Dr. Gbade Ojo is an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Ilorin. In this chat with ROTIMI AGBOLUAJE in Ibadan, Ojo who is the former Special Adviser on Political Matters and Current Chief of Staff to Governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State said there is nothing spectacular about the activities of acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu. He added that the military background of Hammed Ali, the Nigeria Customs Service Controller-General is a liability.
Doubtless, the two issues that dominated public space in the past few days are the face-off between the Senate and Hammed Ali, the Nigeria Customs Service Controller-General, in one hand and the confirmation imbroglio of acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu.
A lot of opinion leaders and analysts have spoken on the issues. Not left out is a political scientist of international repute, Associate Professor Gbade Ojo.
Starting with EFCC czar’s ordeal vis-à-vis the purported report emanated from the Department of State Service (DSS), Dr. Ojo pointed out: “It is high-wired politics which has clearly shown that the President is either not coordinated or perhaps politically naive. When you send a name to the National Assembly, agreed that the senators may not be ready to cooperate, is DSS not an agency under the Presidency? Whatever the finding of the DSS, the presidency ought to have a way to corroborate it before sending the name of Magu for the second time.
“The same ruling party, Senate President that is superintending over a house rejected Magu’s name for the second time. My expectation is that the presidency would have linked up with the National Assembly that this is the candidate we want for EFCC. And the majority of National Assembly members who are members of APC ought to, if there is party cohesion, cooperate and clear Magu. It is politically unheard of for Mr. President of the same ruling party, to be sending the same name and be rejected repeatedly by the Senate. Where is the required cooperation between the legislature and executive? And if the reason for the rejection is hinged on DSS report, what does it cost the president to drop back if the report is not favourable to Magu and I don’t want to believe it is only Magu in Nigeria as a police officer that can chairman EFCC. No. Why Magu compulsory. I want to believe whoever is thrown there will perform.
“Reasons being that EFCC has grown beyond personalities as an institution. It is growing and the required political will on the part of the president to fight corruption is there. So if anybody is taken there, if the person doesn’t make new arrests, but just prosecute the ongoing cases, he can’t finish them in the next five years.
“I’ve not seen anything spectacular about in what Magu has done. But if Magu seems to have denied the DSS report and the Presidency doesn’t have the way to corroborate before sending the name for the second time, it is politically naive on the part of the presidency”.
Also speaking on committee headed by Attorney General of the Federation to unravel the allegations made against Magu, the former Head of Department of Political Science, University of Ilorin said: “That’s very ridiculous. When the Attorney-General, that’s an administrative panel somehow, was asked to look at the DSS report, they are supposed to make public the finding of the panel or committee. That could have perhaps intimidated the National Assembly. It could have been very difficult for them to reject Magu for the second time. And it could be a cheap blackmail on the part of the Senate to reject Magu again. If AGF could say they have looked into the DSS report it was politically doctored or engineered and whoever that is the Director of DSS should be called to questions if the allegations are mere speculative”.
On statement that Magu can continue in acting capacity, he had this to say: “He can continue in acting capacity ,but for how long? It would be an infringement on the 1999 Constitution. The constitution stipulates that President can make appointments subject to the approval of the National Assembly. So if you ask Magu to continue for the next two years and the appointment not approved, if at the end of the day he wants to claim pension and he is told that the appointment never confirmed, it means he was never EFCC chairman.
“In this case, the National Assembly is superior to Mr. President, that is the position of the law. That is what we call separation of power. If power is to be ideally separated and they are to work cooperatively then, Magu appointment must be confirmed”.