Suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, aptly captured the current happenings in the country, where those at the corridors of power are fighting each other, as “dog eat dog”.
Magu was speaking shortly after he was released from detention following allegations levelled against him of compromising his office.
But Magu’s case might not be the only one where dog is currently eating dog in Nigeria. It is happening everywhere. Today, a lot of things are happening at the same time, in particular, among members of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), as well as among members of the federal government of Nigeria, which seems to suggest that the centre no longer holds, or is falling apart. At every corner, we hear quarrels among members of the supposedly one family.
The first open manifestation of this flexing of muscles was the suspension of the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomole, by ward members of his own political party in his home Edo State, which was later affirmed by the courts. This resulted to struggles over who should step into his shoe, with each of the warring camps, claiming to be the rightful heir.
When this was about to tear the APC to pieces, the President quickly intervened by using the National Executive Committee of the party to dissolve its National Working Committee, and set up a caretaker committee to manage its affairs, which many people believe is merely postponing the evil day, or sweeping the dirt under the carpet.
We were still trying to digest the hiccup within the ruling party, when the Minister of State for Labour and Productivity, Festus Kayemo, was summoned by members of the National Assembly to explain why he had to set up committees at both the federal and state levels for the recruitment of 774,000 participants into the federal government’s public works programme, instead of using the already existing body like the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), to do so.
When the exchange of fire between the Minister and members of the National Assembly became too hot, and the Minister could no longer bear the heat, he decided to walkout on the legislators. That was when the hitherto “sleeping and rubber-stamp” lawmakers suddenly woke up from slumber and began to assert their right as true representatives of the people, by ordering the Minister to put on hold further action on the recruitment exercise.
Even when the senior Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, had on behalf of his Ministry, tendered apology to the lawmakers for the junior Minister’s behaviour, the President in his usual Thrasymachean style of “might is right”, decided to turn his back on the lawmakers’ directive, and asked Festus Kayemo to ignore the Assembly members and proceed with the recruitment exercise, according to his own set out programme.
We now wait to see what those whose responsibility is, to appropriate government resources, are going to do.
While all these were happening, we began to be entertained with the theatrics of “I was the only person to slap the Minister because he sexually harrassed me”, and “each of the four husbands that married you can attest to your unruliness”, between the erstwhile chairman of the board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Dr. Joi Nunieh and Senator Godswill Akpabio respectively.
As if that was not enough, some members of the Nigeria police, from nowhere, invaded Nunieh’s house in the dead of the night, to ostensibly abduct her, only to be saved by the prompt intervention of Governor Nyesom Nwike, a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who arrived on time to take the woman away to the Government House, Port Harcourt.
Then, came the case of Ibrahim Magu and his EFCC. The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had petitioned the Presidency, accusing Ibrahim Magu of re-looting funds that were recovered by the EFCC from corrupt politicians. This forced the Presidency to have Magu arrested, detained, suspended from office, and a Presidential panel set up to investigate the allegation.
A now released Magu is gearing to come up with his own side of the story, in defence of the allegations levelled against him, and in the process, he may likely open up a can of worms. We are waiting.
On the whole, one may interpret the current happenings as quarrelling among thieves, where they could not agree on how to share their booty. Where there is no morality among thieves, then there would be no trust among them. Everybody would be suspecting each other, because nobody would want to be shortchanged, or to be outdone.
Dr. Dons Eze