Last week, President Muhammadu Buhari admonished the nation’s anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to eschew being used as a tool to serve the interests of politicians.
We tracked two other engaging stories from the Aso Rock Villa for your reading pleasure.
1. Buhari’s sermons on EFCC
Buhari, on March 25, urged the EFCC to continue to be impersonal and fair in the discharge of its duties.
Speaking at the unveiling of EFCC’s Standard Operating Procedures, Policies and Manuals in Abuja, the President said: “I must advise the leadership and operatives of this Commission to resist the temptation of being used for partisan politics or be dragged into personal disputes.”
Buhari’s preachments are an attestation to the growing allegation that the EFCC may have been compromised, and transformed into a tool used to fight perceived political enemies. Though this perception is not new, it has remained strong even under the Buhari-led administration.
In what raised several eyebrows, the then APC Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, once hinted that transgressing politicians who choose to cross over to the ruling party, would have their ‘sins’ forgiven. This, incidentally, appears to have played in favour of some.
Arguably, Buhari’s admonitions seem not to have addressed the larger structural issues weighing down the organization. Admittedly, the weakening of the institution has been driven by abuses from within the presidency.
The President must, therefore, take responsibility, even within the brief period left for his administration, to strengthen the EFCC and ensure that the body stays true to statutory tasks as set out by law.
The EFCC Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, must also live up to the oath of office and ensure that the Commission does not derail from discharging its constitutional duties outside the prisms of fairness, transparency, and accountability.
Two other talking points
2. Osinbajo’s revelation on healthcare delivery
On March 24, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo revealed why the Federal Government cannot fund healthcare delivery through budgetary allocation alone.
Osinbajo stated this at a primary healthcare summit organised by the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).
“There’s no way that healthcare funding can be paid by the government budget alone. It is simply impossible. The size of the Federal Government budget itself is so constrained that there is absolutely no way that we can expect to fund healthcare by just budgets,” he said.
The Vice President’s honest submission speaks to the dysfunctional state of Nigeria’s healthcare delivery system. Indeed, the rot tells why the health sector has been bedeviled by brain drain and medical tourism has become almost a state policy.
Perhaps, more befuddling is the irreconcilable fact that the crises persist even in the face of of increased budgetary allocation to the sector by 123.6 per cent in the last five years, according to the Director General, Budget Office of the Federation (BoF), Ben Akabueze.
There is, therefore, an urgent need to interrogate the entire system and hold to account public officials who have become a wedge in the system.
3. Buhari’s usual condemnation
President Buhari, on March 23, condemned the terrorist attacks on four locations in Kaura Local Government Area of Kaduna State in which two soldiers and tens of others were killed.
In a statement issued by the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, he said: “The primitive and cowardly attack on innocent civilians, law enforcement officials and the destruction of houses and shops are extremely painful and condemnable. The nation mourns with the Kagoro community, where the attacks took place and the military which lost their brave compatriots.”
Buhari’s faulty steps in containing the country’s burgeoning security challenges have long become a source of great concern. The culture of serial condemnations without appropriate actions to ameliorate the situation are inexcusable.
Mr. President must acknowledge the truth, and that is that his regime would most likely be remembered for subjecting Nigerians to unimaginable security challenges. And, it is doubtful if he would perform any magic in the months leading up to his exit from power.
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