In all honesty, President Muhammadu Buhari’s determined drive to frontally tackle the monster of crass corruption in high places and bring it to its begging knees deserves commendation.
Indeed, it takes uncommon courage for any leader to set in motion pragmatic mechanisms to rein in the twin evils of corruption and impunity, which have enjoined a free rein in Nigeria for decades and made us laughing stock in the comity of nations. Little wonder that such moves have attracted national and global acclaim.
And deservedly so, because no nation ever achieves sustainable socio-economic growth when corruption assumes the dangerous dimension of a rampaging cancer, spreading within its body polity and nothing is done to contain it. With the sweeping broom to cleanse the Augean stable, the president‘s action is largely viewed as patriotic since we are all victims.
It is against this bright backdrop that one would view the recent resurgence of the anti-graft Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to investigate those alleged to have soiled their hands with filthy lucre especially since Buhari became the new president. The fact that the searchlight is being beamed on the high and mighty makes it more credible. Within the short span of two months for instance, the former governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Lamido and his two sons, Aminu and Mustapha along with some others have been facing prosecution. They are to answer questions on 28 count charges of N1.351 bn fraud.
In a similar vein, the EFCC invited Toyin Saraki, wife to the former Kwara state governor and currently the Senate President for questioning. She has to explain the execution of several contracts traced to her while her husband held sway as the state’s helmsman. On her part, Mrs. Zaina Dangigari the daughter of late President Umaru Yar’ Ardua and wife to the ex-governor of Kebbi state is being quizzed for alleged misappropriation of N2bn state funds.
Not done, the Agency has also grilled Baraka Sanni, who was the Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Schools and Agricultural Programmes. She has to defend herself against weighty allegations of diversion of funds earmarked for her office.
President Buhari is also taking a closer look into the operations of the NNPC, allegedly responsible for monumental fraud, not excluding massive oil theft. One cannot but align with such moves to reposition the nation’s economy for impactful growth.
The truth however, is that as one praises EFCC’s salutary efforts, it must sift between the corn and the chaff. Some Nigerians are wont to capitalize on the wave of allegations to raise false alarm and perhaps settle scores. Only such would not distract well-meaning, focused public servants who are passionate about deploying their energy and intellectual skills for the best of their country.
The recent invitation of the much-respected Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Paul Orhii by the EFCC readily comes to mind. Even while he willingly obliged the invitation out of his own volition, the sensational and screaming headlines crafted by some section of the media had the intention to paint the suspect guilty, even before investigations started. People became jumpy, getting into hasty conclusions that not only undermine the image of the suspects but ultimately that of the Agency in question.
Is it not curious that one Mr. Ademola Magbojuri, the erstwhile Director, Finance and Account made allegations of acts bothering on financial impropriety on the part of Orhii only after he refused his postings, first to the Department of Planning, Research and Statistics and subsequently to the Training Institute at Kaduna? It is ridiculous that a public officer who has exhibited an act of insubordination would turn round to cook up cock and bull stories against his boss. That is pure mischief.
What has he been doing all the while, even as media reports claim that he has all along been presiding over the meetings of the same fund disbursement he is accusing Orhii of? This, in my humble opinion shows that the serving director has ulterior motives. Such vindictive people, out on a mission of vendetta should not be allowed to distract the Buhari Administration, from his anti-graft war, which is not meant to witch-hunt any citizen.
Having read and investigated with apt interest Orhii’s giant steps since assumption of office, there is ample evidence that he has taken NAFDAC notches higher. That is, even if has chosen to be on the quiet side, and allows his achievements to speak for themselves. What with the construction of new laboratories, upgrading them to international standards, the use of cutting-edge technology against counterfeit drugs to mention but a few. Any one in doubt should pay a visit to the new edifice at Isolo, Lagos.
In fact, for a world-renowned medical practitioner, lawyer and expert on drug-related matters to have chosen to return to serve his country shows the trait of a patriot. Should we pay him back in bad coins? Certainly not. While one is not advocating that he should not be investigated that should be done with utmost caution. The EFCC has to differentiate between the motive of the petitioners and the method it adapts in carrying out its investigations, especially under the tense political situation we currently operate.
By Adebisi Obalola