Despite the grave allegations against the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, President Buhari appears comfortable with the anti-corruption chief.
After weeks of intrigues, President Muhammadu Buhari has renominated Ibrahim Magu for Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman.
It was also learnt that the Presidency may raise a lobbying team to prevail on the Senate to allow Magu’s nomination sail through. The lobbying will involve confidence building and allaying the fears of some senators who believe they might be the targets of the ongoing anti-corruption war.
A letter has been sent to Senate President Bukola Saraki, The Nation has learnt. Prior to the disclosure in the Senate, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Babachir Lawal, had broken the news of the President’s decision to Magu, a source said.
It was gathered that the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami (SAN), met with the acting EFCC chairman on Friday. The “rough edges were smoothened and a better understanding struck,” it was learnt.
A source, who pleaded not to be named, said: “A letter has been sent to the Senate by the President to renominate Magu. As a matter of fact, the President based his decision on the fact that there was no evidence linking the acting chairman of EFCC to any act of corruption or infractions.
“The President is convinced that Magu has tried his best to fight corruption in a selfless manner and without fear or favour.
“All intra-cabinet challenges which led to the initial security report on Magu were addressed by the President before he left for London.”
Buhari, it was learnt, made up his mind to reappoint Magu after a personal interaction with the Acting EFCC chairman about one and half weeks ago on Malami’s report.
Besides, said another source, some members of the kitchen cabinet and associates of the President insisted on Magu because his performance so far has defined the main achievement of this administration.
Members of the kitchen cabinet and associates who influenced Buhari’s decision are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Amb. Babagana Kingibe; elder statesman Mamman Daura; Prof. Itse Sagay; National Security Adviser Gen. Babagana Moguno; and members of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption; a former Inspector-General of Police; Amb. Maina Waziri; Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai and Aisha Buhari.
The assessment and acceptance of Magu by some countries, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, were said to have availed Buhari of intelligence report which made the President to retain the Acting EFCC chairman.
Another source said: “Before making up his mind, the President met separately with the AGF, Magu and the DG of the DSS on the allegations contained in the security report sent to the Senate.
“At the session with Magu, the President was convinced that he did not commit any offence.
“On the same day, he gave Magu and the AGF a joint assignment to do for him. This was the first signal that he might be renominated.
“Contrary to what is being insinuated, the President consulted widely with his advisory council against corruption and he upheld the argument of members of PACAC that Magu deserves to come back.
“But some kitchen cabinet members and associates, including Vice President Osinbajo, actually worked day and night to ensure the retention of Magu.
Either at breakfast or dinner, they seized every opportunity to impress on the President why Magu should be given a chance.
“ Kingibe, who has known Magu’s father for long, stressed that the family has a long history of uprightness and steadfastness.
“These kitchen cabinet members also reconciled Magu and the Director-General of the Department of State Security Service, Mallam Lawan Daura, who clarified that he was never interested in destroying anybody’s career let alone Magu whom he sees as a son.”
The presidency may raise a lobbying team to prevail on the Senate to confirm Magu. A source in the Presidency said: “We know the renomination of Magu might still not go down well with some senators but the Presidency will allay their fears.
“This time around, there will be intense legislative lobbying to build confidence in all that Magu will be fair to everybody, irrespective of ethnic, religious or party affiliations.
“We knew what wrong during the first nomination. The Presidency will not allow a repeat of such. All we have to do is to promote the merits behind the choice of Magu.
“As a matter of fact, some senators do not have enough fact-sheet on Magu. We are going to do much work this time around. Some were angry that the Senate was being blackmailed by pro-Magu forces in the Senate and in annoyance they threw away his nomination.
“And for the new Senate Leader, Sen. Ahmed Lawan, this is his first major test to show that he has the confidence of his colleagues”.
However, Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate) Mr. Ita Enang, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN):
“I’m not aware of that discussion (on Magu) and I don’t want to speak on the matter because I don’t have details.”