Acting President Yemi Osinabjo has reiterated his stance by declaring that the Presidency has resolved to work with Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission so long as President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration subsists.
In a firm rebuttal of the Senate’s rejection of Magu’s appointment, Osinbajo said the Presidency’s decision was basically because Magu remained a nightmare to corrupt persons in the country.
While speaking at the inauguration of the Kaduna office of the anti graft agency on Thursday, July 6, Osinbajo said those who think they are winning in fighting back against the government’s war on corruption, should wake up.
Osinbajo who was represented by Gov Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State said; “Mr. Chairman, two weeks ago, I discussed the EFCC and your appointment with President Muhammadu Buhari and he told me he has every confidence in you and every confidence in the commission and the work that you have been doing, and as long as he is president you remain the chairman of the EFCC.”
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Reiterating that the Acting President was also solidly behind Magu, Governor El-Rufai addressed the gathering saying:
“Last night, I spoke with the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, who reconfirmed the position of the President and he told me that as long as he remained the Acting President or Vice President, Ibrahim Magu would remain the chairman of the EFCC.
“That is the only message from the President, so those thinking that corruption is winning this war, Magu would remain their nightmare for the next two years or six years as the case may be.”
It was also gathered that prior to Osinbajo’s latest insistence on Magu, some legal experts, including Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) met for about five hours to review the “Magu issue and the Senate’s threat,” The Nation reports.
Investigations reveal that relying on Section 171 of the 1999 Constitution, the legal experts advised the Presidency to keep Magu because it had valid constitutional reasons to do so. They also endorsed EFCC’s and Magu’s decision to seek the consolidation of all the cases on his status in court.
Also, Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN) has affirmed that Magu will continue to get the full support of President Buhari and Acting President Osinbajo. In Sagay’s words:
“Since the passage of our first leaders, like Awolowo, Azikiwe and Ahmadu Bello, we have not been lucky enough to have had highly principled, consistent, committed men of great integrity and honour like President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo. Perhaps, the only other previous administration close to the present one was the Murtala Mohammed/Obasanjo administration.
“Having been victimized, brutalized, looted, marginalized and contemptuously treated by past administrations, particularly the 12-year torture and brigandry of the PDP, Nigerians are extremely lucky that Buhari and Osinbajo have come on a rescue mission to bring us back from the brink of destruction. We now have leaders who are in office to serve Nigeria and who stand on integrity and high principles.”
But Magu’s candidacy for the EFCC chairmanship position has been fiercely challenged by the Nigerian Senate as the lawmakers have rejected his nomination twice and repeatedly asked the president to fire him.
Recently, the Senate suspended consideration of all confirmation processes for executive nominees, demanding Magu’s removal which further deepened the face off between the presidency and the National Assembly.
Following the Acting President’s insistence not to change his position, the Senate has, however, stood by its rejection of Magu as the substantive chairman of the anti- graft agency. In the words of the Senate spokesman, Senator Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi:
“There is no problem, the Senate has made its point, we have already taken a position on Ibrahim Magu, the Senate has rejected his nomination, and we have said that he should be removed. These are the issues that we have raised for now, and we stand by our position.
“The Senate has made its position known; we are not in a position to respond because someone made his statements. Osinbajo is entitled to his opinion.”