Deconstructing Magu and a chaotic presidency

I could not continue with the conversation on an ancient link: Moral Re-Armament (MRA) this week because there is a weightier matter of the law, which concerns a famous hunter, being hunted, Ibrahim Magu, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). He has been acting without confirm that anomaly several times on this page.

The ‘Trial of Brother Magu’ has attracted some groundswell of opinion. But at this juncture of our nationhood, I think we should be short on lamentation, which has never been a strategy. We should be long on lessons from our tragic errors. As all of us have become captive to poor leadership and followership here, we should begin to diagnose, underscore lessons, especially from where the rains began to beat us. I insist, reading from our books of lamentation in fine prose will not help us. We should begin to learn, unlearn and relearn how post-Covid-19 and all that stuff can be of benefits to a country the entire black race has been waiting for, Nigeria. We need to tell our leaders at this time that 21st century governance modules do not allow that enemy called procrastination.

We may suggest crucifixion of Brother Magu. We may mock him for his naivety and even arrogance of power. We may have been shaken by how an officer of that calibre could not always recall data to tell his stories or even defend himself. We may pillory him, or even tell him to perish for lack of knowledge of the power of the office of Attorney General of the Federation…, in the constitution. We may deride him for resorting to unethical media trials before investigations of suspects. We may celebrate his fall from grace to grass at this time – for insubordination to his supervising minister and for allegedly selling recovered loots unofficially. We may blame him for allowing a serving director in a certain Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF), for instance, who is facing trial and has forfeited several assets to the government to remain in his office in Abuja.

We may ask for Magu’s head for allegedly dining and wining with high profile suspects of means. We may scorn him for poor understanding of how a cabal functions in a curiously divided and parochial presidency. We may kick him for poor investigation of a former petroleum resources minister and his/her cronies. We are free at this time to suggest to Justice Ayo Salami Panel to dig deeper into how Magu and his boys might have mangled the case of Maina and his son on alleged pensions loot. We can even recall Magu’s curious handling of the NIA’s sensational ‘loot discovery’ and how a fine officer, the director-general of the NIA, Ambassador Ayo Oke lost his reputation and his job to an attention-seeking Magu and a careless presidency. We can even ask the respected Salami to look into how Magu’s EFCC helped to remove Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Hon.

Justice Walter Onnoghen in 2019 through a spurious allegation that there was some $3 million in the then CJN’s foreign account and 55 houses to his (Onnoghen’s) name – just to destroy. We may even ask the Deep called Salami to dig deeper into how a former Head of Service, Stephen Oronsaye, one of the pillars of formation of EFCC and NFIU (as an officer in the presidency), was put on trial for insisting on independence of the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), which he (Oronsaye) argued should not be affiliated to the EFCC according to the rules of the Egmont Group. There may be more offences beyond the AGF’s 22 documented ‘sins’ of Magu.

There are many more we may not remember now but let’s consider what is before us in a moment: Why can’t we pity a nation that has produced a presidency, which has in its fold several professors of law, and allows an officer of this calibre to commit all these offences unchecked for five years even without confirmation by the Senate? Can any member of Nigeria’s powerful NBA point to any jurisdiction in the world where a nominee to head a law enforcement/anti-graft agency, who was asked to act since November 9, 2015 and whose nomination was rejected by the Senate since 2017, would be asked to work illegally by the presidency till July 2020? Didn’t a Federal High Court in the same 2017 affirm the power of the Senate to confirm the Chairman of EFCC as the same Senate confirmed three others before Magu? Should the world not pity a nation whose Bar Association could condone a blatant lie orchestrated by an anti-graft commission (of the nation) against the Chief Justice of that country? As I have been asking, should even members of the United Nations not pity a nation whose citizens, notably public intellectuals and civil society organisations including the media kept quiet when state actors with the active support of the Attorney General and Justice Minster removed a Chief Justice of the Federation through an administrative tribunal, which set aside constitutional provisions for removal of the Chief Justice?

The conclusion of the whole matter is: the buck for diary of the Magu debacle stops at the table of our leader, Muhammadu Buhari whose procrastination triggered all the curiosities, all the questions. If he had paid attention to the letter the office of the Director General, Directorate of State Services (DSS) wrote to the Senate on this same Magu since 2016/2017, the threat to the foundation of his anti-corruption programme would have been averted. How and why did the president allow the chaos in his presidency to trigger the executive procrastination that has become a public relations tragedy? Let’s read some of the excerpts from the DSS letter, which, specifically concluded that Citizen Magu had failed “integrity test” at the Senate then.


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