NASS, EFCC, Magu’s Confirmation: Issues and Matters Arising! –Ishola Adebayo

March 24, 2017

The separation of power, as postulated by Baron de Montesquieu, has totally explained the role of each arms of government. Once these roles are performed, the essence of government comes into place. In our democratic society, since the executive arm needs to execute laws and policies, more “hands” are needed to which the Chief Executive can assign roles to a specific body or person. However, the acting capacity of such entity depends on the confirmation of the legislature.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is an executive agency with the outlook of reducing financial corruption to the barest minimum. They are usually seen as impartial hence, they cannot judge those who they apprehend- the work of the judicial arm. As it is expedient that an organization has a head, President Buhari nominated Ibrahim Magu to be the acting czar of the anti-graft agency upon the final ratification of the Senate, which is the Upper legislative chamber. He was rejected by the senate the first time and in a second attempt on Wednesday, March 15th.

Why was he rejected by the upper chamber? The senate said he was rejected as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the basis of a security report compiled by the State Security Service. The DSS, another executive agency, had said Magu was unfit to lead the commission because he had failed an integrity test. The report said Magu lacks integrity and would constitute a liability to the war against corruption.

Apart from the public, this issue has generated a lot of controversies even within the Senate itself. Faulting the actions of the senate, Senator Ali Ndume, said “We have all been accused, I have been accused of sponsoring Boko Haram, the senate president is still going to court. Same as other members who have cases in court, yet they occupy seats in the senate. So, if you say because of the allegations he (Magu) should not be confirmed, then I should not be a sitting senator and Saraki should not be there as senate president.”

Reacting to this, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said “I don’t think there was anywhere we said Magu was rejected based on accusations. Now the EFCC chairman came and he did not pass the screening. Someone else will come and may pass. This is our constitutional role and I don’t think we should personalize or politicize this.”

Logically, how is it possible to confirm the nomination of Magu when some of the senators are under investigation with the EFCC? It would be the case of a thief, inviting the head of police into his apartment. Such relation won’t last for long.

Federal agency undermined an appointment made by the presidency. And presidency keeps mute. If presidency truly wanted Magu confirmed, they would have called the DSS to order even before the integrity report came out.

Moving forward, even if the Senate is not forthcoming on the confirmation of Magu, there are over 150 million Nigerians out there. Magu can duly be replaced with a more competent official who would be confirmed as early as possible so as not to dance to the tunes of these corrupt people. Truthfully, nobody is indispensable; we should build efficient and capable institutions not just individuals alone.

Now that the President is back, we still await the promise of good governance, the unequivocal respect for human rights, the provision of basic welfare needs of the common man and most importantly, the security of our lives and properties. Nigerians demand that all arms of government should work towards actualizing the goal of a good government. We refuse to be distracted by unnecessary issues.

Delay is dangerous, Mr. President.