One of the eight-point agenda of President Bola Tinubu’s administration aimed at moving the Nigerian economy forward includes fighting corruption. Already, it appears that the first port of call in the fight against corruption is one of the agencies saddled with that responsibility – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The anti-graft agency has been in the eye of the storm of corruption allegations related to the now-suspended Chairman of the commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa. Right from the days of Ibrahim Magu, the erstwhile chairman of EFCC, the agency has not covered itself in glory. It has been from one allegation of corruption to fraudulent activities. While the suspended Bawa is still battling to prove his innocence, Abdulkarim Chukkol has stepped up into Bawa’s shoes as the acting chairman.
Clearly, the anti-graft agency needs some revamping in terms of leadership and personnel recruitment. There is an alleged issue of imbalance in staff recruitment. The alleged domination of the agency since its creation by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo is in contravention of the principle of federal character and national unity. Perhaps, that’s why the EFCC Act is up for an amendment. The move to amend the Act by the Nigerian Senate is aimed at repositioning the agency for efficiency in carrying out its primary responsibility of fighting corruption. The bill, among other things, is seeking the total autonomy of EFCC to run independently without any presidential interference.
But the most urgent and perhaps the biggest challenge before President Tinubu is finding a man of integrity to restore the dignity of the agency in the next four years. Already some names have been bandied around in the last few weeks as worthy of consideration for the EFCC job. Top on the list of names being clamoured for by many to serve as the substantial chairman is Dr. Olayinka Babatunde Balogun. Described as the best man for the job, Balogun has a long history of integrity and excellence spanning decades of exemplary national services. For decades, his prestige and diligence spread out. And it’s really no shock that he is being tipped to succeed Bawa as the next EFCC boss.
By every standard, Dr. Balogun is more than capable of running the anti-graft agency. An alumnus of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, where he studied Political Science. He also holds an enviable LLB degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Best known for his professionalism, the retired Commissioner of Police, covered himself in glory when he served as head of SCID, Panti, Yaba, and Special Anti-Fraud Unit, Milverton, Ikoyi. During the last general elections, Dr. Balogun was in charge of security in the South-West for the Tinubu/Shettima 2023 Campaign Organization. Olayinka, a veteran in the business of investigations and security matters, has proved his mettle in various national assignments including co-chairman/member of the Presidential Committee on Internal Security and Community Policing; and Nigeria Police Task Force on Police Conduct during the 2019 general elections.
Described as a first-class brain, Balogun has attended and received training in several local and international institutions in relevant security matters including money laundering and economic crimes. And that’s not all, he also served as Commissioner/member, Code of Conduct Bureau; East chapter retainer course for FBI National Academy Associates (FBINAA), organized by US Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Gaborone, Botswana. During his early days in the service, he served as a divisional police officer and public relations officer in Enugu and Benue States. Balogun was also a principal officer to the Inspector-General of Police, IGP, and also a staff officer to the chairman of the Police Service Commission. Known for his humility and bright personality, he is no doubt, one of the prides of the Nigeria Police Force, and the general consensus is that Dr. Balogun is the best man for the EFCC job.
Soyebo, a public affairs analyst, writes from Lagos