By Olabode Opeseitan
Whoever is making President Muhammadu Buhari to make this faux pas over the appointment of Abdulrasheed Bawa as the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (#EFCC) bears nothing but ill will for the reputation of incorruptibility of Buhari built over the years.
The appointment portrays the government as an administration that does not do enough due diligence before doing its work. The government’s critics argued that this is why Nigeria as a nation is faltering on many issues from the economy to the unimpressive response to the Covid-19 global pandemic and insecurity.
Any official to be appointed as EFCC Chairman is expected to meet two conditions according to Section 2 of the EFCC act, among other criteria. The person must have been in service for at least 15 years and the person should also be of the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police. Now, after a lawyer, Osuagwu Ugochukwu, filed a lawsuit challenging the appointment of Bawa, the government belatedly promoted him to the rank of Chief Detective Suprintendent, according to a report in the Punch newspaper. Even at that, it still fell short of the legal requirement of Assistant Commissioner of Police. The question is, why is the government showing this kind of desperation on the matter if it has nothing to hide?
Now, the narrative out there is that the Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami, SAN, mounted pressure on Buhari to appoint Bawa, alleged to be his cousin, so that they would have someone in the commission who would “protect them all” after Buhari’s tenure as President. Secondly, they allegedly wanted a stooge they would use to harass politicians in the build up to the 2023 Presidential election.
These allegations are too damning for the reputation of Buhari. For me, anybody can accuse the President of anything else but not corruption, I personally believe he is not a corrupt man on financial matters. And if the Justice Minister wanted to be fair to Buhari whom he would claim to love, he should not allow anybody to drag the man’s reputation in the mud like this.
This is another test of character for the President. He should withdraw Bawa’s name and insist the right thing should be done. Is it that difficult in the whole of the North to find a competent and qualified person to appoint (since the South is disenfranchised from the process anyway)? If he does not, the #Senate should advise the President to do the right thing. Let the Senate prove that it is not just a rubber stamp of all executive actions. Whatever the Senators do will be documented for generations yet unborn.
If the process of appointment of the EFCC chairman is tainted and compromised, then how would we expect the appointtee to diligently do his work without fair or favour.
I love it when our younger ones are given the opportunity to excel. I would have been among the first to congratulate Bawa but the circumstance must be right. President Buhari and Malami, this is just not right.
Nigerian Senate, National Assembly Complex Abuja, Nigerian Federal Ministry of Justice, The Senate President – Nigeria All Progressives Congress Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila Femi Gbajabiamila Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan