Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, wore a lapel pin that had Buhari’s face on it, to a live ChannelsTV breakfast program this week.
“There’s a picture of President Buhari on your lapel”, a ChannelsTV anchor began. “as we speak, about what that says about the neutrality of your organization and where your loyalties lie. What do you have to say about that?”
It was a visibly embarrassed Magu who said: “I’m hearing this one for the first time”.
“Is that for the president’s second term bid? Are you supporting the president’s second term bid?”, ChannelsTV’s Maupe Ogun doubled down.
“No, I’m not a politician please”, Magu said, still shifting uneasily in his chair.
“Exactly! So, why are you wearing a tag of the president?”
“I have been wearing it for a very long time”, Magu answered.
It was a weak response for the same reason it was an inexcusable response from the nation’s anti-corruption czar.
The boss of a commission who should have no restraints dragging the nation’s president to court if there’s sufficient evidence that the president has been involved in corrupt dealings, shouldn’t be walking around the place with a badge that bears the president’s face.
The office of the EFCC is under the presidency and it was pronounced into being by the executive arm of government.
But the EFCC should be autonomous or seen to be autonomous. The EFCC should be non-partisan or seen to be non-partisan. The EFCC should be neutral in its anti-graft war or seen to be neutral.
The EFCC should go after corruption suspects in the APC with the same energy with which it goes after corruption suspects in the PDP.
This was Magu's integrity on the line here.
In an era when everyone in the opposition PDP is labelling the president’s anti-corruption war a witch-hunt and a selective endeavour, Magu just made matters even worse for President Buhari by flaunting that badge on his chest for all to see.
There is no excuse for what Magu did and none should be good enough. It was the wrong thing to do. Simple.