Between Fayose and EFCC’s Mudslinging

Ayodele Fayose

The show staged last Tuesday by former Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State at the national headquarters of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was not unexpected. Not only did he prepare the commission ahead of time, he successfully competed for space on the front pages of major national dailies with the swearing-in of his successor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi.

Fayose made good his boast to report himself to the EFCC to answer allegations of corruption and money laundering. He did so in style and drama only he could have pulled off. Fayose wore a bespoke T-shirt with the bold inscription, “EFCC, I Am Here” to announce his arrival at the EFCC office. There is no doubt Fayose’s antics have won him psychological victory of sort over the crime-busting agency which seemed unprepared for their new guest.

Beyond the ex-governor’s antics, most revealing thing so far is that while EFCC was busy shouting in the media of its case against Fayose, it was totally unprepared. At best what it was doing was to engage in a media trial

It is senseless, to say the least, that four years after a crime was purportedly committed, the anti-graft agency is still conducting investigation. EFCC is another name for joke. With EFCC claiming to have had a conclusive investigation and vowing that it was going to prosecute Fayose immediately his tenure ended, nothing else significant has happened.

It has become the dog of war of President Muhammadu Buhari going into the 2019 presidential election, hounding anybody that criticises or seems to be against the President’s ineptitude. One thing is certain: Ibrahim Magu, the agency’s acting chairman, will go down in history as the most infamous individual to ever lead the once auspicious organisation. It is little wonder he has not been confirmed as the agency’s chairman.

The agency had gone public screaming blue murder, giving instructions to the immigration and customs not to let Fayose escape – slip through one of the borders. It is vainglorious shame, discredit and dishonour to men and women of integrity who uphold the highest values of intelligence and surveillance. What the Buhari administration is parading in EFCC are men fit to chase after cows in Daura.

Barely hours after the INEC declared Kayode Fayemi the winner of the Ekiti State governorship election, the EFCC said it was determined to prosecute Fayose regarding an alleged fraud at the Integrated Poultry Project/Biological Concepts Limited to the tune of N1.3 billion.

EFCC had tweeted: “The parri (party) is over; the cloak of immunity torn apart, and the staff broken. Ekiti Integrated Poultry Project/Biological Concepts Limited N1.3 billion fraud case file dusted off the shelves. See you soon.

In September, the EFCC wrote Fayose claiming he was needed for routine questioning – that has turned into two weeks. What the world is waiting for is whether EFCC will hold until February 2019 after the presidential election. One does not need to like the Ekiti State’s ex-governor’s style to understand that the EFCC is the pettiest and nastiest institution in Nigeria. Its stock in trade is smear campaign. Or else, how does one explain the rationality of the pictures of houses allegedly owned by Fayose being splashed in the media? It’s simple: EFCC’s best achievement since the coming of Buhari is media trial; smear campaign.

Despite willingly submitting himself for investigation, the agency still surreptitiously went ahead to get a devious court injunction. Which judge in his right sense granted EFCC – a politically tainted institution – the request to detain a former government for two weeks for no apparent reason to a politically tainted organisation like the EFCC? From Fayose’s disposition, the ex-governor would have been willing to answer EFCC’s invitation at anytime. To Fayose’s credit, he had already prepared his mind to spend time in EFCC’s detention facility.

Which judge granted the two-week detention order when the EFCC had four years or more to conclude the investigation? What the EFCC has done smacks of retribution and punitive action – it borders on irresponsibility. EFCC is more interested in punishing Fayose than in seeking justice. The commission apparently wants to punish him for always criticising Buhari. EFCC is not really interested in his alleged crimes because if it was, it would have – with all the so-called damning evidences it claimed to have at its disposal – proceeded to prosecute Fayose and arraign him with much ado.

Hell, no! Forty-eight hours after Fayose had presented himself, thinking of what to do with the man. What does the EFCC need two weeks for to keep Fayose in detention? In puerile display, it has been regaling the public with pictures of Fayose’s houses. Is that the issue at hand? That is not the issue. Rather, EFCC should prove to Nigerians that those properties were acquired by corrupt means. They had four years to track these properties. Why are they holding a media trial? EFCC should go to court and prosecute the former governor – no immunity excuse any more.

Had Fayose defected to APC, singing Buhari’s praises, no harsh treatment would have been meted out to him. EFCC has become a lean, mean fighting machine for Buhari and his acolytes. They are fighting a losing battle. They did same with FFK, what did they come to? Nothing! Therefore, as always the EFCC’s dolorous and repetitive tale of atrocity against vociferous opponents like Fayose will come to nought.