Exclusive... Anxious over possible rejection, Magu hires Ndume to lobby Senators
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Exclusive… Anxious over possible rejection, Magu hires Ndume to lobby Senators

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Exclusive… Anxious over possible rejection, Magu hires Ndume to lobby Senators

Worried that his confirmation by the Senate may meet brick walls, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has informally hired the services of the Senate Leader, Ali Ndume to intensify lobby of lawmakers who can sway the pendulum in his favour.

Mr. Magu has been meeting with some lawmakers to find a soft-landing for him. Findings by Ripples Nigeria revealed that Ndume is spearheading the lobbying of lawmakers who are believed to be against Magu’s confirmation.

Ndume, it was gathered, has reached out to ‎the Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu on behalf of Magu in a last minute attempt to mend fences with him.

He has also met the chairman of Senate Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes committee, Senator Utazi. It was gathered that both Ekweremadu and Utazi have not made any commitments to assist the embattled Magu.

Ripples Nigeria gathered that a status report from the Department of State Services (DSS), may have indicted Magu, whom it was learnt was working round the clock to block the Senate from making the contents of the document public.

As the new confirmation hearing date draws near, there is growing apprehension that ‎Magu’s confirmation may not receive the nod of lawmakers privy to the details of the DSS report on the anti-corruption czar.

President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Magu acting chairman of EFCC after the removal of Ibrahim Lamorde on November 9, 2015. But the Presidency in June, seven months after his appointment, wrote to the Senate, seeking his screening and confirmation as substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency. The letter was read on the floor of the Senate in July, one week before lawmakers embarked on their annual vacation.

Before his appointment by Buhari as head of EFCC, Magu was the head of Economic Governance Unit of the commission. Magu, if confirmed by the Senate, will be the fourth head of the anti-graft agency, after Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri and Mr. Lamorde. Like others, all the heads of the EFCC are from the north.

According to existing Nigerian laws, a public official is not expected to act in office for more than six months without confirmation of appointment. In the case of Magu, however, President Buhari only forwarded his name to the Senate for confirmation eight months after he was appointed.

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The delay in sending Magu’s name, many believe, may not be unconnected to the political intrigues and power-play in the Presidential Villa. It has been rumoured that President Buhari’s ailing Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari and Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Babachir David Lawal are partly behind the refusal by the Senate to confirm Magu as EFCC chairman.

When the name was eventually sent, amidst controversies, it met another brick wall in the Senate. Magu who is perceived to have offended key and influential Senators, including the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ekweremadu, is seen as a naive public officer who does not know when to apply caution.

Pundits had wondered why he would pick fights with Saraki and Ekweremadu, while his confirmation was still pending in the Red Chamber.

On April 20th, 2016, Magu and Ekweremadu had an altercation, following the decoration of the latter as anti-corruption ambassador of EFCC by its National Assembly liaison officer. Magu had maintained that the award given to Ekweremadu was of no consequence as the officer acted on his own.

Similarly, EFCC under the leadership of Magu is believed to be assisting the Federal Government’s team prosecuting Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

 

 

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