By allowing the State Security Service to undermine him in his quest to make Ibrahim Magu substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), President Muhammadu Buhari has lost control of his government and should consider overhauling his administration forthwith, two former Nigerian leaders have said. In separate interviews on Wednesday, the former commanders-in-chief, who spoke on strict anonymity, said Mr. Buhari should be very worried about the direction his administration is headed.
“I strongly reject the notion that Buhari is helpless in his own cabinet,” one of the former leaders said. “I would never have allowed such humiliating insubordination in my administration. It was unthinkable that my own appointee would oppose my nominee at the National Assembly. No one could have tried that with me. He or she would have paid dearly for it.”
“What happened showed clearly that Buhari is not in charge.”
The second official said what happened in the Magu case was “entirely inconceivable in a presidential system anywhere in the world.” In a painful effort to make sense of the development and convey his “rude shock”, the former leader said Mr. Buhari might actually be the one behind the “repeated humiliation of his own nominee”.
“Unless he is the one behind the whole controversy by deliberately double-dealing with his own nominee and other subordinates, there’s no way I would have thought a situation like this will play out as someone who had been privileged to hold that position.
“As far as I am concerned, things seem to have fallen apart. It is also possible that he has never been in control. It is very unfortunate.” The comments came hours after Mr. Magu, Mr. Buhari’s preferred nominee for the EFCC top job, was rejected for the second time in three months by the Nigerian Senate.
The senators hinged their decision on a security report authored by the State Security Service (SSS), which portrayed Mr. Magu as “a liability to the anti-corruption stance” of the Buhari administration. The disparaging document was produced by the SSS despite President Buhari’s public posturing to get Mr. Magu cleared.
A newspaper PREMIUM TIMES had reported in mid-2016 how a major political crisis was brewing between the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, and the Director-General of the SSS, Lawal Daura.
The division within the presidency was largely believed to be responsible for the embarrassing objection raised by the SSS against Mr. Magu last year. It remained unclear how Mr. Buhari plans to approach the matter going forward. His spokespersons, Femi Adesina and Garba Shehu, did not answer or return calls seeking clarification on the matter.
Source: Editorial board