A German proverb often quoted quips that “people talk about something until it actually happens.” It seems as though Nigerians are taking to that notion; willing the appointment of a new Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with the force of their words alone.
Conversations on the topic were buzzing from the minute reports about the alleged suspension of the Acting EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu had become public. Deliberations and speculations on who the new EFCC chairman would be had instantly begun.
On Monday, there were reports that Magu had been reportedly arrested by the Department of State Services (DSS) and although, the EFCC and the DSS refuted the reports, claiming that the EFCC boss merely honoured a panel invitation; speculations on the weight of allegations levelled against him strengthened with information that he had been reportedly suspended after appearing before a Rtd. Justice Ayo Salami Probe Panel at the Presidential Villa, on Tuesday.
There are current reports that Mohammed Umar, Director of Operations at the anti-graft agency, has been named Acting Chairman of the agency; speculations arose on whether he’d be the permanent chairman of EFCC.
Umar resumes as EFCC chairman https://t.co/091M0QlN3L
— Punch Newspapers (@MobilePunch) July 8, 2020
Conflicting reports also suggest that there is considerable pressure from some quarters for the Presidency to allow the Secretary of the Commission, Ola Olukoyede, be appointed as Acting Chairman, inspite of arguments that he is a civilian.
Magu’s removal now likely to set off a succession controversy.
Ola Olukoyede, a Redeemed pastor from Ekiti & EFCC secretary, is the next most-senior official that should take over. But he’s “not an operative.”
This leaves Mohammed Abba, director of operations, as next in line.
— Samuel Ogundipe (@SamuelOgundipe) July 7, 2020
An earlier trend in the day had suggested that the Commissioner of Police, FCT Command, Bala Ciroma, the favoured candidate for the position had been appointed. Nigerians had a lot to say about the development, with some questioning why a Chairman for the agency had to be from the Police Force.
The FCT Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma has reportedly been appointed to replace the suspended Ibrahim Magu as the new Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Must the EFCC always be led by police officers? Why can't we try Lawyers or others. pic.twitter.com/QOIXpEKnhb
— Olayemi ?? (@olayemi_123) July 8, 2020
And with news of Umar’s reported appointment across major newspapers, some also raised eyebrows at the ethnicity of the would-be succesor, pointedly probing why appointment of EFCC heads by the Buhari administration and previous administrations favour the North. Some suggested that the President look to the South for options in appointing a new Chair for the commission.
Is the position of EFCC Chairman exclusively reserved for Northerners?
Or are the Northerners the only competent hands to occupy that office?
Nepotism stinks in this country.
— FESTUS OGUN (@mrfestusogun) July 8, 2020
CP Bala Ciroma has been appointed as Acting Chairman of the @officialEFCC.
Why replace a Northerner with another?
Are there nobody from other regions who can handle this agency?
— Komrad Àbámí Èdá, Ph.D (Affidavit) (@KomradePhd) July 8, 2020
However, some countered the opinion, saying it was bigoted and divisive for Nigerians to suggest this. They emphasized that Buhari was not just choosing “Hausas” and that these individuals were from various ethnicities.
If you don’t get how complex Nigeria is, no Hausa man has ever headed EFCC. Ribadu is Fulani, Farida is Tiv, Magu is Kanuri, and Lamorde is from a minority ethnic group in Adamawa. Nigeria isn’t owned by Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. If you must be a bigot, at least know your country.
— Gimba Kakanda (@gimbakakanda) July 8, 2020
Although an official statement from the Presidency or the EFCC is yet to reveal Magu’s suspension as well as his successor, Nigerians are held spellbound as events continue to unfold.
Toluwanimi Onakoya is a spirited writer, creative and videographer. Her biggest drive is to connect with people and depict tales using various forms of media.
Toluwanimi is available on Instagram and Twitter @nimi_onaks