I watched with bliss yesterday, Wednesday, 24/02/2021, the senate appearance of Abdulrasheed Bawa, the presidential nominee, and his eventual confirmation as the substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. It was an exceptional display of talent, intelligence and comprehensive knowledge of the anti-corruption subject, by a boy that I hitherto thought is a misfit.
I happened to be one of those who were very critical of Abubakar Malami, the Attorney General and Buhari’s minister of Justice, for playing nepotism in the nomination of his alleged nephew, Abdulrasheed Bawa as the chairman of the EFCC. Prior to yesterday, I hadn’t the privilege of interacting or listening to Bawa anywhere. The show yesterday, compelled me into a change of mind because I saw in him a conscious intellectual inventiveness.
From his appearance on the floor of the Senate, I completely surrendered to his competence, at least on the value of his dictum and his fluidity of speech. He appeared confident and charismatic, depicting the character of an executive that would be good at decision making.
Besides stepping into the chamber with a special magnetic charm, Adulrasheed Bawa talked with confidence, charisma and an appeal that showed special enthusiasm, in a young man with personal magic for good leadership.
It was in May 2018, that President Muhammadu Buhari announced in his Democracy Day national address, that he would sign the “Not too young to run bill” into law. Although the bill was not signed until the end of the month, from the brilliant presentation of Bawa, one can say the delay is worth the wait, and the new law has shown signs of achieving the goals for which it was set, by relaxing some of the stringent and discriminatory provisions of making old age a requirement for mental maturity.
Although many may see the law only from the point of those aspiring for elective positions, it also aims to help the young in gaining access to selective seats.
Abdulrasheed Bawa, who announced his age as 40, appeared before the very National Assembly that passed the bill last year, where it reduced the age qualification for president from 40 to 30; governor from 35 to 30; senator from 35 to 30; House of Representatives membership from 30 to 25 and State House of Assembly membership from 30 to 25.
With confidence and dexterity, Bawa narrated with calm and quickness, the story of his entry or enlistment into the EFCC as a pioneer detective cadet in 2004, how he rose to fame and prominence on the ladder of the leadership of the fight against graft.
Moving forward from a team member to a team leader, Bawa said he rose through the ranks to become the first regular staff of the EFCC to be appointed a team leader, sectional head and indeed the first to head three different zones, including Lagos, from where destiny decreed his nomination to head the organization.
Particularly impressing is his predisposition to the liability he may suffer as a result of the perceived attitude of the EFCC, which was in the past accused of persecuting persons that are hostile to the government or exhibiting unorthodox behaviour to maximize the process of extortion.
“Mr President, distinguished Senators, in all my career at the EFCC, the provisions of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the extant laws of this country, rules and regulations within the EFCC, have always, and would always guide my actions, if confirmed by this hallowed chamber as the next executive chairman of the EFCC. I am not unmindful of the enormous responsibility before me and my colleagues, but I believe we are up to the task. And I also believe that we would not fix the blame of the past, but we would accept our own responsibility for the future. The fear of God, national interest, patriotism in us, and the fact that we are young men, the future of this country is with us, are the driving force that would ensure that come what may, at the end of my tenure, I would leave the EFCC a better place”- Abdulrasheed Bawa.
I was involuntarily compelled to concur with the Deputy Senate President, His Excellency, Senator Ovie Omo Agege, that indeed the nomination of the president for the chairman of the EFCC, is a nomination of nobility.
Undoubtedly, whoever watched or listened to the screening, would not only become bedazzled but boldly beaten by Bawa’s brilliance.
Ibrahim, a Media Advisor writes from Abuja.