President Muhammadu Buhari has been advised to sit up and assert his authority forthwith.
Some political associates of the President are of the view that the unfolding crisis over non confirmation of Mr Ibrahim Magu, as substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has once again brought to the fore the urgent need for the President to tighten his belt.
Recall that Mr. Magu was not confirmed by the Senate largely on account of the report by the Department of State Services, DSS, which accused him of some unwholesome practices, submitting that he will be a liability if confirmed as substantive Chairman of EFCC.
One of the insiders said the non confirmation of Magu is a clear sign of the division within the Presidency and now is the time for Buhari to act in the interest of the masses who voted him to power. The insiders argue that the so called cabal must be put into where they belong right away.
According to knowledgeable insiders, the cabal which has made the Buhari Presidency almost ineffective comprise two powerful groups. The first group is led by Mamman Daura, who is said to be very close to the President.
The group is believed to be the actual power behind the President, perhaps taking advantage of his ill-health. The second group comprise of those a source called the Tinubu cabal because their allegiance is largely to Bola Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos State. This group has people like Ibrahim Magu, CG Customs, Hameed Ali as members. The SGF Babachir Lawal oscillates between the Daura group and his allegiance to Tinubu at times.
The groups are apparently working at cross purposes, insiders said. Even more, one of Buhari’s associates said Magu and Lawal Daura, the DG DSS have become sources of embarrassment to the President and he needs to move fast to redeem his presidential authority.
Some of Buhari’s well-wishers argue that there is no need to re-present Magu to the Senate for confirmation as EFCC Chairman. “See the case of the handling of Paris Club refund. Buhari upon his return has hailed the way the governors handled the fund and he has even ordered a second tranche to be released to help the workers and the masses. But, what we have seen is that Magu’s allies have been harping on alleged fraud and investigation of the fund.
“Some of those involved have argued that no fraud was committed. I know the President knows the truth. Is Magu not aware? Why are his agents including those in the media sending the wrong signals just to discredit the government. Even when Magu has been urged to halt his so-called investigation given the facts at government’s disposal, his cronies in the media have continued to sing a different tune. Why?”
“Even he has not been able to announce how much he has recovered from corrupt people arrested so far….The president needed the information at some point but it was not available. What he was told was so insignificant, he was so embarrassed, he could not mention during October broadcast .We were shocked to see that even at his Senate hearing, he could not provide any specific figure how much was recovered. So, why must Magu continue leading EFCC when he has become such a source of embarrassment?”
When Buhari came to office he accused the CBN of receiving instructions and doling out billions recklessly on instruction given on mere sheets of paper. But no one has heard anything from Magu on the fraud in CBN nor the fraud from former governors.
A look at the EFCC now shows that the credibility has crashed when compared with the anti-graft agency led by its former chairman Nuhu Ribadu. Everybody was afraid of Obasanjo in those days because of Ribadu-led EFCC. In fact, two governors were practically removed over corruption case and they were not opposition governors.
“What you now have under Magu is that ex-governors are invited for questioning, released and while the so called prosecution is going on you will still find these people going about beating their chests, urging the EFCC to show evidence. Look at the case of Attahiru Bafarawa, Ex Governor Ibrahim Shekarau, Musa Kwankwaso and Sule Lamido of Jigawa and many others. What transpired between them and EFCC that they always feel confident to come and blast the commission or attack Buhari’s government? It means something is wrong. That would not happen under Obasanjo with Ribadu as EFCC chairman. What happened to the case of Issa Yuguda? Kwankwaso had case , he had to go into hiding. What happened afterwards? Ali Modu Sheriff has been accused of all manner of corruption but he is free.
“Why is the Magu targeting mostly ex-governors from the north?We understand it is simply because Magu is not fighting corruption but he is embarking on selective elimination of potential presidential candidates. There are reported cases of corruption in Lagos and Rivers and other states but Magu has pretended not to be aware, just going after northern targets.
He is even reported to be witch hunting staff of the commission. A social media activist and online publisher, Abubakar Sidiq (Abusidiq) was detained last year for exposing some of the rot within the EFCC under Magu’s watch. Some staff known to have links with some of the critical voices in the country have been sacked. He has used media platforms that are known within official circles to be close to him for a lot of propaganda. In fact, official secrets appear to have found their ways to such platforms in the name of investigative reports when people know those fact were merely handed over to such reporters.
Magu always talks about his decision to fight to the finish. But, why has he not arrested any of the National Assembly member and prosecuted them? Was he just treading softly so that he will have his way now only to bite them later? In which case it is his personal interest rather than national interest.
Magu does not deserve to be at the EFCC. But if Buhari decides to re-present him, he has to take a firm position on the Director General of DSS. Re-presenting Magu means the President disagrees with the DSS. Therefore, Lawal Daura must go if that is the case. If Buhari re-presents Magu’s name, it means a lot of things – One that he is not in tandem with DG DDS, which is very dangerous to the security of this country. It means that DG DSS does not report to Buhari and even when he heard , he did not make the DG to withdraw his allegation, it means double standard. Or is it that the DSS has no respect for the president. Does DSS nor report to the president? Does DSS people do what they want? Is this what he is paying back to the 100 million people that voted for him?
Has the DSS been wrong all along? If that is the case, Daura should not only be sacked but he should be prosecuted.
But the solution to all this crisis of confidence can only come from President Buhari, he must avoid the crisis of indecision which has trailed this government from inception till date. The president must know how to remove any official that is embarrassing his government. Failure to do that is undermining the credibility of the government.