Like Shady Like The EFCC By Oriade Adelaja Oriola

“EFCC is just like my Uncle’s dog, Shady. It barks a lot but will hardly bite. So I decided to rename Shady, EFCC”            ~  @prinwalx

The ferocious bark from within my uncle’s fenced compound would deter the bravest of men from attempting to pay a courtesy visit without Shady put in her cage. A press at the gate’s bell and Shady is all over the compound barking loudly to warn the visitor. The irony about Shady is, once a visitor who is familiar or just brave enough to dare the consequences walks through the gate. Shady takes a complete transformation from the ferocious dog to a welcoming tail wagging dog. To the unfamiliar or the obviously scared visitor, Shady remains ferocious and most times attack. Shady’s selective aggression is not different from the modus operandi of our anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Since the creation of the anti-graft agency in 2003 by the Obasanjo regime, its control and influence over corruption in Nigeria has taken a descending pitfall. Though considerable success was actually recorded under its pioneer leadership despite the wide conjectures and criticism that it was used as an attack dog at former president Obasanjo’s enemies. Whether they were enemies or not, they were corrupt and convicted. A list that include A-list citizens like Deprieye Alamieseseigha, several bank executives and the EFCC chairman’s former boss, Tafa Balogun. Who was convicted, jailed and made to return £150 million under a plea bargain. However, this is how good it ever got compared to its current and terminated leadership of Waziri Farida.

All these brings to fore again the question for the need of the anti-graft agency if it can’t function optimally on curbing the ever growing corruption index in Nigeria. It however is worthy to note that in over a decade existence of the EFCC, it has recorded over 200 convictions but nearly all involved the relatively low scale pilferers. Scammers, Yahoo boys and dubious bank officials. Only a handful of high profile cases have been recorded. Thus, the familiar and brave visitors, who can dare Shady, turn her into a loving tail wagging dog. Like Shady, Like the EFCC.

Goodluck Jonathan and his retinue of Professional wordsmiths at the slightest speech opportunity always voice the administration’s commitment to the fight against corruption but they are just mere lip services. They have mastered the art and act of saying what the people want to hear just because we suffer the “sidown look” syndrome. If he is truly committed, why pardon his political god-father that was convicted by the anti-graft agency? Why set up a committee to investigate allegations against the minister for Aviation when there is an anti-graft agency saddled with cases as this? Where is the EFCC in the whole scandal? Is the agency awaiting directive to swing into action or following orders to stay away because the character involved is dear to our beloved president?

Like Shady, like the EFCC. Her ferocity is at the common man who knows “nobody” but those very familiar faces like Stella Oduah will turn her to the loving dog she is not meant to be. Why does government waste monies on this agency when her major reason for existence is gradually defeated? If only it could take the posture it had under Mallam Nuhu Ribadu and attack corrupt government officials even if they are the President’s enemies, so long they are corrupt. The EFCC under Ibrahim Lamorde is echoing into oblivion but for a few times when the agency makes headlines for securing convictions of the slightly insignificant criminals when the Nigerian corruption angle is put in perspective.

What actually is wrong? Is it that the federal government has shown enough capacity to curb corruption and public officials are no longer dipping hands into our commonwealth? Or probably presidential committees have taken the place of investigations of alleged corrupt officials? Where is the EFCC?  Where is the place of the police when the EFCC now goes after Yahoo boys rather than the highly placed government officials who are obviously beyond the reach of the Nigerian police? I believe the EFCC is gradually outliving its usefulness not to mention the sister agency, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, which have barely lived when put in perspective of the EFCC’s performance.

Conclusively, for the EFCC to live to its mandate, the federal government must back its many words of war on corruption with just as much action because it is impossible for the EFCC to function properly if alleged corrupt officials hide under the presidential umbrella. The EFCC must be proactive in its investigative functions and not wait for petitions and media leaks before swinging into action. The judicial system must aid the EFCC in the trials of these supposed big men who suddenly turn ill when they have cases in our courts. The courts must reject unnecessary delay tactics by their lawyers. The EFCC must shed a few minor cases to the Police, SSS and other sister agencies which will give it enough man power and finances to try the big cases. As much as I believe Shady can never be that security dog it should be, I believe the EFCC can be a better anti graft agency if government actually shows commitment to the war on corruption. Good bless Nigeria.

Oriade Adelaja Oriola

Follow on twitter @prinxwalx

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