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Obasanjo Replies to Bamaiyi’s Allegations

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  • Obasanjo Replies to Bamaiyi’s Allegations

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted the claim by a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Ishaya Bamaiyi, that he (Obasanjo) planned to kill the former army chief.

Wondering why he would want to kill Bamaiyi, Obasanjo stated that his government between 1999 and 2007 arrested the former COAS to clear his name for allegedly killing other people during the reign of military dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.

He said this on Sunday at his Presidential Hilltop residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital while hosting members of the Ogun State Correspondents’ chapel.

The former President argued that the former Chief of Army Staff was arrested by law enforcement agencies in the country for alleged criminal acts.

Bamaiyi, in his recent book, ‘Vindication of A General’, accused Obasanjo of plotting to kill him to scuttle any plan by the former army chief from toppling his administration.

In the book, Bamaiyi stated, “Upon handing over power to Gen. Obasanjo in May 1999, Gen. (Abdulsalami) Abubakar told the new civilian President that he must rein in General Bamaiyi, else, he would overthrow the new government and from that moment, General Aliyu Gusau, the then National Security Adviser, and President Obasanjo made it a duty to imprison me by all means.

“When Obasanjo took over, some Peoples Democratic Party big shots decided that based on the report, I had control of the Army and should be arrested. The government looked for avenues to arrest me.

“They started by checking Army accounts to see if I had stolen money.”

When reacting to Bamaiyi’s allegations, Obasanjo, who was visibly angry, denied any plot by his government to kill Bamaiyi, but admitted his regime arrested him to ensure that he answered for his misdeeds.

Obasanjo added, “That I wanted to kill him? What of the people he allegedly killed? My government did not plot to kill him. My government asked him to answer for those that were alleged to have been killed by him and that is legitimate.

“That is if there is an allegation that you have done something, that you have committed a crime, then you are arrested; you should answer. That’s all; pure and simple!

“Who the hell is he that I would want to kill him? Kill him for what? To achieve what? No! There were allegations, the police and the law enforcement agencies decided to look into the allegations.

“They invited him and they asked him to answer as a result of what was found, so they charged him to court. So, it’s now up to him, the investigators, as I said, the prosecutors and the judiciary. That’s all.”

Obasanjo suggested a three-pronged approach of thorough investigation, diligent prosecution and ensuring that the judiciary is committed as a better way of fighting corruption.

This approach, he believed, would make anti-corruption agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission more effective.

The former President asked the anti-graft bodies to utilise the lawyers in its fold rather than engaging lawyers from outside the agencies to handle the prosecution of their cases.

Obasanjo believed that lawyers from outside the agencies might deliberately file a weak case just to give the other party an advantage.

He said, “To make the anti-graft agencies more effective, we need more light than heat. I was reading today when the President said the EFCC should stop losing cases.

They lose cases for a number of reasons. One, they engage more of outside lawyers. I believe that they need staunch ‘ogbologbo’ lawyers inside (within the agencies) that will do the work.

“If I am a lawyer and I want the opponent to win a case, what I will file will be wishy-washy. And if I file a wishy-washy case, the opponent will see the loophole and he will get out of it. I believe that it is important.

“Secondly, thorough investigation is very important. Now, investigation must be thorough, it must be proper and it must be really taking seriously.

“Our judges must be committed to fighting corruption because if the investigation is very sound and you have ‘ogbologbo’ lawyers to handle cases, if you have ‘Salamigate’ you know what the answer will be.

“So it is a line – investigation, prosecution and the judiciary. If there is a weakness along this line, chances are that corruption cases will continue to be lost.”

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

In The Fight Against Corruption, No Individual is Bigger Than The State – Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari

In response to the suspended acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, President Muhammed Buhari, lamented that the anti-corruption war becomes endangered “when persons entrusted with the responsibility of that magnitude become suspects themselves.”

Buhari, whose vision is to put an end to corruption in Nigeria, believed that every aspect of the nation’s life is enshrined in corruption and it’s of major concern when leaders of institutions saddled with the mandate to fight the menace are found in the waves of the corruption they claimed to be fighting.

This act is a great abomination not only because it strikes at the root but it also trivialises and undermines the anti-corruption crusade itself, the President explained.

He further said that in a bid to put an end to this great abomination, he had set up Ayo Salami Panel to unravel the mystery behind the mystique of Magu’s alleged involvement in corruption that his administration is fighting.

Buhari said that his administration is ready and willing to go all out in the fight against corruption, and no one is too big nor above the law to become a victim of anti-graft’s sledgehammer.

The president said, “However, the stark reality of widespread corruption becomes poignant when allegations of corruption touch on the leadership of an institution set up by law to coordinate and enforce all economic and financial crimes.

“It is an abomination that strikes at the root and undermines the government’s anti-corruption programme.

“It was in response to the serious allegations against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission that I set up a panel headed by the Honourable Justice Isa Ayo Salami, retired President of the Court of Appeal, via an Instrument dated 3rd July 2020 pursuant to the Tribunals of Inquiry Act (Cap T21, LFN, 2004).

“We recognise that there are more grounds to cover in the war against corruption, and we are prepared to go out to possess those lands by cutting off any stream that nourishes the seed of corruption and supports its growth.

“Let it be known that in the fight against corruption, no one is too big to tackle, as no individual is bigger than the Nigerian State!”

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In Search For The New EFCC Chairman, Justice Ayo Salami Panel Advises Buhari to Look Outside The Police Force

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Justice Ayo Salami’s panel advised President Muhammadu Buhari to look outside the Nigerian Police Force for the new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

A credible source confirmed that President Muhammadu Buhari may have decided to follow the panel recommendation to avoid a similar fate to that of Magu, the former chairman.

The source also confirmed that the panel recommendation was a result of sleaze allegations against suspended acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu. Also, that search team would be constituted in the next few days to slim down the possibilities of finding the right candidate to bring into reality the President’s vision of a corrupt-free anti-graft agency.

The source further confirmed that “the sleaze and abuse of office allegations against Magu, a commissioner of police, were overwhelming,” and that he may be put on trial.

As advised by the panel, the new EFCC chairman should be in interim position for two years.

It was suggested that the recommendation from the Justice Ayo Salami panel might have pinned Magu, according to Femi Adesina, the presidential spokesman, he advised president Buhari to consider looking into other law enforcement or security agencies, as well as considering important and diligent staff of EFCC in his plans to appoint the next EFCC chairman, as s provided in the EFCC Establishment Act of 2004.

Following the Justice Ayo Salami panel recommendation, Salami said “Your Excellency, permit me to say that four successive chairmen of the EFCC from inception have been drawn from the police. Therefore, in appointing a new chairman of EFCC, consideration should be given to candidates from other law enforcement or security agencies and qualified core staff of EFCC as provided in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment Act 2004).

“It is also important to point out that at the moment, 970 policemen (114 drivers, 641 mobile policemen and 215 operations), are on secondment in the EFCC.

“Therefore, an exit plan for the disengagement of the police and other personnel within two years from now should be considered. This will address the issue of non-promotion of core staff for over nine years.

“Your Excellency, our thinking here is that whoever you are appointing other than a core EFCC staff, should be in transitional capacity of two years during which period, the arrangement would be made for the appointment of any of the core staff who has been commended by National Crime Agency, UK and other international law enforcement for their professionalism”.

Justice Ayo Salami appreciated the president for giving members of the panel an avenue to serve the country.

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Ezekwesili Presents Research Findings on Fixing Nigeria’s Politics

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A quest to understand the interconnection between politics and economic performance in a democratic society motivated Richard von Weizacker fellowship and research study at the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin, Germany, Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili said on Wednesday.

She stated this at the public launch of #FixPolitics, where she presented findings from her fellowship research on how to fix politics in Nigeria and Africa more broadly.

Ezekwesili invited 124 Nigerians from diverse fields of endeavour and geopolitical zones to collaborate on designing the research findings over the last one year as a Work Study Group. The group is the co-leadership organ responsible for an integrated citizens-led actions to fix the broken political system.

She pointed out that politics in Nigeria was not fulfilling the core requirement of a democratic system, which was to provide good governance for the common wellbeing of citizens.

“My research findings primarily reinforce that the poor state of affairs in Nigeria is the consequence of the quality of politics at play. Politics is at the heart of everything any society can or will become. The essential process of democracy is not complete without politics,” the 2019 Nigerian Presidential candidate said.

In her study, she established primarily that in a democratic system, “there are three triangular pillars which determine the kind of outcomes that politics will produce for the people.

Explaining the concept, the former World Bank vice president said, “On the right angle or demand side of the triangle is the electorate; on the left or supply side is the politicians, political class and parties; and at the top is the regulatory – constitutional, legal, electoral and institutional context within which the politics happen.”

According to her, these tripod pillars create an interconnecting network of actions that determine the outcomes of every political system.

“Every pillar or angle of the triangle must function effectively and concurrently with the other two to enable the right quality of politics that will deliver strong economic performance for a people.

“In evaluating the outcome of politics in Nigeria and Africa, my study established that the quality of the electorate, quality of political class and quality and lack of independence and capacity of political institutions constitute a structural and systemic problem for democracy and must therefore be fixed by citizens,” Ezekwesili said.

She also said, “The research found that Nigeria is ridden with politicians without competing ideas of how to solve the problems of citizens, who lack a culture of public service and subordinate the common good to their personal and narrow interests.

“The constitutional, legal, institutional and regulatory environment is compromised by the political class to more frequently act without independence, fairness and adherence to the rule of law. The political space is thus completely monopolised by the supply side of governance, that is the political class, thereby causing political, economic and social stagnation for the nation and people.

“Currently in our politics, voters generally lack the level of influence necessary to compel the right political processes and good outcomes that serve the good of all in society.

“The bright prospect is that evidence from the #FixPolitics research shows that citizens are the only angle of the triangle that can act and propel systemic change by collectively and decisively acting for their common good.”

To alter the status quo, Ezekwesili said only the electorate “have the incentive to correct the abnormality in a political system.”

She added, “It is the collective effort of citizens that can change the quality of political class and compel the kind of constitutional and electoral changes required to achieve good governance.”

Delivering a keynote address, former President Felipe Calderon of Mexico said there was an enormous gap between the interests of the citizens and that of the politicians, which he saw as a major problem to a democratic setting.

“To fix politics in Nigeria, the citizens and the politicians must work together and represent the same in practical life,” he said.

Calderon further said that “citizens must change their perception of politics and political participation rather than holding to a view that politics is for corrupt and dishonest people.”

According to him, corrupt people are quite the opposite of what politics stands. “To fix politics is what happens when the people participate and take responsibility to provide political participation with ethical sense and ethical parameters,” Calderon added.

In a goodwill message, former President of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda, said politics should be seen as an inclusive love affair and if institutionally implemented, “Africa will witness a great change in its democratic system.”

While dissecting the dynamics of democracy, three intergenerational panels with discussants like Prof. Atahiru Jega, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Aisha Yesufu, Iyinoluwa Aboyeji, Jude Abaga(also known as M.I Abaga), Cynthia Mbamalu, Yemi Adamolekun, Samson Itodo, among others, agreed that there was an emerging consensus to fix politics in Nigeria as the status quo was untenable and unsustainable.

Speakers like Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, Ayo Sogunro, Ndi Kato, Adewunmi Emoruwa, and Dr. Usman Bugaje highlighted that “there is a need for young people and women to fully engage in partisan politics, create platforms for political engagement, use politics as a tool for framing a shared vision based on a new dominant value orientation of public service, connect the elite with the grassroots and mobilise the Nigerian public to mount pressure on the legislature for the right constitutional and electoral changes.”

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