I clocked seventy eight years of age a few days ago. I have lived in Nigeria for sixty nine of those years and I was already over eighteen when Nigeria gained independence. So I have been able to follow happenings in independent Nigeria for over fifty six years. And as the days fly by more crazy things are happening in Nigeria. It seems Nigerians must contrive confusion out of every situation. What is the result? There is plenty of movement but no motion, plenty of noise. Nigeria is unable to really make progress.
A shameful drama is playing itself out in the Senate on the screening of Mr Ibrahim Magu for the position of Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, a position he has been holding in an acting capacity. I recall that some months ago when he was presented to the Senate for screening he was rejected because the Department of State Services had written a negative report on him. And I thought that was the end of the matter. The man should go home and find something else to do and somebody else would be presented to the Senate for screening. But no! After all, this is Nigeria. The man was represented to the Senate for another screening. To me the implication is that the powers that be do not trust the Department of State Services! What? It is a great slur on the Department, a vote of no confidence on such a vital organ.
I was therefore relieved that the DSS has written another report reiterating their earlier report that Mr Magu is still not a fit and proper person to handle that sensitive and vital body in our fight against corruption. He failed their integrity test and would constitute a liability to the Commission. I am happy that the Senate stood its ground and has refused to confirm Mr Magu. He should go home and find something else to do.
But as so often happens in Nigeria all hell has broken loose! The cacophony is deafening. Confusion reigns supreme. Professor Sagay, The Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Corruption, said that Mr Magu’s non clearance will not stop him from remaining the Acting Chairman of the EFCC! He added that Mr Magu is very serious minded in doing his job and would remain on the job till his term expires. I am shocked that this is coming from such exalted quarters. The implication is that out of the two hundred million Nigerians nobody else can do the job. If Mr Magu goes the EFCC will collapse. He is saying the Senate and the DSS should be ignored. So why have a Senate at all? Why not disband the DSS?
Femi Falana, a highly respected lawyer and senior member of the ruling party, said that because several Senators being investigated by the EFCC took part in the screening the entire proceedings was a waste of time because of conflict of interest. Yes, we have been hearing for months if not years that several senators including the Senate President and several ex-Governors are being investigated by the same EFCC. So where is the result of the investigation? Does this `fact’ make useless the work of over one hundred Senators? Mr Falana being a lawyer should know that his pronouncement only serves to confuse the issue. The Senate is an institution and has done its job. Mr Magu should not be heading the EFCC.
Then of course controversial Senator Ali Ndume says he has personally investigated Mr Magu and found him clean as a whistle! He must remain in the EFCC for ever. Other people who should know better have jumped into the fray, `Mr Magu is a saint!’ Other unknown bodies have also joined the band wagon, `Mr Magu is Snow White’. He must remain there. One faceless group has threatened to close down the Senate if Mr Magu is not confirmed. Mr Magu himself encouraged by all the noise asserted that the DSS is not credible! And the Attorney General of the Federation, asked whether Mr Magu would remain in the Senate, replied that it all depends on the president!
I am however gratified that Senior Advocate Mike Ozekhome has raised a voice of reason to the effect that the Senate has disqualified Mr Magu and he cannot go back to the EFCC. Full stop.
You see, this is Nigeria. Anything can happen. If common sense prevails and Mr Magu leaves the EFCC the President will choose somebody else for screening. But if the President allows him to remain in an Acting capacity and ignore the Senate we will move into uncharted waters the end of which nobody knows.
The most unfortunate thing about this show of shame is that in the United States of America whose Presidential system we are copying a whole President Trump issued travelling bans and some States go to court and defeat him to stop his Order. He is helpless. All he can do is to go to a higher court to fight it out. His National Security Adviser was sacked for the simple reason that he concealed facts from the Vice President. The President could not retain a man whose integrity was questionable. But that is a civilised society.

The truth is that corruption is at all levels in Nigeria, from the villages to the government. There are a lot of corrupt people in the Senate. One of the more vocal members of the Senate on the screening of Mr Magu, Dino Melaye, has suddenly found unexpected cockroaches creeping out of his wardrobe showing that he himself is less than snow white. He does not have the educational certificates he claims to have. And the London School of Economics has come out to say he was never their student. But that is between him and the Electoral Commission who cleared him to contest as a Senator. But despite these we must muddle along. The Senate is our institution. Its decision must stand. Mr Magu cannot go back to the EFCC.  The DSS is an institution and must not be rubbished. If there are any rotten eggs found there they should be removed. If the shameful saga in the Nigerian Senate is not corruption I need somebody to reeducate me on corruption.

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