By Wole Arisekola
The appointment of 40 year old Abdulrasheed Bawa by President Muhammadu Buhari as the head of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), no doubt ushers in a new dawn at the anti graft agency that has over the years been riddled with leadership crisis since its establishment many years ago during the second term of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The nomination of the youthful and very thorough security operative to replace the embattled and suspended former chairman, Ibrahim Magu, will obviously set a new pace for the commission, what with Bawa’s track record of inimitable achievement as a ground breaker.
Since the laudable appointment of Bawa who is a Chief Detective Superintendent, mixed reactions have continued to trail his new office on account of those who dread what he can do if allowed to hold sway without any encumbrance.
As one of the earliest recruits into the commission at inception, without a police training and background, Bawa has assiduously worked in close contact with all the previous Chairmen of the commission, unblemished and diligently. His coming on board now as the chairman of EFCC comes with a varied wealth of experience in the fight against the hydra-headed monster of corruption and other financial vices.
Against the background that those before him as chairman of EFCC came from their privilege background as top police officers with insights into the workings of what goes on in high places viz-a-viz corruption, Bawa is coming in from a totally different and fresh background without being an appendage to anyone in the corridors of power, and may just be the breath of fresh air needed in the fight against corruption without fear or favour, a development that is giving many a reason to believe that the fight is already a win-win battle.
A trained security operative with a vast experience in investigation and prosecution of Advance Fee fraud cases, official corruption, bank fraud, money laundering and other economic and financial crimes, Bawa holds a BSc in Economics and a Masters in international affairs and Diplomacy. He is one of the pioneer EFCC cadet officers when the commission was set up in 2005. He has undergone several specialized trainings in security and investigating matters both home and abroad.
Perhaps these sterling qualities and very impressive and intimidating dossier is what is giving many of his traducers the jitters since his appointment as they have begun to run series of clandestine campaigns of calumny against him to frustrate him even before he hits the ground running as he is always won’t to be.
But those who know Bawa well will tell you that he can never be intimidated or arm-stronged to bow to anyone’s whims and caprices as he remains undaunted to take his job very seriously without minding whose ox is gored.
Here are 10 things to know about the incoming EFCC boss:
- Bawa was born in Jega, Kebbi State, 40 years ago. This makes him the first person to be appointed to the EFCC job from anywhere in Nigeria other than the North-East zone.
- Bawa is the first career operative to head the EFCC. His appointment puts to rest agitation by “core EFCC staff” to have one of their own to head the commission.
- Bawa served under all EFCC past chairpersons, starting with Nuhu Ribadu, who recruited the first set of civilians into EFCC (including Bawa) in 2005.
- The operative started work with EFCC from its Lagos office, after his recruitment in 2005. He went on to work at the headquarters in Abuja, and for a year in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
- He was educated at the Usman Danfodio University, Sokoto, where he obtained a bachelor’s degree in Economics in 2001 and master’s in International Relations and Diplomacy in 2011.
- He is a Deputy Chief Detective Superintendent, a position he was promoted to in 2016.
- Bawa has led a number of key corruption and financial crimes investigations including the infamous case of former Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, the case of former Niger State governor, Muazu Babangida Aliyu and that of the Controversial crude oil swap. He was also involved in the investigation of petroleum subsidy fraud (2012-2015).
- Bawa has headed EFCC zonal offices in Ibadan and Port Harcourt between June 2018 and December 2019.
- From Port Harcourt, Bawa was posted to Abuja as head of Capacity Development Division of the EFCC Academy, Karu.
- Bawa was trained by the FBI, KPMG and many other institutions in the UK, United States and Nigeria. The coming of Bawa will definitely bring a new dawn to the long protracted fight against corruption which has defied all known measures to nip it in the bud. Bawa is set to break records if confirmed by the Nigerian Senate to lead the commission.
- Arisekola, a businessman writes from Lagos.