By Bolaji O Akinyemi.
A nation at the brink needs a leader who won’t bat an eyelid in confronting critical issues.
Nigeria is no doubt a great nation; her potentials attests to this fact, but her greatness has been constantly hampered by a potpourri of negativities which are at work to dwarf this greatness, top on the list being the pillaging of our common patrimony by politicians and government officials and of course a leadership that turns a blind eye when it should be stern.
However, at a time like this where every step taken towards a turnaround must match our developmental aspirations as a nation, drastic measures are long overdue. The present administration has not just been drastic, it has been dramatic at it.
The country has been going around in circles, in search of good and responsive leadership, not only at the very top, but also at the state, local government and parastatal levels.
The societal misdemeanour called corruption has been comfortably woven into the fabric of our system to the extent that we sleep with it and wake up to it. In fact, it is a way of life, especially when one considers the fact that where the head is rotten, it spreads to the other parts of the body.
The above might have instructed the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in the year 2003, with the sole aim of tackling the menace of crimes and criminality in public offices as well as other financial crimes, and reducing them to the bearest minimum. Unfortunately, however, the move seemed to have been counter-productive so far, in that since its establishment, the agency has always been enmeshed in one controversy or the other from the outset.
One of the greatest challenges of the agency, perhaps, has been the fact that a square peg has always been pushed into a round hole, making corruption fight not only a mirage but also a fruitless mission. For instance, under the pioneer chairman of the agency, Nuhu Ribadu, the agency was considered a lame duck because of selective prosecutions that reigned supreme. To think that Mallam Ribadu was a career law enforcement officer with the Nigeria Police called to question the ineffectiveness of the agency under him. EFCC can’t afford selective prosecutions at this season when the past, present and the future demand justice if our merry go round will terminate at a new nation!
Subsequently after Ribadu, bosses of the EFCC did not fare better. He is now the national security adviser. But if Ribadu was above board and was not consumed by corruption itself, the same could not be said of his successors who were bundled out of office in controversial circumstances for compromising in the corruption fight.
To this end, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu must understand that he is not graced with big eyeballs for nothing. He need not bat his eyeslids or blink his eyes, as a lot of homework is required in the choice of the next czar of the agency. Applying sentiments in the appointment at this point will lead us to no where but to square one. Already, a lot of names have been touted around as the possible choice for the position of chairman of EFCC but we need to thread softly if we must reap good returns from the ultimate successor.
The kind of EFCC boss we need must be seen to be above board in all ramifications and these include being fearless, resolute, clean, not giving in to temptations of any kind and above all, must be loaded with experience garnered not only on the job of policing and crime fighting, but also through onshore and offshore training.
A potential EFCC boss must be legally sound, preferable with a law degree and courtroom exposure to save us the embarrassment of the many prosecutions without conviction experienced under Magu. A combination of law degree and police experience is inevitable if insight will be deployed to operations for prosecutions at earning conviction. Whether serving or retired, this combination is sacrosanct!
One of the weakest links of the past chairmen of the agency was using their weaknesses against them. Aside from money and other material wealth, it’s most embarrassing that some among past Chairmen easily fell to anything in skirts and were subdued at the altar of Jezebel.
The new Chairman should not just pass the mammon temptation. He must has been tested with women and must have come out clean. A Joseph who will frown at the alluring offer of women of power and in power.
There are many highly accomplished and seasoned law enforcement officers who have put in donkey years in service to the nation within the country and abroad. They are experienced in managing complex situations, implementing effective strategies, and maintaining public safety.
These men possess proven ability to foster community relations, collaborate with diverse stakeholders, and establish trust within multicultural environments in addition to garnering strong legal background, providing comprehensive knowledge of criminal law, evidence collection, and courtroom procedures. Their exceptional leadership skills are unmatched, having successfully directed large teams and overseen critical operations. These are the kind of men fit to manage the agency.
These men abound everywhere in Nigeria. They need to be fished out at this critical point to help lift their motherland which is on her knees at this moment, or lying prostrate as a result of the plucking of her resources by merciless men and women who come in the cloak of serving her but end up pillaging her to death.
May the big eyeballs of the President not bat nor blink at this critical time we need an EFCC Chairman not for himself or his party APC, but for the new Nigeria of our collective dream. May God help PBAT not to bat his eyes!
Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi is an Apostle and Nation Builder, Convener Apostolic Round Table and BOT Chairman Project Victory Call Initiative AKA PVC-Naija.