.
Magu’s desire to undermine the works of his colleagues, most especially the core staff of the commission, is a cankerworm that craves for destruction if he needs to be salvaged. It is a pity that the likes of Magu failed the approval needed for his confirmation by the Senate. The question that comes to mind is: if the allegation of distrust and undermining of staff as alleged is true, would he have been able to achieve anything on the job even if approved? Maybe we should ask for the reasons why most cases are not concluded?
The letters written by the DSS to query some of his misdeeds are enough to disqualify him, but as an average Nigerian, Magu will definitely want to push through luck when he ought to have thrown in the towel. The accusation against him is the same corruption he wants to fight. The possibility of achieving any meaningful result in his efforts to fight corruption in Nigeria is highly uncertain. How can corruption fight corruption? Magu should consider himself unfit, unsuitable and lack integrity as said by the Senate to lead the commission he claimed to ‘love’. If an opportunity presents itself in the future, Magu should understand that the best way to lead is to follow. That is how most leaders get things done. His failure to respect constituted authority is a mistake, the core staffs remain EFCC personnel while for him, sustaining the job is now unpredictable.
. Ogunseye writes from the United Kingdom.