Obafemi Awolowo identified the greed of the Nigerian educated elite as the source of our nation’s nightmare. Ibrahim Magu, in an attempt to force our educated elite to toe the path of honour, like his predecessors, Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri and Ibrahim Lamorde, was framed up, disgraced and humiliated out of office. Last week, the courts upheld his honour. His triumph I think has once more validated Awo’s thesis that our institutions, the executive, legislature, judiciary and the press are not the problem but our educated elite that operate them.
Magu was defiant to the end. “I have no fear in my DNA”, he had told our educated parasitic elite, adding “The EFCC’s motto is ‘Nobody is above the law’ “We don’t chase innocent people, but thieves of state resources. We have reached a level where nobody can stop us in the fight against corruption.” Although they got him at the end but not without a fight with President Buharis’s loyal gate keepers, state governors, our national legislative houses of deals, the judiciary that serves none but itself and of course a compromised media that instead of its constitutional duty of holding the powerful to account, celebrate men with feet of clay.
As it has now turned out, the president’s men including Lawal Daura and his DSS , Abubakar Malami and his NBA, Senate President Bukola Saraki and his like-mind senators that hounded Magu out of office were driven more by their interest in how recovered looted resources were distributed as well as malice.
Nuhu Ribadu in spite of 15million pounds alleged bribery attempt had insisted on Ibori’s prosecution for money laundering. Magu, as head of the EIU, spearheaded his investigation as well as the role of his friend, former Kwara State governor and serving senator, Bukola Saraki, in the collapse of Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria.
In 2007, with Obasanjo out of government and Umaru Yar’Adua who was largely sponsored with Delta State resources by Ibori, in the saddle, Ibori influenced the demotion of Ribadu by the Police Service Commission, chased him out of town and replaced with a candidate chosen by Ibori.
Magu was also arrested, detained and suspended from the police for several months without salary and eventually transferred out of EFCC allegedly for illegally keeping case files of top politicians being investigated by EFCC. He was later rehabilitated by President Jonathan who transferred him back to EFCC.
Magu was appointed by President Buhari as acting chair of the EFCC on November 9, 2015. For five months, the senate refused to screen him. And when finally the senate did, as a result of pressure from civil society groups, twice, Magu’s candidacy was rejected.
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) believed the senate seem to have acted mala fide by picking and choosing the least favourable DSS report to reject Magu’s nomination”. Itse Sagay insisted “Since Nuhu Ribadu left, we have not had a man with such sterling qualities as Ibrahim Magu”. Those arguments did not stop Dino Melaye from announcing that Magu failed integrity test, quoting from one of the two contradictory letters from the Department of State Services (DSS) alleging “Magus’s accommodation was not paid for from the commission’s finances but by one Umar Mohammed, a retired Air Commodore, a questionable businessman”.
Magu continued his work in acting capacity but not without opposition from NBA. A “few months after the commission, in unprecedented fashion, arraigned some senior lawyers for corruption”, NBA’s President, Abubakar Mamoud started canvassing for the withdrawal of the prosecutorial powers of the EFCC. But Magu insisted a “Bar populated or directed by people perceived to be rogues and vultures cannot play the role of priests in the temple of justice.”
He reminded Mamoud that he as “the federal government appointed prosecuting counsel in the trial of ex-Delta State governor, James Ibori, at the Federal High Court, Asaba, bungled the case which EFCC lost in questionable circumstances while the same ingredients from that case were used to fetch Ibori a 13-year jail term in London”.
Magu also informed Nigerians that the NBA president “was also the commission’s counsel in the appeal against the infamous perpetual injunction from arrest and prosecution by former Rivers State governor, Peter Odili, which was still pending before the Court of Appeal in Port Harcourt’, eight years after it was filed.
Then Magu took the battle to all those who allegedly shared ‘Dasukigate’ slush fund including Tompolo: N13billion, Dokpesi: N2.1billion, Bafarawa: N4.6b for spiritual purposes, Iyorchia Ayu: N350m, Odili and Jim Nwobodo: N100m each Bode George: $30,000 and Chief Olu Falae:N100m, Alhaji Tanko Yakassai’s N63m and Obanikoro and Fayose’s N4.745billion to prosecute Ekiti and Osun elections etc.
After five years of heroic battle with power and principalities behind corruption in Nigeria, Magu like his predecessors was disgraced out of office with a false claim that Pastor Emmanuel Omale of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, and his wife, Deborah laundered N573 million on his behalf by using the said fund to buy a property for Magu in Dubai.
But the truth came out with Justice Halilu’s October 4 judgment. Following bank’s admission that “the purported N573 million was wrongly reflected as credit entry into Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry’s account by its reporting system”, the court awarded the sum of N540.5 million as cost to Omale “for incalculable damage to his, reputation, his wife and their church within and outside the country”.
Magu’s travails and triumph is a call on our educated elite to look at themselves in the mirror.
Mad soldiers on the long bridge
It is bad enough that reconstruction of Lagos-Ibadan express way that took less than three years when first constructed, had taken PDP and Fashola and his APC 24 years with the end of travellers’ nightmare still not in sight. On Thursday October 3, I spent about three hours between Punch and Kara Market. As we approach Kara, a young soldier had directed a car ahead of me to park on one side of the bridge, apparently because the driver hesitated a bit when asked to stop. He then came over to me and with a wave of his right hand asked me to move. In another 30 yards, it was the same gridlock and I queued behind a trailer. For the next 20 minutes, it was the same standstill. And getting to my side while walking down to join his other three soldiers, he looked at me and shouted “Old man you did not listen to me”. Before I could say anything, he started using the butt of his gun to hit my side mirror. He then used his hands to pull it out, smashing it on the bridge as he walked away triumphantly while everyone watched in disbelief.
What went through my mind was that the young soldier was probably on drug, depressed or an impersonator if not an armed robber. I believe Raji Fashola, as a responsive and resourceful former governor of Lagos understands why ill-tempered soldiers should not be deployed to carry out duties for which they were not trained.
But we now know President Buhari, like most soldiers that fought wars has a mind-set, believing he knows what the people want without asking them. This probably explains his opposition to state policing. Yet, the few available federal police officers when not following wives of Chinese construction workers to fish market, carrying bags and umbrellas for wives of LGA chairmen, are protecting rich Yahoo boys or musicians while assaulting jealous husbands of married women they take interest in at night clubs. Everywhere we turned, there is absence of governance.