Wednesday, May 12

Why Buhari May Not Intervene In Confirmation Of Magu As EFCC Boss

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Days after the Senate outrightly rejected the confirmation of the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, new facts have emerged on factors responsible.

Findings by Ripples Nigeria has revealed that Magu’s fate may have been sealed by a combination of issues that played out against him, also prompting Presidnet Muhammadu Buhari to adopt a nonchalant attitude towards his case.

It was gathered that former governors currently serving as Senators, as well as a crack in the kitchen cabinet of President Buhari played a role.

Former governors and deputies, who are facing one form of fraud trial or another, convinced others to use the infamous report of the Department of State Services (DSS) as an excuse to disqualify Magu.

The Senate on Thursday, relying on a report submitted to it by Lawal Daura-led DSS, declined to confirm Magu as the substantive chairman of EFCC. The contents of the report is yet to be made public by the Senate or the DSS.

Currently, there are about 20 former governors and former deputy governors who are Senators in the Eight Senate. Out of this figure, more than half are either facing trial or under investigation by the EFCC.

The Senators who once served as governors are Bukola Saraki of Kwara, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso of Kano, Kabiru Gaya of Kano, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, Theodore Orji of Abia, Abdullahi Adamu of Nasarawa, Sam Egwu of Ebonyi, Shaaba Lafiagi of Kwara, Joshua Dariye and Jonah Jang both of Plateau, Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko of Sokoto, Ahmed Sani Yarima of Zamfara, Danjuma Goje of Gombe, Bukar Abba Ibrahim of Yobe, Adamu Aliero of Kebbi, George Akume of Benue and Isiaka Adeleke of Osun.

Former deputy governors in the Senate are Mrs Biodun Olujimi of Ekiti and Enyinaya Harcourt Abaribe of Abia. Danladi Abubakar Sani served as the acting governor of Taraba state.

The rejection move of Magu, which was spearheaded by Saraki, also a former governor currently facing trial, got a boost when the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, announced that the EFCC will soon reopen the trial of former governors who served between 1999 and 2015.

Sources in the Senate told Ripples Nigeria that the ‘association of former governors’ in the Red Chamber saw the announcement as a free ticket to jail and immediately initiated moves to frustrate Magu’s confirmation.

Another factor which many believe worked against Magu was his alleged connivance with AGF in prosecuting the Senate President, over his purported under-declaration of assets when he held sway as governor of Kwara state between 2003 and 2011.

Magu, it was gathered, furnished the Federal Government team with the necessary supporting documents in nailing Saraki. Magu, since he was appointed, has been investigating Saraki’s wife and has on several occasions, invited her for questioning.

For pundits, it is believed that Saraki only took his pound of flesh by reaching an informal deal with a faction of President Buhari’s kitchen cabinet to frustrate Magu’s confirmation.

On the other hand, there is another claim that the involvement of former governor of Lagos state, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, through his surrogate, Femi Falana (SAN) in appointing Magu, also led to President Buhari’s refusal in intervening to stop the DSS from indicting him.

Sources in the Presidential Villa said Buhari deliberately delayed in sending Magu’s confirmation letter to the Senate. It was gathered that the confirmation letter was hurriedly sent to the Senate by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while Buhari was away in London for a 10-day medical leave.

It was gathered that the the letter was written on a Friday, in June, just two days before Buhari returned to Nigeria. The sources said Tinubu, through Falana mounted, pressure on Osinbajo to forward Magu’s name to the Senate.

According to the source, Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. David Babachir Lawal and DSS boss, Mr. Lawal, were all against Osinbajo’s hurried move to send Magu’s confirmation letter to the Senate, while Buhari was still away.

“They aimed at a fait accompli against the President. If Buhari wanted to give Magu a safe landing, he would have prevailed on DSS to write something favourable. If Buhari wanted him cleared, why did he allow DSS to send the report to the Senate? He allowed it because he did not want Magu confirmed.

“There is another claim that Tinubu’s alleged involvement in the nomination of Magu, led to his unfavourable report by the DSS. Osinbajo’s men mobilized heavily to ensure that he was confirmed,” the source said.

As things stand, Magu’s fate still hangs in the balance as the president is yet to make a move on what he wants to do with Magu.

Analysts however opine that the options open to Buhari would be to set Magu aside and nominate someone else more acceptable to the Senate.

There is also the option of renewing Magu’s acting capacity every six months for as long as the president wants, if the Senate continues to insist it would not confirm Magu as a substantive chairman for the anti-graft agency.




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