Fidelity bank banner Bayelsa State banner
Obono-Obla sabotaging the anti-corruption war?

By Uche Ugboajah on 09/08/2017

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+

Views: 991

•Okoi Obono-Obla
•Okoi Obono-Obla

One of the constitutional amendments that Nigerians have been clamouring for is the separation of the Office of Attorney-General from the position of Minister of Justice. For many citizens, the continuous lumping together of the portfolio of attorney-general with the minister of justice, a politician, will never improve the administration of justice in the land, strip it of all political encumbrances and, in the end, make justice delivery truly blind.

Typically, the 8th Senate – a parliament that has earned the notoriety of representing the people only by nomenclature – spectacularly failed the people, yet again, by voting against that item. Anyway, who expects a Senate that draws a sizable portion of its membership from politicians running from justice to pass such a fundamental law? Yes, this Senate has been reduced to a safe sanctuary for allegedly corrupt former governors, and some ‘crooked’ politicians and business men that can only make the day in court for any professional attorney-general, not a politician appointed as minister of justice.

In no other place has the tenuous relationship and contradictions inherent in the continuous merging of the two offices inhibited the administration of justice as in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Naturally, the EFCC reports to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice. The history of the relationship between the EFCC and its supervisory authority has not been what was envisaged by its founders.

Instead, this relationship has been characterised by power-play, intrigues and clash of interests. Except for the pioneer chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, no other chairman of EFCC has enjoyed the relative independence of the commission, devoid of the hot breath of the supervisory authority down its shoulders. Even in his wee hours as chairman – when the government that appointed him left office – Ribadu was being subjected to the daily scrutiny of the attorney-general, who was pursuing his own political interests. Ask Ibrahim Lamorde and Mrs. Farida Waziri, they probably would not have nice things to say about their working relationship with Mohammed Adoke and Michael Aondoakaa, respectively.

This background is perhaps necessary to locate the trajectory of the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla. The previous week, Obla, as reported in the media, accused the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, and the ICPC Chairman Ekpo Nta, of insubordination. Specifically, he alleged that the two heads of anti-corruption agencies had refused to submit to the attorney-general (or is it his National Committee on Prosecution), the case-files of more than 35 high profile former governors and senators, under their investigation.

Obono-Obla, who clearly came across as a proxy of the attorney-general, not only suggested reporting the EFCC and ICPC chairmen to the Presidency, but equally threatened sanctions against them. Even more troubling is the introduction of subtle blackmail in Obla’s tone, by suggesting that the non-submission of the files by the ant-corruption agencies “caused a setback to the anti-graft campaign of the Federal Government,” and had led to the loss of some high-profile cases in court recently.

It is reassuring that Obono-Obla, being a critical stakeholder, is worried about the flagging of the anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari’s government. Obono-Obla was appointed by a President who wants his fight against corruption to succeed, perhaps, more than any other policy. The President rightly or wrongly sees the EFCC, as presently constituted, perfectly suited to lead the onslaught against corruption. That is why, despite the rejection of Ibrahim Magu by the Senate on two occasions, President Buhari has insisted that the EFCC chairman remains his only choice to head the anti-corruption agency.

The earlier aides of President Buhari understand this position and work towards cooperating, rather than weakening his choice at the EFCC, the better for all of us, in terms of winning this war against a well-fortified enemy. It is interesting to note that the week Obono-Obla, on behalf of the attorney-general, lashed out at Magu, requesting for more than 35 files from the EFCC, was the same week the Senate voted against splitting the Office of the Attorney-General from the Minister of Justice; it was the same week that the Senate, within a record one week, passed the National Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) Act into law, seeking to remove it from the EFCC.

More than anything else, the dirty politics within the Executive arm -  apparently to force Ibrahim Magu out of the EFCC, for whatever reason - is responsible for the loss of steam in the fight against corruption. While it is all too easy to blame the Senate for truncating Magu’s confirmation, the Department of State Security (DSS) provided the fuel with which the Senate used in lynching him.

Now, the attorney-general, using Obono-Obla as a proxy, is literally asking for the keys to the EFFC building, because that is what submitting the requested files means. Yes, EFCC must report to the attorney-general and seek clarifications where there are doubts, but this whole idea of requesting for the files of high profile politicians under investigation triggers something quite ominous in the land. The last attorney-general, who made similar demands on the EFCC was Michael Aondoakaa, under the presidency of Umar Yar’Adua.

By the time Aondoakaa finished with his abracadabra, Chief James Ibori, the former governor of Delta State, had escaped justice in Nigeria, only to be convicted in a foreign country, to the shame of our judiciary and the EFCC. Granted, the attorney-general and Obono-Obla may have noble reasons for requesting EFCC to hand over files of high profile politicians under investigation for prosecution, but can they vouch for everyone in their team, including their own staff, that information will not be traded this time around? And mind you, in two years’ time, another general election is due, and politicians are getting ever so desperate.

There is no doubt that Obono-Obla is passionate about fighting corruption and wants successful prosecution of suspects in court. Indeed, he publicly speaks forcefully about this. Yet, sometimes, without knowing it, we sabotage the very projects we pursue with our own hands. Obono-Obla has been here and everywhere throwing his weight around. He is constantly getting on the nerves of his fellow-lawyers, who disagree with his viewpoint. He goes about castigating judges for taking sides with ‘corrupt people’, in explaining some of the losses the government has suffered in the courts. If he thinks this attitude helps in the anti-corruption war, he is dead wrong. 

What will help though is to use his committee to strengthen the EFCC; not by making himself a willing tool in an orchestrated plan that may end up undermining EFCC operations.

Uche Ugboajah, a policy analyst, writes from Abuja.

Source News Express

Posted 09/08/2017 1:38:24 PM

 

Share on facebook Yahoo mail icon Gmail icon Share on Google+


 

CLASSIFIED ADS

REVEALED: 3 natural ways to get stronger erections, last 25 minutes on bed, and increase manhood size without using drugs. Also, Natural Prostrate Enlargement Remedy.. Get In HERE...

 

You may also like...
Uduaghan’s battle to save Sen. Ewherido’s life •Why...

NUPENG commences training of 3,000 tanker drivers

FG restates commitment to combating illicit financial flows...

13 people killed in fresh attack on Zamfara...

Drama, as Innoson shuns arraignment for fourth time...

WE ARE READY TO DIE —New PDP tells...

Activists launch campaign to break up Facebook

El-Rufai, 103 others escape death in Aero mishap...

Emir’s son arrested over bomb scare

Nigeria repeating Biafra mistake?

Biafra youth leader hits back at Obasanjo

Cameroon jails separatists after extradition from Nigeria

 

Latest News Leah Sharibu, Dapchi Five and ransom scam, By Ann Mcgregor, PhD Another showdown at APC convention as delegates exchange blows, throw chairs Many feared killed as gunmen invade villages in Plateau Why we did not attend APC National Convention — Kwankwaso Group accuses Bayelsa APC of recruiting cultists for elections ISIS Threat: FG beefs up security, deploys AIG to Lagos airport FG to begin Voluntary Asset Repatriation Scheme as VAIDS expires Surveyors offer to help FG fight insurgency, herdsmen/farmers clash SERAP wins battle to compel Adamu, Ogbeh to account for spending on water US government reunites 522 children removed under 'zero tolerance' NLNG to boost domestic LPG supply with new vessel NEITI urges review of Oil Producing Agreements

 

Most Read Nigerian female sex addict opens up, says ‘I like it with both men and women’ (353,078 views) NUDE PHOTO OF OMOTOLA JALADE-EKEINDE surfaces online (353,014 views) Shameless Genevieve Nnaji exposes breasts in public (281,011 views) Finally named: The full list of friends of Nigerian female sex addict who prowled Facebook (230,618 views) Igbo scholar disgraces Femi Fani-Kayode •Demolishes claims on Igbo/Yoruba history with facts and figures (209,451 views) OLUMBA OLUMBA OBU (the one who called himself God) IS DEAD (209,435 views) Breaking News: POPULAR REVEREND CONVERTS TO ISLAM in Kaduna (Nigeria) (182,266 views) OBJ’s son reported dead in Lagos plane crash •Names of more victims emerge (164,459 views) THE FINAL DISGRACE: Igbo scholar unleashes more facts about Igbo/Yoruba history, finishes off Femi Fani-Kayode with second article (154,146 views) My wasted years in Olumba Olumba Obu’s Evil Brotherhood (149,052 views) Lagos plane crash: Journalist releases victims’ names (144,228 views) Gunmen kill ASP, 2 other police officers in vain bid to kidnap Rivers PDP chieftain (135,937 views)

 

Categories Advertorials (3) African Press Organisation (81) Art & Literature (50) Business & Economy (3,267) Business Verdict (44) Columnists (871) Complaints & Requests (94) Enterprise & Opportunities (207) Entertainment (507) Features (608) Global Business Monitor (284) International (2,056) Interview (155) Live Commentary (28) Love Matters (124) News (36,462) Opinion (1,005) Pidgin (10) Politics (5,333) Religion (772) Sports (1,562) Stock Watch (30) AMA & Al Jazeera Global Update

 

CBN banner

Firstmobile banner

 

 

NEWS EXPRESS TV

Nigeria vs Iceland 2-0 All Goals & Highlights

 

APO Group Partner

 

 

CLASSIFIED ADS

GOCOP Accredited Member

GOCOP Accredited member

 

 

Africa Media Agency and Al Jazeera

Advertisement