Abdulrasheed Bawa was handpicked to be the next chairman of the EFCC in a rather eventful week in national politics. Many have raised eyebrows for a number of reasons. Prominent amongst them is his age; the man is only forty-as he is pretty young for a Nigerian….. anything for that matter.
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Other reasons have been his antecedents as an officer in the EFCC which will I expand upon in the coming paragraphs. Also, his apparent appointment does not sit well with Nigerians because they feel that it follows a discernable pattern of nepotism where only northerners seem to get ‘lucrative’ appointments in government these days. That and the small matter of his familial ties to the Attorney-General all come together to cast a big shadow.
As far as the EFCC is concerned, Bawa is an in-house pick. Typically, the chairmanship usually goes to a member of more formal security forces with competence in anti-graft, 419 or public relations as was the case with Ibrahim Lamorde.
As we speak, he is a level 13 officer with the rank of deputy detective. According to the act establishing the EFCC, the chairman has to be
“a member of a government law enforcement agency of not lower than the rank of Assistant Inspector-General or equivalent; and must possess not less than 15 years cognate experience.”
Bawa, obviously, does not fit the bill as he does not possess 15 years of experience. That asides, the detective had been indicted for fraudulent practices that involved him selling forfeited properties recovered when he was head of Port Harcourt zone in 2019.
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Furthermore, he was the officer in charge of the Federal Government’s case against the former oil minister, Diezani Allison Madueke, his connection to the attorney-general, Abubakar Malami, has been muted and it is alleged that it was he who made sure the investigation never got anywhere even though the leadership of the EFCC forwarded it to the presidency.
Whichever way you choose to view the matter, Bawa is a character with a great many question marks. When viewed against the background of nepotism that the president has been seen to perpetrate when it comes to appointments within his administration, it becomes worrying for Nigerians who are watching events unfold.
All the factors considered, Bawa may yet get confirmation, unlike the former chairman who was acting for the better part of five years before removal. For one thing, the present National Assembly is considerably more pliable to the will of the executive. Considering the state of the nation at the moment, the National Assembly should be more concerned with enthroning merit and competence and not turning a blind eye to nepotism.
Sadly, as far as the EFCC chairmanship goes, the standards have never been high really, as every one of the past occupants has had a question mark to their character. Particularly, the standards have continued to drop since Nuhu Ribadu.
I honestly do not expect much drama to come out from this episode in the immediate sense but we should be worried at how trivial the matter of corruption even in supposed anti-graft spaces like the EFCC is treated.
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