Despite his lack-lustre performance at the Senate ministerial screening, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, got the plum job at the end. They say it was the President Muhammadu Buhari’s way of rewarding loyalty. Even when mediocrity is on display? No problem about that; after all, it is the president’s prerogative. Sadly, day in, day out, those who felt Malami was not deserving of that position are being proved right.
His actions/activities so far have neither helped the cause of justice nor added value to his principal’s waning popularity. Depending on the case at hand, he can today be attorney general of a political party, another time for attorney general of the presidency or anything/group that fancies his imagination. Sometimes he delves into other agencies’ territories, proclaiming some sections of the constitution to justify his actions. Unfortunately, he has not been effective and has not shown capacity as Attorney General of the Federation.
It is not unexpected that a political appointee should be partisan, but when the chief lawmaker obstructs the cause of justice and delves into distractions, it detracts from the anti-corruption posture of the government, and gives room for suspicion and a cause for worry.
The latest distraction is the ongoing trial of the political and administrative heads of the Senate. Ever since Senator Saraki, in cahoots with the opposition, emerged Senate President, he has never known peace. That singular act, in defiance of his party regulations, understandably is his cross. The CCB trial, the Panama papers, the unearthing of his stupendous wealth and high-level of corruption while in office as governor in Kwara state are all fallouts of his stubborn hold on power as Senate President. I also didn’t like the sneaky way he emerged but should we continue to cry over spilt milk?
This issue has the potential of disintegrating the APC as a party. The various factions and groups that came together and formed the party will cave in and possibly collapse along the existing fault lines, which the continuous harassment of Saraki will ensure.
While that case is still simmering, another one was triggered by the office of the AGF bordering on forgery of the Senate rules that led to his (Saraki’s) emergence. Forgery is an offence that should be punished, but I thought as a group/Senate, they could change their guidelines anytime.
In any case, fighting Saraki on all fronts as the AGF appears to doing is now looking like persecution because whether we admit it or not the man Saraki enjoys the confidence of his colleagues.
The partisan activities of the AGF and the lopsidedness of it all, will discredit the anti corruption war and make the process lose credibility. There appears to be deliberate targeting of opponents of the president both within the ruling party and the opposition.
This shouldn’t be. If the AGF is not fighting wars of vendetta, or giving protection to criminalities and illegitimacies, he is at loggerheads with statutory agencies of government. In a report by this paper last Friday, the AGF was reported to have relied on the constitutional powers his office wields to institute or discontinue any prosecution, and constituted another organ of government known as the National Prosecution Coordinating Committee, which was inaugurated by VP Yemi Osinbajo. When it becomes operational, this new body will effectively cripple the work of EFCC, which is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting financial crimes; and give leeway to the AGF to stop and initiate any prosecution on his whims and caprices.
By far the biggest blunder committed by the AGF is his meddlesomeness in the affairs of Kogi State. I refuse to accept that the AGF had a personal interest and connection with the APC government of Kogi state as being touted. Malami propped up his party, by asking the APC hierarchy to simply replace Abubakar Audu, with Yahaya Bello, who came second in their primaries, INEC followed suit and Bello became governor by fiat after inheriting Audu’s votes.
It will be subjudice on my part to comment on this legal battle triggered by the AGF’s pronouncement, as they are now subject of litigations in courts.
However the AGF’s interference in the face-off between Gov Bello and the members of the Kogi State House of Assembly gave further credence to the meddlesome interloper’s role the AGF is playing in Kogi state. Five became greater than 15 according to Bello and Malami, when they purportedly impeached the speaker and elected a new one among the five with the full complements of security provided by the governor.
This ordinarily should have been treated as a local affair within the state, until the AGF again interfered to stop justice from being done.
He also wrote to countermand the National Assembly’s resolution that the speaker be reinstated. The AGF’s ignominious role in the case fractured and created more issues, until his ‘advice’ was upturned and the National Assembly’s resolutions were upheld by an Abuja high court but because the governor has Abuja and in particular the AGF behind him, he flagrantly refused to obey the court rulings and NASS’ resolutions.
While the crisis is still on, the state bleeds, and justice and equity took the back seats, thanks to the man supposedly in charge of justice.
In all these anomalies, neither the minister nor his principal, the president appears perturbed. And instead of justice, what we have are intense power play, lobbying and unhealthy rivalry. Indeed, the minister’s actions, inactions and activities are not only threatening the anti-corruption posture of the government, they are capable of damaging its image, stratifying the party down the middle, and may end up consuming all of us.