The task before the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) in respect of impartial handling of the investigation involving all the 31 indicted former governors while in office and their prosecution can not be overemphasized. This is more so given the impression that the crime busting body’s ongoing investigation of selected former state executives is short of impartiality expected from an operator of its status.
The Chairman of the Commission, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu is under intense pressure from Nigerians to go all the way and investigate the former governors and the federal executives including former President Olusegun Obasanjo and former Vice President Abubakar Atiku. If his antecedent as an upright and incorruptible police officer is anything to go by, Ribadu should show without further delay that he is ready and willing to do his job, and do it well by setting in motion necessary moves to ensure that justice is neither delayed nor denied.
To show the seriousness and sense of purpose required for the enormous responsibilities the EFCC is saddled with, it is expected that the job at hand is handled with utmost care, and not allow the Nigerian factor to play itself out this time around. The nature of their involvement in alleged misappropriation of colossal sum of public funds in their care makes the ex-governors vulnerable to all kinds of intrigues both within and outside the country. It is already a matter of speculation that some of them have escaped from the country to avoid arrest and prosecution.
It is on record that some of the indicted governors have not been called for questioning of any kind, while others who are perceived to be against the third term agenda of former President Olusegun Obasanjo have been arrested, arraigned, and released on bail. This one-sided affair in prosecuting those believed to be “Obasanjo men” among the former governors does not support the doctrine of the rule of law as President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s government want Nigerians to believe. There ought to be no sacred cow when the rule of law is to be guarded and respected. It is on this premise that Nigerians are waiting to see how far the EFCC can go in ensuring that none of the former state executives and their federal counterparts go unpunished within the provision of the law.
By being selective in getting the indicted men to face the law in timely manner, the EFCC is making itself open to avoidable criticisms, and this inevitably give the organization a bad image in the eyes of Nigerians. Aside from being an impartial operator, the body can use its apparatus and personnel to bring about the much desired transparency in governance by acting as the clearing house for screening public officers before they are appointed into office. If there is the need to amend the Act that brought the organization to life in this regard, so be it. I believe what Nigerians are looking forward to is a country where corruption is reduced to the barest minimum possible.
The extent to which EFCC goes to get people’s confidence in its operations will undoubtedly boost the present administration’s publicized adherent to the rule of law in which President Yar’Adua’s craves to be remembered. As it is now, the impression is that the president is on its own on the matter if other arms of government are not seen to be in line with him based on their activities in their various organizations. To go along with the administration, there should be coherent efforts by all geared towards moving the country forward, and ensuring that there is no hiding place for the corrupt people in the corridors of power.
It would be a great disservice to