No-Nonesense Buhari shuns lobbyists in battle for Magu’s job

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Governors have joined the desperate lobby to nominate the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Also pushing for their  preferred men are former governors, former ministers and influential political leaders, a Presidency source told The Nation yesterday.

But President Muhammadu Buhari has shunned them all, preferring to decide who occupies the seat.

The lobbyists, according to the source, visited the Villa on Saturday.

Amid the lobby, the Presidential Committee Against Corruption (PCAC) has advised the Presidency to  keep  Acting Chairman  Ibrahim Magu, whose nomination was rejected last Thursday by the Senate, which cited a security report for its action.

The committee, which is headed by revered legal expert Prof. Itse Sagay, has faulted the report of the Department of State Services (DSS) upon which Magu was rejected.

It said it was not surprised by the Senate’s action because about 10-15 per cent of the senators were being investigated by the EFCC.

PCAC has written an advisory to the Presidency to re-nominate Magu.

A source said: “PCAC has sent an advisory to the Presidency on the DSS report, the implications of the decision of the Senate and the need to renominate Magu.

“In the advisory, PCAC has contrary opinions on the report of the DSS. It made it clear that the allegations against Magu by the DSS were ‘very weak and very spurious’. There is no substance in the allegations that can withstand a legal test.

“Members of PCAC saw the conspiracy against Magu coming because some people have been desperate to frustrate the anti-corruption agenda of the government.”

The source also buttressed the advisory with statistics which indicated that about 10-15 per cent of the nation’s 109 senators are under probe.

Another source added: “PCAC believes that the decision of the Senate was political because about 10-15 %of 109 senators under investigation or trial by EFCC. There was no way these senators will want Magu confirmed.

“The list of these senators is available with the EFCC. Some of them are already on trial to the knowledge of the public.

“We have written formally to the government on the politics which beclouded the rejection of Magu by the Senate. Some fifth columnists  are at work. They want the anti-corruption campaign to fail. We feel that Magu’s name should be re-submitted with unambiguous security clearance.

“ We also expect the Presidency to come up with a position on Magu this week. So far, Buhari has a wide range of opinions to choose from.”

On Magu’s fate, the source said: he would remain in office as acting chairman of EFCC “because Senate’s decision does not amount to automatic vacation of the office”.

“In fact, he can serve in acting capacity for up to three years and the President will not be committing any infractions,” the source said.

President Buhari on Saturday allegedly shocked some influential people who came with a list of likely successors to Magu.

Some of the forces are pushing for the engagement of retired Commissioner of Police Zakari Biu, Comptroller-General of Customs Col. Hamid Ali (retd.), retired AIG Amodu Ali and pioneer EFCC chairman Nuhu Ribadu, among others.

They cited the report on Magu by the DSS, but they failed, another source told The Nation.

“The President  demanded for more cogent reasons on why he should sack Magu. He said they should bring more convincing reasons beyond the DSS report,” the source said, pleading not to be named because of what he described as the “sensitivity” of the matter.

-The Nation

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