nder Buhari’s AdministrationBy Suleiman Umaru
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, appears to have sent a message to all the Chief Executive Officers, CEOs, in government owned agencies to prepare to go. This may have become more pronounced with the sack ofGodwin Emefiele , a former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and and Abdulrasheed Bawa, his Counterpart in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, dtained by Yususuf Magaji Bichi, led Department of State services, DSS.
As a prelude for the former Lagos state governor to sack the two key players in the Buhari’s Administration, and several others within the last two months, Emefiele and Bawa, particular, were said to have been put under close watch by the DSS. Emefiele, the immediate past CBN, governor, who had been accused by Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state and now Senate president of running an alternative government during the Buhari’s Administration was the first to go.
E was replaced by Michael Cardaso, a former Commissioner of Economic Planning and Budget, under the Tibubu’s administration as governor of Lagos state and who later became Head of Citibank in Nigerian Barely two months after the Delta state banker tendered his resignation as governor of CBN Aand was replaced by Cardaso, another banker, it was the turn of Bawa, the immediate past antigraft agency Executive Chairman to resign his appointment as well.
Perhaps to avoid creating a vacuum in the all-important agency, the Nigerian President may have taken advantage of the powers vested on him as established in section 2(3) of the EFCC Act, 2004, and following the resignation of the agency former Executive Chairman to appoint of Ola Olukayode, a Lawyer, with over 22 years of experience as a regulatory compliance Consultant , a fraud management and Corporate intelligence specialist as the new Executive Chairman of the Commission.
Olukayode’s appointment as the new EFCC Chairman, according to Ajuri Ngelale, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, is for a renewable term of four years pending the confirmation of Akpabio led Senate.
Until Bawa’s suspension and removal from of office by the Nigerian President, he has been under the close watch of the DSS, since 1919, over the allegations of selling 24 trucks valued at about N20 million and N30 million each to cronies at the cost of N100,000.00 per unit, and the country losing over N4 billion from the dirty deal.
Bello Mattawale, a former governor of Zamfara state and now minister of State, Defence, may have made matters worse for the erstwhile the EFCC Chairman and strengthened the resolve of the DSS, under the Leadership of Bichi to conduct proper investigations into his conduct while in office as he had accused Bawa of demanding $2 million from him over an undisclosed reason.
Wilson Uwajaren, spokesperson of the agency may have given an insight on why the former Zamfara state could level such allegations against the former EFCC helmsman because ‘’he was a suspect under investigations for corruption and conscionable pillage of the resources of the state’’ .
The former EFCC boss, may not have found the allegations funny as he was said to have challenged the former Zamfara state governor to provide evidence to back his claims but that was how far he could go.
Many believe that Bawa’s stay at PortHarcourt, Capital of Rivers state as the Head of the Commission’s office was fraught with allegations of shady deals but the then EFCC Executive Chairman Ibrahim Magu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police and now an Assistant Inspector General, AIG, of police appeared reluctant to discipline him.
An insider informed the Magazine that Olukayode, the EFCC,’s Secretary, who was the most senior officer of the agency and who ought to have been appointed to replace Magu who had been removed by the then President Buhari on the recommendations of Abubakar Malami, the minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, on allegations of Corruption, insubordination and abuse of office on was said to have been denied the position on grounds that he had no background on the agency operations. Mohammed Abba, the Director of Operations, was appointed as the acting Chairman of the Commission.
Many had expected the then President Buhari to do right thing by appointing Olukayode, who had served as the Chief of Staff to Magu, one-time Executive Chairman of the EFCC between 2016 and 2018 and Secretary of the Commission between 2018 and 2023, to occupy the EFCC Executive Chairman Seat when it became vacant following the expiration of the six months acting capacity of Abba, the Director of Operations.
The Katsina state born Nigerian President may have shocked Nigerians when asked the Ammadu Lawan , led Senate in 2021, to confirm Bawa, who has background in operations as the EFCC Chairman , leaving out Olukayode. He had his way.
Prior to Olukayode’s recent appointment as the new EFCC Chairman, Tinubu, last June had appointed one Abdulkarim Chukol who was the agency’s Director of operations as the acting Chairman. There have been controversy in political and legal circles over the appointment of Olukayode as the new EFCC helmsman.
Daniel Bwala, spokesperson, of Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential Candidate of the Opposition People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Campaign Organisation, in the February 25, 2023, general elections may have spoken the mind of the PDP, flag bearer when he declared that Tinubu’s appointment of Olukayode, a Lawyer as the Chairman of EFCC, ‘’violates section 2 of the Commission’s Act’’.
Festus Ogun, a Human Rights activist, may have hit the nail on the head when he revealed that Olukayode does not ‘’possess the 15 years cognate experience in any security or Law enforcement agency as required by the EFCC Act’’ to head the antigraft agency, arguing that being a former Chief of Staff to Magu, a one-time Chairman of the Commission ad Secretary was not enough guarantee for Tinubu to have appointed him to head such a sensitive office that is very demanding.
He had alluded to Section 2(1) of the EFCC Act which provides that ‘’a person appointed as Chairman of the EFCC shall be a serving or retired member of any government security or Law enforcement agency, particular the Police but not below the rank of an Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP or equivalent in any other security agency and must possess not less than 15 years cognate experience’’.
Appealing to the Nigerian President to withdraw the appointment with immediate effect, or be ready to meet him in Court, he noted that ‘’we must not allow Lawlessness and impunity to reign supreme in the country ’’. Whether the Nigerian President would heed to the advice of the Human Rights Activist remain to be seen.
He has earlier approved the appointment of new Chief Executive Oficers, CEO, across multiple agencies under the ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy. Following on the heels of the appointment of the new CEOs for Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, NIGCOMSAT, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Nigerian Data Protection Commission, NPC, Nigerian Postal Service, NIPOST, the President has approved the appointment of new CEOs for 11 other agencies in the Federal ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment under the close watch of .
They are the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, and Stands Organisation of Nigeria, SON. This is in addition to Ntional Sugar Development Council, NSDC, Nigeria Export Processing Zone Authority, NEPZA, Nigeria Export Promotion Counci, NEPC, Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC, Oil and Gas Free Zone Authority, OGFZA and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency, SMEDAN.
The CEOs of Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, Nigeria Commodities Exchange, NCE, Lagos International Trade Fair Complex, LITFCMB, Tafawa Balewa Square Management Board, TBSMB and National Automotive Design and Development Council, NADDC, who were appointed by former President were said to have also been sacked by Tinubu.
Fears appears to have gripped the CEOs, of the agencies in the Federal ministry of Aviation, Transportation and the new Federal ministry of Marine and Blue Economy which has Ademoyegha Oyetola, a former governor of Osun state as the minister. There are speculations in both official and unofficial circles that the foursome Mohammed Bello-Koko, of the Nigerian Ports Authority , NPA, Bashir Jamoh, OFR, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, described as Mr. Projects in maritime circles and Emmanuel Jime, Executive Secretary , Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, and George Moghalu of the Nigerian Inland Water Ways Authority, NIWA, may be relieved of their appointments, which industry operators had said may draw the hand of the clock back in the industry as the foursome have set track records in their respective agencies that are yet to be equalled when compared with records of past CEOs of the agencies.
Most of the CEOs in the agencies in the ministry of Marine and Blue Economy may not have spent a term of four years as they were said to been appointed by the Administration of former President between 2020 and 2021.