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IKE ABONYI
Ike's Column Opinion

Magugate, Buhari’s Indiscretions

I am being treated like a common criminal – Magu. Exactly what you did to me and other people

Shehu Sani

The transience of life and power continue to be thrown to us in various ways but Nigerians do not pick signs even when it’s given free not until it comes at a huge cost. Had I known is a bad music played only in regret. Former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiohmole is currently enjoying this melody of had I known. If he had taken it easy with Governor Godwin Obaseki maybe, he would still be the National Chairman of APC today.

The other man who was on the scene ravaging like Oshiohmole was one Police officer called Ibrahim Magu, suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. He was not only playing god while he reigned but was god himself particularly to suspected corrupt persons.

Magu was everything a power monger could be, operating like a loose cannon, taking maximum advantage of the confused state of the Presidency where it’s difficult to ascertain who is in charge and where really the buck stops. Magu was a terror to everybody and pray he doesn’t remember you otherwise you will be turned into an instant criminal celebrity.

Before you arrive in court with Magu you would have been stripped necked and made to be taken as a common criminal by the public even before hearing from you and irrespective of what the court and the law would say in the end.

The same Magu was receiving similar treatment he gave others last week. He was invited to appear before a Presidential investigative panel at Aso Rock and news went round that he was arrested by the DSS who later denied it. Eventually he was not allowed to return to either his palatial home or to his office but had to remain in Police custody since then begging to be respected.

To me the most interesting aspect of Magu story is that he was complaining that he was being portrayed as a common criminal even while the investigation was ongoing. He was also requesting for bail and making efforts to deny some outrageous stories around him.

Magu’s arrest for allegedly looting the loot he recovered is not thrilling to me. This is not new. Since it was discovered that late Gen Sani Abacha opened account and deposited huge sums in virtually all the banks across the globe, those involved in the recovery have been looting it in their own way different from the commission due to the recovery facilitators.

Even those recovering Magu’s alleged re-loot are already helping themselves. The operatives who conducted search in Magu’s house cannot face Okija shrine to declare that they presented all they saw. This is Nigeria and we are all in it together.

Some public officers smiling at Magu’s predicament today are not saints they are just the uncaught or the yet to be caught group.  Even those who brought Magu to this current junction he is now knows it as a fact that the difference between them and Magu is just name and style not that of a saint and a Satan. If President Buhari were himself above board and chosen to play Jesus in this instance, he would have discovered that Magu’s accusers are mere hypocrites pretending to be what they are not, that they are like kettle and pot all black.

What did Jesus do when the Pharisees presented him with a woman who committed adultery? ‘Teacher they asked him, this woman was caught in the way of adultery, in the law of Moses she should be stoned, but Jesus not wanting to stand on the way of their dogmatic law said to them, yes the law says so but ‘let him who is without sin cast the first stone’ and none passed that verbal integrity test and the woman was freed with a stern warning never to sin again. Even in Islam, Allah did not fail to expose the hypocrites as shown in Quran 63:1. Muslim scholars call it disease of the soul.

The story here is that Magu is not alone in this game, that the Presidency under the watch of President Muhammadu Buhari is in rot of bacteria of corruption and no attempt is being made to attack it.

What is happening in the Presidency today is that of kettle reporting to the fire that pot is black and wants its own blackness blinded. The real reason Magu is failing is because he is at the wrong corner of the divide and at the wrong time, his group is losing in the intrigue and he mismanaged himself due to his arrogance and naivety.

In some climes President Buhari should be resigning over Magu’s case or in the least be apologizing profusely to three people, Nigerians, the 8th Senate of the National Assembly and the DSS. The 8th Senate in their wisdom in the exercise of their statutory duties refused twice to clear Magu for the job relying on the intelligence reports from the nation’s intelligence czars which works directly under the President.

Despite that the President went ahead to retain him in acting capacity relying on a dubious legal technicality supplied by his Vice, a Professor of law.

Imagine if CIA or FBI forwards a report to the American congress saying that a person shortlisted for a sensitive position could not scale the integrity test and therefore unsuitable for the job and the President goes ahead to ignore the parliament and the intelligence organization to keep the person on the job on acting capacity only to come up five years after to say the person has failed, that he is a thief who shouldn’t have been hired.

But instead of apologizing the President’s spine doctors are shamelessly trying to turn it into a public relations show. Nigerians may be gullible but they are not as idiotic as to accept that by dealing with Magu is a sign of touching sacred cow in his administration. Abnitio Magu was not a sacred cow as the Presidency wants the public to swallow, but a common criminal who was long deconstructed by the national intelligence agency and the parliament as lacking in integrity and unfit for a job.

To therefore ague that Magu’s situation is not messy and injurious to the anti-corruption crusade of the regime is like saying that a corrupt referee who had officiated badly for 60 of the 90 minutes’ game will not affect the outcome of a football match.

If President Buhari fails to steal the opportunity of this time to drastically disinfect and decontaminate his Presidency of corrupt elements, then Nigerians will have no option left than to agree that they are in it together.  If EFCC is rotten, ditto NNPC and other critical areas of the economy, doesn’t that mean that the war fire on corruption has long been extinguished? Trying to isolate Magu as the only rogue in the club is hypocritical and duplicitous.

We recall that the President told the World that in making appointments he goes for those he knows very well. Magu certainly is one of those people he knew that was why he disregarded the proper advisories of the Senate and the DSS to keep him in the office for five years. Also among those the President knew very well and appointed was the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Babachir Lawal who was forced out of the government against the desire of the President but due to pressure from members of the public because of corrupt related act.

One incontrovertible fact is that Magu’s case has copiously put the anti-Corruption vehicle in a reverse gear and to get it going again requires not just a good driver but a sound mechanic to avert another breakdown. But it all depends on the maintenance culture of the owner or manager of the vehicle who in this instance is President Buhari.

The obvious decision limiting the scope of search for Magu’s replacement to only the North appears not impulsive and it says a lot about the anti-corruption crusade and the sincerity of its drivers. This agency was created by a Southern President Olusegun Obasanjo and he then felt the body should be headed by somebody from the opposite for obvious reasons of ensuring neutrality in its operations but since then it has been made a Northern affair. This clearly underscores the kind of country we are and our scope of understanding as a nation.

In concluding this conversation therefore the point need to be made that we adore our leaders too much in this country and try always to parry their faults and shift it subordinates. But in evaluating Magu story, President Buhari who insisted on him against all counsels saying that he has integrity challenge should be liable and ought to as a minimum requirement be apologizing to Nigerians for his obvious indiscretion.

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