Recent moves by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to pounce on some state government officials including governors just few days to commencement of serious election activities was a clear confirmation that the anti-graft agency under the Obasanjo administration may not be different in dexterity from what we have now under Jonathan. The spirit has been confirmed to be the same. But whether such spirit is for the good service of the nation or a mere political rather than an anti-graft tool in the hands of the powers that be remains something both the president, Goodluck Jonathan and the EFCC boss, Farida Waziri need to seriously convince Nigerians and the international community.
These people in government in Nigeria just think we are all fools! Jonathan is clearly going full circle with his acquired skills from the people that preceded him at the Presidential Villa. He has not differentiated himself an inch from the likes of Obasanjo. It is an escapist mindset to come up with the excuse of, â€śgive him time to prove himself.â€ť If the man now under threat from the zoning wahalah is carrying on the way he is doing, Nigerians should watch it because if peradventure the threat is removed, this country is in for a serious dance.
Regrettably, we are witnessing today a throwback to the Obasanjo days where Nuhu Ribadu was used to intimidate people oppose to the then President especially in his evil third term bid. People like Peter Odili, Diepreye Alamiesegha and even the current governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi who was then the speaker of the State House of Assembly amongst hundreds of other political office holders were out rightly harassed and intimidated by Obasanjoâ€™s EFCC even before thorough investigations could be carried out to establish genuine cases of misapplication of public funds.
And this why is has become very difficult to prosecute anybody even in cases where genuine corruption is suspected. Of course, how can the likes of Obasanjo and the entire PDP leadership (then) muster genuine courage to prosecute the likes of Odili, Adamu Abdulahi amongst other former state governors when in actual sense the monies they were accused of embezzling were given to Obasanjo etâ€™al in person and to the PDP as a party?
Let them deny what I have just said and then we begin to talk to each other eyeball to eyeball. It is surprising that the likes of Odili are keeping quite over the yoke of corruption that has been placed on them for political. They should rather speak out now that their co-sinners are alive and still active superstar roles in PDP and in Nigerian politics in general.
Is it not funny that the sameJonathanâ€™s Government that had openly declared it will run a free and fair election seems to have decided to use intimidation, including using the EFCC as a political tool as itâ€™s currently being perceived? If this does not portend great danger to the credibility of the current political process, what else would?
It is baffling how people in government and its agencies cannot learn from the mistakes of those that occupied such offices before. If the EFCC is not being manipulated for political gains, why does it have to wait for election season to come before performing its statutory function?
In as much as most Nigerians are not opposed to the fight against corruption, it is, however, manifest that the current onslaught against state governors and political leaders is part of the measures at checking those not well disposed to the bid of President Jonathan and this is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
No doubt, this development raises serious questions on President Jonathanâ€™s repeatedly stated commitment to free and fair elections, and by extension the survival of the nationâ€™s democracy. Sadly, it is giving President Jonathan away as a desperado who is prepared to whip everyone in line in order to confiscate a mandate to remain in office. The EFCC said its deployment of operatives to 10 states to intimidate government officials has no political undertone or motives. â€śIt has to do with the probing of petitions against 10 governors bordering on alleged mismanagement of funds and abuse of the Local Government Joint Account.â€ť It sounded good enough reason.
The states are: Rivers, Imo, Kwara, Bauchi, Zamfara, Jigawa, Gombe, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto.
According to the anti-graft agency its operatives were deployed in the 10 states to invite some commissioners and local government chairmen for interaction based on preliminary findings.
But the Governors have raised the alarm that they are being targeted because of the forthcoming presidential primaries of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). So which of the stories would Nigerians believe?
Majority if not all Nigerians support the fight against corruption and senseless misapplications of our collective funds but the EFCC should help the populace support its efforts by conducting its activities with decorum. The nationâ€™s anti-graft agency always puts itself in situations where its credibility and actual intention is always questioned and this is not good for the commission.
When will the EFCC grow above being manipulated by some self-serving and mischievous persons to destabilize the state?
There are an inherent and grave dangers of turning the EFCC, an agency set up to correct the ongoing spate of thievery at all levels and organs of government in this country, into a Political Gestapo of a particular candidate and party. Such disposition would only produce all kinds of interpretations of the activities (genuine or mischief) of the anti-graft commission.
Now see the Halliburton hoax or do you call that trial?
Why has the President decided to exclude the NNPC and the former heads of state including Obasanjo from the trial? We are yet not serious with the fight against corruption, this is the truth and the international community should hear it. I challenge both the President and the EFCC boss to include NNPC and then Nigerians will realize that what they have heard so far about corruption and PDP government, was just a mustard seed in a desert.
IFEANYI IZEZE IS AN ABUJA-BASED CONSULTANT ON STRATEGY AND COMMUNICATION (iizeze @ yahoo.com)
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