Indications yesterday emerged that a proxy war have ensued between the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, and some core loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari following the controversies trailing the recall of Alhaji Abdulrasheed Maina into the Federal Civil Service.
This is coming as the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, alleged that Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) government are culpable in the cases of corruption, maintaining that the president’s integrity claim had been rubbished by his treatment of all corruption cases involving his aides.
Maina, a former Chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reforms, had been on the run since 2013 after he was implicated in the pension fraud and declared wanted by the EFCC.
The fugitive later resurfaced at the Ministry of Interior where he was elevated to the position of a director on grade level 16.
The embarrassing discovery triggered altercations between the Minister of Interior, Brig Gen. Abdul-rahman Dambazzau (rtd) and the Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, with both denying responsibility for Maina’s reinstatement into the service.
These denials came amidst acceptance by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, that he initiated the process of Maina’s recall based on a court judgment and in public interest.
In reaction, Buhari ordered Maina’s sacking and directed an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the recall. But not seeing a public announcement of the probe report, three days after it was meant to have been submitted, Fayose queried the disposition of the president and why the probe into the matter was yet to be brought to public domain.
“The President directed the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, to submit a report on the circumstances surrounding Maina’s reinstatement to his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, before the close of work on Tuesday.
“Today is Friday, what has happened to the report? Is the President going to use APC broom to sweep the report on Maina’s fraudulent reinstatement under the carpet just as he did to others before it?” The governor queried.
Saturday Telegraph however gathered that since fingers had been pointed at some key personalities in the Buhari administration, the case has further polarised loyalists of the president. It was learnt that most of those fingered in the Maina recall saga were the same elements that had opposed the nomination of Magu as head of the anti corruption agency. It was further learnt that the zeal with which the EFCC clamped down on Maina in the last one week might not be unconnected with the animosity between Magu and the so-called cabal who had shown disdain to Magu’s leadership of the anti-graft war.
A security source who spoke with Saturday Telegraph on the condition of anonymity said that one might not rule out the possibility that Magu was out to expose his detractors who had allegedly been found complicit in the Maina saga. According to him: “The cabal has been working against Magu and this might be his chance to pay them back by inflicting as much pain as possible on their candidate, Maina, who is now at large.
Fayose, who would not let go of his attacks on the Buhari regime, also carpeted the current administration over what he referred to as “diversionary tactics” of the government. He said: “As posited by APC’s Senator Shehu Sani, when it comes to fighting corruption in the National Assembly and the Judiciary and in the larger Nigerian sectors, the President uses insecticide, but when it comes to fighting corruption within the Presidency, he uses deodorants.”
He also alleged of a plan to release another set of Chibok Girls numbering 19 as a means of shifting the attention of Nigerians from various scandals in which the administration had lately been embroiled.
“The claimed recovery of $85 million as part of funds allegedly looted from the Malabu oil deal and conclusion of negotiation with Switzerland on the return of $321 million recovered from the late Abacha family are diversionary.”
Detailing lengthy timeline of corruption allegations, especially emanating from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in the past two years, Fayose, who addressed journalists at his official residence in Ado- Ekiti, said: “Within the last one month, Nigerians have been confronted with messy revelations that gave credence to my earlier position that Buhari is either not in charge or has decided to look other ways as corruption gets perpetrated by various government officials.”
Some of the alleged corruption practices Fayose listed included alleged donation of two Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) to the wife of the President, Aisha Buhari, by Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris; and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu’s allegation of award of $25 billion contracts without following due process against the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); Dr. Maikanti Baru.
“Like I have maintained, President Buhari is not fighting any corruption. He is hiding under anti-corruption fight to harass his perceived political foes,” Fayose said.
Saturday Telegraph made series of attempt to obtain comments from the EFCC on the reasons behinds its recent actions against Maina but these attempts met a brick wall. Spokesman for the agency, Wilson Uwujaren, did not pick the calls to his mobile phone and did not also respond to text messages on the matter.