*9th Senate A Rubber Stamp, Not Surprised — OdumakinTemidayo Akinsuyi, Lagos
President Muhammadu Buhari may re-present Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to the Senate for confirmation as the substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency, Daily Independent has gathered.
A presidency source who does not want his name in print disclosed this to our correspondent on Thursday.
Efforts by President Buhari to get Magu confirmed by the 8th Senate led by Bukola Saraki, immediate past Senate President, were rebuffed by the lawmakers who rejected him twice, citing reports written against him by the Department of State Services (DSS).
Magu took charge of the EFCC in an acting capacity following the expiration of the tenure of his former boss, Ibrahim Lamorde, in November 2015.
He had presided over the affairs of the commission for eight months before Vice President Yemi Osinbajo made the nomination to the Senate on July 22, 2016, when he (Osinbajo) was acting president.
However, the Senate, on December 15, 2016, declined to confirm Magu based on a DSS status report which discredited his capability to carry out his duties creditably. The DSS also accused Magu of being corrupt, an accusation the acting EFCC boss queried.
Determined to get Magu confirmed, President Buhari again presented Magu before the Senate in March 2017 but he was rejected by the majority of the senators present at the plenary after it was put to a vote.
His rejection followed the receipt of another letter from the DSS which stated that he (Magu) would be “a liability to the anti-corruption fight of the present administration” if confirmed.
When asked to replace Magu with another qualified candidate, Osinbajo had said Magu would not be replaced. He said the president did not find the security report prepared by the DSS, which was the basis of his rejection, a strong reason to replace Magu.
Speaking with our correspondent on Wednesday, our source said with a new National Assembly which had pledged total support for the president in place and resolved to work for the interest of Nigerians, President Buhari might soon re-present Magu before the Ahmad Lawan-led Senate.
“In order to show his commitment to the anti-corruption war which is one of the three cardinal programmes of his administration, President Buhari may soon re-present Magu to the 9th Senate.
“The 8th Senate under Saraki refused to confirm him for reasons best known to them even when the president gave him a clean bill of health.
“But I believe the president will soon forward his name to the Senate and I believe there won’t be any issue this time around,” the source said.
Speaking with Daily Independent, Prof. Itse Sagay, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), said it would be a big plus for the war against corruption if the president forwarded Magu’s name to the Senate for confirmation.
“Certainly, the president can re-present him so that the Senate can approve him for a substantive capacity rather than continuing in acting capacity.
“That will give Magu greater confidence because he is already doing very well. Yes, he can re-present his name for confirmation,” he said.
However, Yinka Odumakin, National Publicity Secretary of pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenfere, said with a rubber stamp Senate, any nominee sent by President Buhari, even if he were a convicted criminal, would just be asked to take a bow and go.
“We already have a rubber stamp National Assembly. Even if the president sends the name of a notorious convicted armed robber to this Senate for confirmation as EFCC chairman, they will just say yes, sir, and ask the person to bow and go.
“If Lawrence Anini resurrected today and the president says, ‘I nominate Lawrence Anini as the chairman of EFCC’, this Senate would just say, ‘bow and go’. It is a rubber stamp Senate, so anything goes,” he said.