Kalu, EFCC & the re-branding project
By Odimegwu Onwumere
What many Nigerians have said that is the renewed effort of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to re-assess the ex-Governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu over alleged money impropriety while in office is better said is a renewed effort of the commission to insult and molest Nigerians.
The commission has bent on arresting and re-arresting the good-natured Kalu without any evidence to show that he really committed the ‘crime’ which EFCC has been celebrating for years, without allowing the man be. This celebration by the EFCC has only achieved the aim of the script of those it is playing – Bringing the name of Kalu to the mud – and not actually bringing corruption to standstill. That was not supposed to be.
The cynicism the EFCC is exhibiting against Kalu is one in a million of how not to fight crime if Nigerians should dig deeper into the case of the Kalu’s ‘crime’. In earnest, what the EFCC is doing is a war of slow-destruction against Kalu, but has chosen a hoodwinking method against the general public that it is fighting a war against corruption.
Nigerians could attest to the unilateral way the commission was formed. Between 1999-2007, it was used by the president within the period mentioned to ‘shut-up’ any perceived opposition. And even till date. People were molested and haunted for ‘crime’ they never committed and without anything to show for all the money the EFCC also celebrated on the pages of the newspapers that it recovered from certain quarters. This could be the reason one remanded Banker has been shouting from the custody recently, saying, “They are looting my loot.” And one wonders who the looters of her loot are. Is EFCC corrupt?
The EFCC is bloated everyday with the hard earned name of Kalu brought to disrepute. The EFCC always use wide coverage by the media to impress Nigerians while molesting Kalu. Today, many Nigerians are not impressed about this. Nigerians believed that this act by the agency is just a charade. You don’t sentence someone to prison before arraigning the person in a court.
Apart from Kalu whom many Nigerians have told the EFCC to prove itself right by providing documents that show that he really mismanaged the touted fund, they knew that the commission has just been celebrating mediocrity. What even the Federal Government (FG) has not realized is that the EFCC is giving the country a bad image before the international community. It is always celebrating long lists of imaginary Nigerian corrupt persons without any prove to back its lists. This behaviour is very bad, especially in recent times when Nigeria had launched a “Good people, Great Nation” re-branding campaign, yet the teleguided EFCC is sending message across the world that corruption is imminent in Nigeria. But this is untrue. Those Nigerians on the EFCC’s lists are not corrupt, except the commission would prove otherwise.
Such eyeservice practice by the EFCC is dubious. Its war against corruption from its inception has setback the FG’s image laundering of Nigeria abroad. Every Nigerian is seen and deemed as a corrupt person anywhere in the world just because the EFCC has been sending message of ‘corruption imminent in Nigeria’ across to the countries of the world. And the commission is always happy generating controversy that has plunged the anti-corruption war in Nigeria. If the FG really wants to help Nigeria, it should put an end the commission. A panel had even recommended this.
Because of how the EFCC has made Nigeria be rated in the comity of nations, it could be recalled that Nigeria was in the 2010 Corruption Perception Index of the arguably Transparency International and was listed as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. Why? Because of the EFCC’s abracadabra to safe its continued efforts to stay as EFCC whereas the image of Nigeria is rubbished and tainted. Against that influence, the Human Rights Watch, a US-based rights organisation, painted EFCC as a toothless bulldog, saying, “Despite its promise, the EFCC has fallen far short of its potential and eight years after its inception is left with a battered reputation and an uncertain record of accomplishment.”
The case here is should the EFCC go unpunished for always painting the image of Nigeria black with its barking action, without motion? Nigerians have been beaten several times by this EFCC and they are shy, therefore the agency should be swept under the carpet. It has failed to do a proper job of investigation before molesting Kalu. And Nigerians are not taking this with a pinch of salt. Hence, is Kalu really that corrupt or is it not the EFCC that is truly corrupt? EFCC has a poor criminal investigative unit to fight corruption and should shut-up.
Straight away, the EFCC lags in putting itself to order before coming to the public to talk about who is corrupt or not corrupt, and oblivious that it always brings itself to the public gallery for people all over the world to laugh at.
Corruption is not hegemonies. The EFCC could be corrupt and should stop massaging its ego, by painting Nigerians as a corrupt people. There is no proposal or far-reaching judicial reforms because of the EFCC on how to fast-track the trial of Kalu that would work.
The FG should henceforth audit EFCC. Without mincing word, EFCC has failed. Does it not take absolute morality to expose absolute immorality again? This EFCC should remove its speck before coming to equity. If it has no work to do, it should then let Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu be.