The raging news like the raging killing pandemic in Nigeria is the presidential probe of Ibrahim Magu, Nigeria’s anti-corruption boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), our very powerful anti- corruption flagship.
In journalism, there is a common saying that ‘when a dog bites a man it is no news, but when a man bites a dog ‘then that is news. That really is the plight of the man at the helm of affairs of the EFCC in the present FGN committed anti-corruption war. To me, his trial is evidence that the Buhari government has not gone to sleep on its self-set goal to fight corruption to a standstill, as it has certainly done on the issue of security and supply of electricity to Nigerians.
Today, my focus is on the anti- corruption war in Nigeria and I say again that the trial of the EFCC boss in the presidency with the media locked out but with news and allegations of corruption filtering out in a media trial of sorts, shows quite clearly that there is no sacred cow in the Buhari government anti – corruption war. As usual, I expect the opposition PDP to attack the government more on corruption. But now that the EFCC boss himself is being probed and a governorship aspirant of the ruling APC in Edo State, Mr Ize Iyamu is in court on allegations of fraud of 700m naira, so soon after the ruling party guber primaries, I do not see how the PDP can still insist that the government is only hounding opposition figures in its anti- corruption war.
Certainly war, any war, is a messy bloody business on any front and on any issue and some wise guy has cracked wisely that ‘war is politics continued by other means ‘. That is the approach I take on today’s analysis of events and issues in the last week. Of course we will discuss this Magu Probe. I will also discuss the praises showered on the outgoing Chinese Ambassador in Nigeria by the Nigerian government praising China for its huge infrastructural support for Nigeria during the tenure of the Chinese diplomat in Nigeria. We shall also look at the American President Donald Trump’s July 4 Independence Day speech in which he literally declared war on those he called anarchists destroying statues of great Americans and in which he condemned those he said are using the’ Cancel Culture ‘ to denigrate and desecrate American heroes and stifle free speech in the US. This really is not only Trump’s own anti-corruption war, it is the basis of his campaign to be reelected in the November 2020 presidential elections just four months away. These then are the issues we will decipher today.
Indeed the trial of the EFCC boss has shown that corruption can really fight back powerfully not only from outside of government but even within it, as the probe has shown. Certainly, the prosecutor in this Magu Probe is the Attorney General of the Federation Mr. Abubakar Malami SAN, who is the Chief Legal officer of the land. It is noteworthy that part of the allegations against the EFCC boss was the reported leaking of details of the EFCC cases to the media as well as insubordination.
Now, the EFCC boss is having a dose of his medicine even though the media so far has been barred from his trial. Of course some senators who have cases with the EFCC will be happy with the predicament of the anti -corruption boss, but that surely is fake news, because with or without him in charge, the government through its Chief Legal Officer, has shown that there is no sacred cow in the war against corruption, and the legislature is not a legal sanctuary against corruption in this government. That indeed was why the Senate never approved Magu’s appointment as required by law as he has been acting ever since he was appointed before his rumored suspension and present predicament. His trial and the shocking revelations have shown that he has not heard of the Shakespearian injunction that ‘Caesar’s wife must be above reproach‘. All the same, he should be given a fair trial according to the rule of law and presumed innocent until proven otherwise. That is the only way that government can show that in the fight against corruption, which is a major goal of this government; ’those who live in glass houses should not throw stones‘. That certainly is the moral of this evolving EFCC probe saga.
We go now to the commendation of the Chinese Ambassador by Nigeria officials praising China for infrastructural support in Nigeria. Nothing wrong with that except that he should have been reminded that Nigerians are shocked by the messy treatment given Nigerian students in China at the outbreak of his global pandemic which US President Donald Trump has called a Chinese virus. Nigerian students in China were racially discriminated against and some ejected from campuses. That is a sore and ugly story on China.
Secondly on, China’s support is no free lunch and government should be wary because the Chinese always make sure their loans are paid as at when due and do not give free loans. They have seized airports and sea ports from some nations in Asia which could not redeem their loans when due. Even in Nigeria they have been hostile in treating Nigerian workers and many Nigerians are not happy with that. The Ambassador should have been told that on his way out that Nigerians deserve respect both here at home and more so in China as citizens of a sovereign nation with equal rights with any Chinese in any part of the world. That really is the essence of diplomacy and the duty of diplomats all over the world.
We go on to the US where in a rather interesting manner US President Donald Trump deliberately forgot the pandemic and declared war on those he called the radical left on July 4. In his widely published speech he said ‘We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the anarchist, the agitators, the looters‘ and people he said had no clue on what they are doing. Of course the American people by now know that their president is an unusual one and a perennial verbal war monger on many issues including the pandemic and his weapon of choice, peculiar to him is Tweeter, a technology that appeared at the beginning of his tenure and which he has used massively and effectively to fight the opposition against him till the raging pandemic broke his stride in the run up to this November presidential election.
Trump is trying his best to deride the achievements and protests of Black Lives Matter by diverting attention to history and the preservation of statues of former American presidents, generals and politicians whose statues and legacies are being pulled down because they had slaves in their time. It is a fast political diversion and it is his own way of salvaging his reelection plans, especially, as his opponents are using his handling and defiance of the severity of the pandemic to campaign furiously against him. This has made the election four months away a do or die matter for both parties in this November presidential election. If Trump gets to win and be reelected this year, he certainly will be regarded as the Houdini of US Politics and his statue will surely be in the Garden of Heroes he promised on July 4 2020 to create in 2021. That means he is confident of reelection in November 2020.
Once again, From the fury of this raging pandemic, Good Lord deliver Nigeria.