A group, the Alliance for Good Governance and Due Process, on Monday in Abuja queried the alleged plan by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to appoint Olanipekun Olukoyede as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
The group, in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Ayelabola Hussain, said the alleged nomination, if it was true, would be a serious violation of the EFCC Act which was specific about the qualities and qualifications of persons that should be the
chairman of such an important commission.
Hussain noted that, in a democracy, the government should be wary of constitutional provisions and nothing should be done to turn the EFCC into a lame duck commission just because some powerful forces would prefer an unqualified person to run its affairs.
He said: “We have watched closely and monitored some of the decisions taken by the administration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu since his inauguration on May 29, 2023.
“While we have, in the past, commended the President for some of the policy initiatives, we find it curious that some news organisations published a story that the President was planning to nominate a one-time Secretary of the EFCC, Mr. Olanipekun Olukoyede, as the chairman of the anti-graft agency.
“To us, this is a shocking development that must be addressed because we have struggled to understand what qualifies Olukoyede for such an exalted office. To be sincere, we have found none. This is, to say the least, a rude joke.
“Besides, the rumour mill is agog with the story of how Olukoyede contracted a Senior Pastor in one of the leading Pentecostal churches in Nigeria to put in a word for him at The Presidency so that he could be appointed to head the anti-agency. Is this right? How can the Presidency justify appointing someone who still has a pending case of corruption and who is still under investigation as head of an anti-corruption agency?
“In any case, the EFCC Act is clear about who is qualified to be the Chairman of the commission. The relevant section states:
2: (1) The Commission shall consist of the following members –
(a) a chairman, who shall –
(i) be the Chief Executive and Accounting Officer of the Commission.
(ii) be a serving or retired member of any government security or law enforcement agency not below the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police or equivalent;
(iii) Possesses not less than 15 years cognate experience.”
“The questions are many. In what way is Olukoyede qualified to be so nominated if true? What happens to the pending cases against him even as Secretary of the EFCC under the leadership of Ibrahim Magu? Was Olukoyede exonerated by the Justice Ayo Salami Investigative Panel of the EFCC? If so, where is the report of that panel?
“By the way, it is public knowledge that Olukoyede’s account is still under investigation and frozen. So why is he in a hurry to go back to the EFCC? Is there something we don’t know? Does a man with such a huge baggage deserve to be rewarded with the chairman of the EFCC?” Hussain asked.