The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, says President Buhari has resolved to work with Ibrahim Magu as Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman to stamp out endemic corruption in the country, a statement by Kaduna governor Nasir El-Rufai has said.
El-Rufai, who represented Osinbajo at the inauguration of the Kaduna office of the anti-graft agency on Thursday, said that those who think that they were winning in fighting back against the government’s war on corruption, should wake up.
“Mr Chairman, two weeks ago, I discussed the EFCC and your appointment with President Muhammadu Buhari and he told me he has every confidence in you and every confidence in the commission and the work that you have been doing, and as long as he is president you remain the chairman of the EFCC,’’ El-Rufai said.
El-Rufai also told the gathering that the Acting president was also solidly behind Magu.
“Last night, I spoke with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who reconfirmed the position of the President and told me that as long as he remained the Acting President or Vice President, Ibrahim Magu would remain the chairman of the EFCC. That is the only message from the President, so those thinking that corruption is winning this war, Magu would remain their nightmare for the next two years or six years as the case may be.’’
There has been back and forth between the Presidency and National Assembly over the nomination of Magu as EFCC Chairman. The Senate had on two occasions, rejected his nomination, stating a security report that linked him with a “corrupt” businessman.
Since his appointment, Magu had enjoyed the confidence of both President Buhari and Acting President Osinbajo.
Last April, Osinbajo explained why the government was backing Magu. “I’m fully in support of Magu as the EFCC Chairman just as the president is…” Osinbajo said.
When asked about the Senate rejection of candidate Magu twice, Osinbajo replied: “It is up to the Senate to make their judgement. If our candidate is rejected… we can represent our candidate.”
At the Senate plenary on Tuesday, senators attacked Osinbajo’s purported statement on the limit of senate’s confirmatory powers.
The Senate, therefore, in a four-prayer motion, resolved to suspend all confirmation requests from the executive until decisions of the legislature is respected by the presidency.
The decision of the Senate arose from a motion raised by Senator Sani Yerima, following a letter requesting the confirmation of Lanre Gbajabiamila as Director-General of the National Lottery Commission.
The presidency had also described as false and misleading some media reports that the Attorney General and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami repudiated Osinbajo’s position over the retention of Magu.
Reports said Malami told State House reporters after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday that the decision to retain Magu was solely Osinbajo’s decision and not that of the Federal Executive Council.
“The fundamental consideration about the alleged statement is the fact that at no point ever did the Federal Executive Council sit down to arrive at the decision in one-way or the other as far as the issue of nomination or otherwise is concerned. So, I do not think it constitutes an issue for the Federal Executive Council to make any clarification because it has never been considered by the FEC,” Malami had said.
There have since been suggestions that Malami was distancing the FEC from the decision to retain Magu on the job.
The Presidency clarified thus: “The Attorney-General’s point is that decisions on Presidential nominations are matters for the Presidency and not the Federal Executive Council”.