Of Corruption, Senate And President’s Men

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The anti-graft campaign by the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration may have taken a bash lately following the controversy between the Presidency and the Senate over the continuous stay in office of two principal officers in Buhari’s government.
David Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) and Ibrahim Magu, acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are at the centre of the storm.
The duo, the Upper Chamber has insisted must be relieved of their offices if President Buhari’s fight against corruption is to be taken seriously.
The Senate Ad-hoc Committee on Monitoring Humanitarian Crisis in the North East of Nigeria in its report to the hallowed chamber indicted the SGF over his roles in the execution of contracts on the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps. Babachir was fingered in connection with unexecuted projects, in which a company he has interest was involved.
Similarly, the Senate turned down a letter from the Presidency requesting  the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC, citing a security report by the Directorate of State Services (DSS) which indicted Magu of unethical conduct and abuse of office.
The Presidency, however over-ruled the Senate, insisting on the candidacy of the two public officers whom, in the President’s view, were not given fair hearing by the Senate Committee which investigated corruption allegations against them.
While The Tide will not want to take sides with either the Presidency or the Senate on the continued stay in office of the two principal officers in Buhari’s administration, we are however, disturbed that such high-ranking officers who ordinarily should be in the forefront in the current anti-graft campaign are fingered in corruption enquiries.
The whole scenario, we strongly believe portends a grave danger to Buhari’s onslaught on corruption which had endangered our quest for development and put the country where we are today: a beggarly nation, despite its abundant natural and human resources.
We urge the Senate to go beyond political sentiments and institute in-depth investigations into the allegations involving the duo. The Senators should go beyond the interim report, so as not to be accused of vindictiveness, especially against the SGF whom it was alleged blocked the Senators’ request for funds for constituency projects.
As key officers of Buhari’s administration, Babachir and Magu must be subjected to the rule of law. They should therefore appear before the Senate to answer questions surrounding the office they presently occupy.They must be given fair hearing and if they are found wanting in any way material should be sacked or resign honouably. The era of executive impunity or legislative rascality should be gone for good, if our nascent democracy must progress.
Buhari’s key officers must always exhibit the highest level of transparency, if the campaign against corruption is to be successfully executed. Government must not be seen to be selective in the anti-graft war which this administration, from inception, vowed to pursue vigorously and to a logical conclusion..
The war against corruption should not be a fight against real or perceived political enemies and opponents alone but a fight against privileged elite: political, judicial, religious or traditional who have enriched themselves with public money.
We endorse a war in which no one is disadvantaged by the advantage of position of others. For the fight to succeed, the President must develop and maintain an eagle eye over his cabinet members and other key public officers and not necessarily public office holders before the inception of his administration.