Bafarawa: EFCC Salvaging The Nation Or Pursuing A Political Vendetta!!
“Evil Prevails, when good men fail to act” ... Proverb
Reports of the arrest and subsequent detention of the former Governor of Sokoto state, Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa was received by well meaning citizens of Sokoto with utter shock and surprise.
Surprise in the sense that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission acted based on a written script allegedly prepared by the government of Aliyu Magatakarda Wammako and his co travelers.
The story going about now is the alleged plan of the EFCC, Sokoto state Government and their cohorts to drag former Governor Bafarawa to Sokoto for prosecution at any available court all in order to ridicule and embarrassed his political base.
The EFCC claimed that the Former Governor allegedly diverted N5billion belonging to the state but to our utmost charging surprise it made a u-turn alluding that the alleged stolen funds was N15 Billion contrary to the N5 billion earlier claimed by the anti graft agency.
Does it mean the EFCC is not fully sure of the funds it claimed that the former Governor Bafarawa allegedly stole during his eight years he governed Sokoto state and yet went ahead in commando style to arrest him?.
It is a well known fact that the state Governor, Aliyu Magatakarda Wammako through his Commissioner of Justice, Inuwa Abdulkadir announced to the world few weeks ago that Bafarawa and five other associates are to refund the sum of N2.9 billion. The Commissioner even went further to threaten that the former Governor would be taken to the state public recovery tribunal, if he fails to refund the alleged stolen funds.
We are not ignorant of the fact that the said purported white paper which allegedly indicted the former Governor was hurriedly prepared and presented to the world two days after the report of the Commission of inquiry was submitted to the Governor by the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the State Local Government Joint Account.
So, it is ridiculous and indeed laughable how EFCC got about the said N15 Billion knowing fully well that the outcome of the Commission of inquiry’s recommendation stipulated that Bafarawa and five other associates should refund N2.9 Billion or face prosecution in the court of law. Thus, it is amazing how and where EFCC got such fictitious amount totaling N15 billion. It should be noted that even the current Governor, Wammako was part and parcel of Bafarawa’s administration for the duration of seven years before he left on controversial circumstances. It is not a secret that Wammako during his tenure as Bafarawa’s deputy was also the Commissioner in-charge of local government councils for the period of four years. It is also a known fact that the department of for Local Government Affairs then, was removed from Wammako’s supervision due to the illegal deductions he was making then from each Local Government Councils.
One wonders why the Commission of Inquiry which was set up by the State Government over looked the period when Wammako was in-charge of the Local Government Councils for the period of four years.
The whole issue has become clearer as the days unfold that the growing popularity of Bafarawa especially the current efforts of ally with Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Former Head of State Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has brought serious fear and caused sleepless nights to his political opponents in Sokoto. The state government is worried by the increasing strength of the opposition and Bafarawa, especially now that the current talks for the formation of a mega political party with some political heavy weight in the country have reach momentum.
The question is how come the EFCC did not arrest Bafarawa since the expiration of his tenure in May 2007? What is the motive for his recent arrest? Why arrest him during a meeting with other political associates without summons or warrant from any Court of law?
We are fully convinced that the recent arrest by EFCC was politically motivated to deter his determination to bring out the change in the polity through collaboration with other stakeholders politicians who are mustering courage to bring a cohesive political direction for the survival of democracy in Nigeria.
Well meaning Nigerians across the country have come out openly to voice their reason of condemn over the manner and way this arrest was made, especially the opposition politicians who protested the embarrassment meted out on the democracy through such unwarranted despot arrest.
Some politicians have even come further to concur that the anti corruption agency is only acting the script written by Bafarawa’s opponent by ensuring that the former Governor is silenced before the 2011 general elections.
Another pointer of EFCC intention is over the reason given why the former Governor was not arraigned before the Court of law only for him to be detained by EFCC in order to assuage the aspiration of his political opponents who are having sleepless nights over his soaring appeal and popularity.
What does EFCC stands to gain from being used as a tool to hound and witch hunt political opponents? How come some officials of the anti-corruption agency were seen in Sokoto 24hrs after the arrest of Bafarawa, gathering some evidences which include arrest and interrogation of some of his former cabinet members and officials of the Ministries of Finance, Local governments and Water Resources? Who is fooling who? As per as majority of the people of Sokoto are concern, Sokoto state government and Federal Government are fully involved in the arrest and detention of Bafarawa by the EFCC operatives.
The EFCC officials were allegedly seen moving with some Sokoto state government officials shortly after Bafarawa’s arrest. How come the EFCC hurriedly obtained an order from Court to further detain Bafarawa till the following weeks, but failed to get the same suitable Court to charge him for over 48hrs, if actually the EFCC has prepared the charges against him?
It is as result of respect for the rule of law and due process that Bafarawa have appeared before the panel investigating the State Local Governments Joint Account in Sokoto, as widely published by the dailies, just to clear his name and remove any iota of doubt in the minds of the people. He explained issues of how funds were spend during his tenure as Governor. If at all Bafarawa has anything to hide he would not have even appeared before the Commission.
He even clarified the only allegations that he ordered the withdrawal of N89 Million and N349 Million from the Education Resuscitation Fund, pointing out that he was not aware of the withdrawals.
Similarly, nowhere was it mentioned or even alleged that the Bafarawa sold the state’s shares in UBA during the panel sittings. The Commission of Inquiry only investigated the State Local government Joint Accounts, thus one wonders where Wammako and his cohorts got the warped idea that the former Governor sold UBA shares of the government, knowing fully well that at the time of handover in May 2007, Bafarawa announced that the UBA shares were intact and not sold, contrary to allegations made by Governor Wammako.
So, the whole issue is now clear that Wammako is pursuing a personal vendetta against his former boss or he is being tele-guided by some mafias of his government, those who have already made his movements restricted to their own terms and interest.
Can EFCC motive be described as pure, considering how it systematically humiliated former Governor Bafarawa by arresting him at a political gathering? Nigerians would like to know what kind of anti-corruption agency that employs such medieval tactics to hound and intimidate perceived political opponents?
Considering the way EFCC has been exercising unlimited authority over perceived enemies of the Federal Government, accountable to none, unleashing undue ire on unfortunate subjects?
Is it not laughable that the Wammako led government which claimed that the former Governor and his associates to refund N2.9 Billion have not done anything concrete to improve the living standard of the people? The state is littered with uncompleted and abandoned projects while government officials have engaged in looting spree. Can somebody ask Wammako what he has done with the huge allocations from the Federal revenue? Why divert the attention of the masses from the massive looting going on by his friends and cronies? Why not concentrate on improving the lots of the people which he claimed to be serving diligently?
Only the gullible clan can be deceived by the recent antics of EFCC to deter opposition politicians in the country and Nigerians have profound capacity to know when the wools are being pulled over their eyes.
Thus, to clamp down on the former Governor by the anti corruption agency on allegations that borders on disposition to fraud was just an inexplicable supervisory absurdity and regulatory rascality.
Just like a bolt from the blue, it is true Wammako and Abuja men are bent on humiliating and ridiculing the former Governor Bafarawa, who brought majority of them to limelight from obscurity. Where is the place of equity and justice in the scheme of things? Is this not a case of regulatory rascality? Has not the EFCC by its action displayed a huge sense of unfairness by detaining Bafarawa beyond 24 hours? Is the EFCC not on a slavish misadventure to please its masters in justification of contractual peanuts?
True, that Former Governor Bafarawa has no case to answer, if not how come he was not arrested in the past 2 years, when he left office, when EFCC gave him a clean bill with some former Governors then?
Why now, when Bafarawa is becoming a great threat to the ambitions of Wammakko? In fact, if it were otherwise, the EFCC could have dragged Bafarawa to court long time ago.
Finally, it is my conclusion to call this action of EFCC and Wammako Government as summit of absurdity and disservice to humanity to use a state instrument to hound a political opponents, Wammako and his associates could have muster courage to concentrate on the challenge facing his political legitimacy in Sokoto state as he is facing much more problems of survival than the man he is fighting.
It is advisable for Governor Wammako to race back home and assumes control over his government, better than giving the political amateurs chance to destroy the good legacy bequeathed by the likes of former Governor Bafarawa on Sokoto state.
Our political leaders in the country need to learn and understand what happen to former Governor Bafarawa today, is not only a lesson but a sober reflection of the future political unity and cohesive opposition to better the lives of Nigerians.
Mal. Yusuf Dingyadi
No 88 Emir Yahaya Road, Sokoto.