Magu: A Nation’s Five Years Go to Waste By Olawale Olaleye

In the foreseeable future, there’ll be many slants to the travails of the now suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu. Any time historians attempt to document his otherwise gangly reign, it is expected that some elements, regardless of the differing angles, must be constant like a recurring decimal.

First, it is expected that researchers, at any time an attempt is made at this effort, must interrogate what it was that really qualified a man, who from every indication was unfit for a job, but kept that same job for nearly five years. Magu would have been five years on the job by November 9, 2020.

Magu’s case is so bad that he was unable to manage his inefficiency on the job. For every opportunity extended to him to prove his mettle, either by design or default, if he did not bungle it with inelegance, gawkiness or ineptness, he gladly did with gracelessness.

Without unjustly taking him to the slaughter slab, Magu, either by way of style, disposition, intellectual weakness or crude operational procedure, did not pretend to know the job handed him. Such a sensitive office, you’d wonder!

The first time he appeared before the Senate, the hatred some persons had for the Bukola Saraki leadership at the time beclouded them from the real issues, despite two different recommendations by the DSS, which pointedly stated he was not qualified or fit for the appointment.

Asked about certain developments, especially one, which alleged that some of the seized houses of some corrupt persons were reportedly found in the market, put up for sale. His answer was appalling; that he couldn’t have been aware of all that was going on in the agency, even though under his watch. Like seriously?

Channels Television’s Maupe Ogun once asked him about efforts being taken to institutionalise the fight against graft. Coming at a time the EFCC was inaugurating its new headquarters in Abuja, Magu said by successfully completing the edifice, he had begun the moves in that direction. Can you beat that?

Also, recently, he was asked in yet another interview on Journalists’ Hangout, aired on TVC, the kind of support he had been receiving from the banks. His answer, again, was too embarrassing. He completely had no idea what the thrust of the question was and retorted never to have anything to do with the banks, because he hated them. But the question was about the cooperation he was getting from the banks during investigations.

If simple things such as these could confound the head of a critical and sensitive agency like the EFCC, how therefore do you expect him to deal with more intricate and intelligently engaging issues? Rather, he delighted in media trials and left the core of his job undone. His investigation pattern was porous and unable to stand any thorough scrutiny.

A former Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta, said as much, when he visited Magu sometime back to explain why his men were losing cases in court. He however advocated thorough investigations. The former EFCC boss simply came to mess up the agency, not by deliberately undoing things but because he was too ignorant and incompetent, compounded by arrogance, poor character and sheer emptiness.

Let’s even hazard the likely genesis of his problem, away from the issues that are now flying around as some of the reasons his reign was ended abruptly.

Magu’s poor handling of the $43.3 million dollars discovered in a luxury Ikoyi apartment was the beginning of his problem. The matter, which is still hanging in the balance was said to have caused the intelligence community so much embarrassment that they had since been closely monitoring him and piling up his offences, if not plotting his fall.

When he called the removed DG of NIA, Ayo Oke, and insisted on invading the “Safe House”, efforts were allegedly made, even from the office of the NSA, explaining the implications of exposing a security operation’s house, he was interested more in the media mileage to get from it and truly, he did. But he didn’t fail to expose the fact that he was emotionally unintelligent.

In fact, the NIA leadership was allegedly advised from the top to engage his men in a shootout if that would stifle him, because if they allowed him into the safe house, it held serious implications for the agency. But a more cautious Oke would not to do that and Magu thoroughly embarrassed the agency and government, which could not answer all the questions his action generated.

Instead, Oke asked his men to stand down and allow Magu relish in his folly. Now, have you asked, despite all that ‘gragra’ and the media paparazzi that attended the discovery, where is the end of the story? Who owns the money and for what purpose? Well, this is Nigeria and Magu is a Nigerian. Here, anything goes! No one is asking questions again, having enjoyed the drama while it lasted.

However, by the time those, who were better placed in the issues involving the money and the NIA operations allegedly explained to the president all about the money, the embarrassment was too much to reverse anything except to run with the tide.

But his time had started to tick from that point until his disgraceful denouement. You will do well to note this for your record, Magu’s travails have just begun, both home and away. The intelligence community is waiting for him. Just file this away.

He claimed to have made so much money yet could not accurately account for them. In some cases, he had announced a certain figure even before the monies were counted. He became a tool in the hands of smart and mischievous politicians and allowed the agency to get too deep in political matters than entertaining issues on merit.

Inside sources alleged that his exit was carefully plotted and executed by a prominent member of the ‘cabal’, who is highly placed in the intelligence community. Indeed, one of the surviving members of the clique that opposed his choice ab initio.

A story was told sometime back of how Magu was chasing a former governor about over some of the Paris refunds allegedly missing, shortly after the Ondo election in 2016. But because he was too distant from the government in which he served, he had no idea what the money was used for. This had prompted one of the cabal members to ask: “Is this ‘boy’ part of this government at all?” Still, the missing link was emotional intelligence.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing to learn from an incompetent lot except that going forward, leaders must properly ponder their choices for any placement at all before putting them forward. Everything and everyone, who knew him well enough was opposed to his choice except for those who needed him for political manipulation and personal glory. And like lies that cannot stand the torture of the truth for too long, the end has finally come, albeit ignominiously. Five years wasted and gone with the wind!

Wait a minute, how do you explain to the rest of the world that the man appointed to fight graft – a major problem of the nation and the pillar of campaign of the Muhammadu Buhari administration – was eventually shown the way out on account of graft? Chai…dis life no balance o!

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