Many have predicted it, a lot many more, had expected it, which is the rejection of Ibrahim Mustapha Magu, as the Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC], by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Thus, it did not come as a surprise, to many a Nigerian citizen, when the czar of the national anti-corruption agency was not confirmed, because of a seemingly, negative report by the Directorate of State Security [DSS], despite the fact, the secretive investigative agency, issued two contradictory reports, which could render its assessment highly suspect and uncredible.
However, little did we know, that, far from a DSS report, which we suspected, was the reason why the Nigerian Senate, rejected the nomination of Magu, the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki, who is the most authentic voice of the nation’s highest legislative body, stated in a TV Continental [TVC] interview, at the sidelines of an international conference in Dakhlan, Morocco, that, rather than the discredited report, being the reason why the Senate made its decision to reject Magu, the refusal to confirm him, was inspired by the feedback, the Nigerian senators got from their constituents.
Who wanted the representatives of the Nigerian people, to reject the nomination of one individual, who is genuinely and strenuously fighting corruption, especially, in an environment where accepting graft, has become institutionalized as a norm and an admirable cultural trait worth being emulated .The first thought that came to my mind, was to ponder and utter so openly, in bewilderment, whether, the Nigerian public are so ignorant, that they have not heard, that many of the senators, who participated in the confirmation process are constitutional barred, from partaking in the exercise because of conflict of interest, as many of the members, have one case or another against the agency, which they are confirming its chairman.
Perhaps, were it solely, the executive branch of the government, which is promoting and supporting the confirmation of Magu, it could be a legitimate right for the legislature to oppose it, after all, checks and balances is a desired trait in operative democracy. Also, were the DSS who authored the controversial report, not part of the executive branch, it could be easily argued, that it is us against them, the argument about President Muhammadu Buhari’s obstinacy, in sticking and demanding that a single individual must be appointed, when there are many Nigerians, who have the competency, capability, ability and expertise to do the job.
The simple truth is that the issue of Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has become a test case for Nigerian democracy, not in terms of legislative independence or its capability to flex muscle with the executive, rather, the matter is significant to our democracy, because, just like the Senate President had stated, that the Red Chamber relied on the wishes of the people, to reach its verdict by rejecting the nominee. The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari will be bold to also state and acclaim, it is because of the will of the people, which is it is seeking to affirm, it is the reason why it is insisting on the confirmation of Ibrahim Mustapha Magu.
Not because, he is an angel amongst men, not because, has never made a mistake in his life and on his job, not because, he is capable of giving glowing presentation or he has made a perfect performance before the Senate, not because, a mistake has not been made, when he was presented in the previous times, after all, as Dr. Bukola Saraki said in the TVC interview, Nigeria is still learning the ropes in the workings of a liberal democracy.
Unfortunately in the management of optics, public perception and the image of the present administration, which majority of the members in the National Assembly subscribe to, being followers of the ruling All Progressive Congress [APC], as the party in power. Ibrahim Magu has become a symbol in the fight against corruption in Nigerian. Also, the international community is regarding Magu, as a measure of our seriousness as a nation, in tackling money laundering, financial crimes and accountable governance.
It is incumbent on the two branches of the government, to find away in measuring which of the voices of the greater national public, they are listening to. Because, it is not possible for Nigerians to deny Magu to the legislature and want the same individual, through the vibes the executive are hearing, the best way out of the seeming quagmire is for the Senate, since issues in the DSS report has been discredited, to employ a credible polling agency, most especially, for it to be of international repute, to conduct a credible sampling, asking the view of Nigerians, whether they want Ibrahim Mustapha Magu, to be confirmed as the substantive Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC].
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