The use of raw power to settle personal scores against ones perceived enemies is a dastardly but palpable contemporary political reality.
Our own nation’s political landscape has not been devoid of this aberrant behaviour. Even though our democratic dispensation is still in its infancy, yet it could be seen as being fully replete with these clearly very unpleasant but ubiquitous phenomena.
Just when broad sections of our country are savouring the constitutional order and the rule of law which were being ushered by the dawn of democracy in our great nation, a very hard to bear devastating blow was dealt with these delightful longings through the open display of raw power by the well connected powerful government officials, some of whom, are known to be occupying top echelon in the nation’s federal Cabinet.
At this stage, allow me to take your restive minds back to the well-orchestrated, dare-devil and commando-styled but widely reported arrest of the embattled and now suspended chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, which was clumsily carried out recently in the broad Abuja busy streets, by the security teams of the much dreaded DSS and the mobile police force.
On that fateful day, Nigerians who had witnessed this power brinkmanship were so petrified by the sheer force exhibited in the course of its poor execution, just as they were being thoroughly scandalized all through the short duration the sordid encounter lasted.
The traumatic reverberations left behind by this stormy blitz and ridge had deeply scorched our city walls which had been well equipped and fortified with the latest soundproofs and are currently assuming their eery symmetry, ominous spread and a clearly terrifying national dimension with all the negative consequences that these imply.
News about the raging internal skirmishes between the Justice Minister, who doubles as the Attorney General of the Federation on the one hand, and the nation’s anti-corruption bodies, such as, the EFCC, ICPC and PACP on the other, suddenly started filtering out to the unsuspecting public.
No doubt, the bean was spilt by the duo of professors emeritus Itse Sagay and Femi Odekunle, the nation’s renown academics and respected anti-corruption crusaders.
These two very illustrious scholars had courageously informed the perplexed members of the Nigerian public, that, the rather rancorous relationship existing between the Justice Minister and the executives of his ministry’s parastatals was not unconnected with the apparent uncooperative attitudes and brazen acts of nonchalance being displayed by the supervising Attorney General, who stayed aloof and also adamantly refused to show some tacit supports or strong interests in the nation’s galvanized efforts to speedily combat the cankerworms of corruption from our now pestilence infested national landscape.
Unknown to many Nigerians that deeply got ensconced into this unfolding episode, the Attorney General had within a twinkle of an eye, taken his time to deftly knit a web of calumniating subterfuges which were purposely and clearly designed to permanently sentence and dislodge especially the main protagonist of this suspense-filled drama, the accused chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu, to perilous perdition.
From day one, the chairman of the presidential investigation panel, retired Justice Ayo Salami, threw caution to the wind by flatfootedly denying Mr Ibrahim Magu fair hearing and obdurately blocking him from access to his lawyers. It took the resultant public outcry provoked by this outrage, to extract a mild concession from this highly experienced retired Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal, who then looked every inch very hell-bent on carrying out a well-rehearsed premeditated witch-hunt.
This strong suspicion was given credence by the Panel Chairman’s display of open bias and one-sidedness in handling the whole of this sensitive assignment.
It is rather curious, if not altogether strange, that a principal actor in this investigation saga, such as the minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation was completely shielded and frantically encouraged from skipping any appearance to answer pertinent questions raised by Magu’s lawyers at the Panel.
It is also amusing and a matter of national interest that side by side with the ongoing Panel’s investigation, it was observed, that some actions quite prejudicial to these rather crucial investigations, were swiftly being undertaken by the office of the AGF, as if to ridicule the integrity of its authors, and cast aspersions on the credibility of their subsequent recommendations to the President Buhari’s government.
Otherwise, how could one understand the speed with which the AGF used his strong links and personal connections with the Aso Rock Villa, to obtain quick presidential support and even approval, for setting up another agency under his supervision that denuded the EFCC of most of its statutory functions?
It is the culmination of these series of offensive actions clearly calculated to undermine any sense of fairness, justice and the rule of law in our country, that detracted from the merit of the rehashed recommendations which have now been perfunctorily submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari by Mr Ayo Salami, the retired Chief Justice of the Federal Appeal Court and the Chairman of the Presidential Investigation Panel.
It is however comforting, that, Nigerians who have been following this case with undiminished interest and rapt attention, are equally reposing total confidence in the unstinting commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to always uphold the cause of justice and are also reinforced in this, by his determination to sustain the raging anti-corruption crusade.
Thus, they unfailingly will continue to remain optimistic, that he would deploy his legendary wisdom to see beyond the travesty and the smokescreen placed before him, fervently pray and also keep faith with his ability to consciously and patriotically avoid any association of his good name and well-built reputation with a blatant miscarriage of justice.
Nigerians shall similarly continue to firmly believe that he will proceed to do the right thing, by courageously exonerating all those who are unfairly witch-hunted and condemned especially by the clever use of baseless allegations, trump up charges and the display of unrestrained desire to settle perceived personal scores and old grudges bordering on a vendetta of deep-seated animosity.
Comrade Isah Tijjani, mni a veteran Labour Leader, writes from Kano