Wednesday, November 23, 2011
The eagerly awaited, much anticipated and long overdue relief from duty of the Nigeria Economic and Financial Crimes Commission chairwoman, Farida Waziri, is finally here. It would appear that finally, the over-deliberative Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan has come around full circle and summoned enough courage to let the EFCC-madam go.
Icheoku expected the hamstrung chairwoman to have resigned long time ago, but she fell victim to the Nigerian cultural shackle which does not permit the emergence of brave public servants of conscience, who could stand on principles but just tagged along just to get along. She took it both front and back, honestly thinking to persuade a society that was not listening, that somehow magically her commission would do their job; and was in this suspended state of euphoria until her unceremonious kicking to the gutter. How could anyone worthy of his or her weight in law enforcement operate under such a stringent condition where she was constantly scornfully derided and ridiculed as a toothless bulldog? Under her soft-touch, touchy-feelly EFCC, so many high profile corruption cases including the corruption charges against former speaker Oladimeji Bankole just stalled without more. Anyway, good riddance and hopefully her successor Ibrahim Lamorde will be courageous enough to do what is required to turn in results. Icheoku hereby calls on Aso Rock to without delay confirm Mr Ibrahim Lamorde as a permanent chairman as that would make him a more dedicated and committed hands-on chairman, without creating a situation where he will be thinking "whats the point," since soon they will also relieve him of the post as they did before.
However the symbolic changing of guard at the EFCC alone will not cut it or do the magic, as what the commission is facing is a contemptuous society which is so neck-deep corruption and fights bullishly to be left alone and undisturbed in their debauchery. Icheoku says, how about a committed judiciary to help put away these corrupt officials being indicted every day by the EFCC without any one of them ever going to prison? How about special legislation to fast-track some of these corruption proceedings through the courts? How about special courts and tribunal being created to deal with EFCC generated corruption cases only? How about procedural law being specifically tempered and tailored to deal with EFCC corruption trials only? How about the Nigeria Bar Association making commitment to help EFCC deal with these prosecutions without unnecessary delays on technicalities used as a clever ploy to frustrate prosecutions? How about judges handling EFCC corruption cases being made to take special oath not to compromise themselves and security agencies put on their trail to ensure they upheld their commitment?
Icheoku says Madam Farida Waziri did not fail EFCC or Nigeria; but was simply frustrated out from doing her job by a society which did not want her to succeed in the first place because they loath her commission. In the former EFCC madam Farida Waziri's own words, "the best a law enforcement agency can do is to properly investigate cases and file charges; the frustrations faced by law enforcement agencies within the tedious common law process must be avoided." So there is really not much such a conscript agency can do in the circumstance and the Nigeria Chief Judge was heard to say that plea bargain would be abolished? Also an agency without full authority to decide its prosecutable cases and the best possible choices faced under unique circumstances, but is amendable to the wishes of the Attorney General, is to say the least, encumbered.
On a lighter note, how about President Goodluck Jonathan just firing himself for not being at par with the duties of his office or is it just only Farida Waziri who could not do her job - wiping the corruption slate clean and had to be replaced? It is all political and seemingly an attack of a soft target - the womanhood, firing a woman corruption czar, otherwise why just her? This reminds Icheoku of the shoving off of the other previous Madam NAFDAC and later Information Mommy Dora Akunyili, who is considered a rabble-rouser and simply too much of a headache to be left around the corridors of Aso Rock? The headline of United States' Washington Post newspaper which reported of the EFCC chairwoman's sack was quite instructive on President Jonathan's ironical position. It wrote "President of graft-prone Nigeria suddenly fires head of anti-corruption agency."
What a pun at the president, who could not or have failed to tame graft in his country, yet is firing an innocent woman who was doing her best to confront a ferocious glacier of highly corrupt and powerful people of Nigeria, who it appears finally had their way as they did her in? Icheoku says if according to President Jonathan's spokesman, "the removal of the chairwoman is part of President Jonathan's determination to revitalize the fight against corruption," how about removing IGP Ringim to revitalize the police force and some other security agencies to revitalize the fight against Boko Haram and other terrorists? If actually President Goodluck Jonathan was serious with giving his commission needed teeth, he would have begged Muhammadu Buhari to fill the position. Best of luck Ibrahim Lamorde and hopefully Aso Rock will make your occupation of the chair permanent.