Magu, EFCC, APC and corruption

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Sonnie Ekwowusi

The startling allegation that Ibrahim Magu has corruptly been re-looting the country’s recovered looted funds and property is, to say the least, the troubling. How can a supposed catcher of thieves become the thief himself? This corroborates Federic Bastiat’s thesis that an irresponsible government is an engine of fraud. According to the French political economist and philosopher, devoid of character, politics and activities of government are nothing but legalized plunders. The All Progressives Congress Party (APC) seized power with the mantra of fighting corruption. But instead of fighting corruption the APC is now, by definition, corruption personified.

The APC came to power on the pretext that it was out to cleanse the Augean stables, that is, to rid the country of the corruption of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). But no sooner had Mr. Muhammadu Buhari stepped into power as President than it became clear to all and sundry that he was unprepared for power. He was simply overwhelmed by the jobs that awaited him as President. He soon developed cold feet. He started wobbling. First, it took him almost six months to form his cabinet. From that time till date Mr. President and the APC have not managed to find their rhythm. In order to make up for its huge governance deficit, the APC started passing the buck: it started blaming the PDP for APC’s failure to gather steam and excel in governance. From the blame game the ruling party later sunk so low to be christened “you-chop-I-chop party”, a name depicting the party as all-comers political party reveling in all manner of corruption.

The last five years of APC’s stronghold on power has been a celebration of corruption. Buhari has no certificate; Oshiomhole has no certificate; Hope Uzodinma, who emerged fourth in the last Imo Gubernatorial election is declared winner of the election and imposed as Imo State Governor; Buhari’s daughter uses presidential jet to run her personal errands; former secretary to the federal government Babachir Lawal is enmeshed in N233 million grass-cutting fraud; Fulani herdsmen freely go about murdering innocent citizens and seizing their farmlands yet they are not arrested or prosecuted let alone declared a terrorist group. Miyetti Allah issues a statement accepting responsibility for the massacre of about 200 villagers in Riyom, Barkin Ladi and Jos South local government areas of Plateau State yet Miyetti Allah is not prosecuted let alone proscribed as a terrorist organization. Daughter of Zion and conscience of the nation Leah Sharibu is denied freedom for refusing to convert to Islam; Chief Justice does not know the meaning of “legal technicality”; some N3.2 billion is squandered on the pretext of supplying medicals in Aso Rock Clinic; Aso Rock Presidential Villa is desecrated: President Buhari converts it into a personal fiefdom for settling family disputes; President Buhari spends incalculable amount of money on medical tourism despite his pre-election promise that he would abolish medical tourism; former Chief Justice Onnoghen is removed with a forged ex-parte order and replaced with a pliable Justice Mohammed Tanko; Asiwaju Bola Tinubu carries money in a bullion vehicle; The SSS is dispatched to raid the houses of some Supreme Court Justices (in fact, those justices have now have been discharged and acquitted for want of evidence) in violation of sections 153, 158(1), 160 , 161 and 292(1) of the 1999 Constitution; the fight against Boko Haram is compromised. Every parish or branch of any Christian church in Nigeria is now required to pay N30, 000 marriage tax. What is most frightening is that political appointments, political patronage, Presidential infrastructural and capital project initiatives, road network projects, rail line projects and others are, in violation of the Federal Character principle enshrined in our 1999 Constitution, skewed in favour of the North. On top of all these, Nigeria’s most important institutions and sectors such as the judiciary, education, health, banking, communication, trade and industry, employment sector, INEC, the Army, the Police, Customs, Immigration and others are in a shambles. Not to mention the insecurity of lives and property.

Certainly the above is not a chronicle of the corruption that have destroyed the Buhari government. In due time (maybe when President Buhari quits power) piles of books would be written chronicling the political corruption-bribery, cronyism, kleptocracy, nepotism, prebendalism, influence peddling, electoral fraud, Simony- that had bedeviled the most populous and adventurous African country under the Buhari government. We now have political office holders who are not ashamed to commit all sorts of unspeakable atrocities even in public. Not infrequently, political party stalwarts standing trial in high profile anti-graft cases bribe their way out of prosecution in court. Under Magu’s EFCC, fabricated charges are preferred against suspects in order to extort money from them. Uncountable charges preferred against some suspects are later dramatically dropped by the same EFCC without genuine reasons. Criminal suspects are seen handcuffed, docked, paraded on TV or paraded on the pages of the newspaper.

The surprising thing is that despite exposing Magu he shows no remorse. He insists he deserves bail. He threatens hunger strike. He appears unrepentant. Why? Probably he believes that he should not been punished alone. So for all you know Magu is not being exposed because the APC cares a hoot about fighting corruption but because he is on collision with some APC powerbrokers. We are all ears as the Magu crisis unfolds. It would be interesting to hear Magu’s defence. Did he launder re-looted funds? Who were his accomplices? Meanwhile Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo SAN has clearly distanced himself from the N4 billion allegedly given to him by Magu. As Acting President of Nigeria in 2017 when President Buhari was on medical tourism, Osinbajo told those who were against Magu: “…those thinking that corruption is winning this war, Magu would remain their nightmare for the next two years or six years as the case may be”.

With these words, he showed that he and Buhari were clearly in support of Magu’s candidature for the EFCC topmost job. Of course with the heavy accusation dangling around Magus’ neck at the moment neither President Buhari nor Osinbajo would stick out their necks today to stand behind Magu. Magu is now alone as the Justice Salami Probe Panel investigates him. Some say Magu would not be prosecuted if some APC bigwigs are fingered in the investigation. Let’s wait and see.

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