Tuesday, August 07, 2007

A smart move by Yar'Adua

The consequences of the President's recent decision to order that the EFCC and ICPC report to the Attorney-General will be far reaching. Rather than a demotion in powers as a tactic to halt the ongoing investigation of ex-Governors, as this article in This Day suggests, it actually extends the remit and validity of the Executive.

First, it cuts dead in its tracks any suggestion that the President has selective powers over the work of the EFCC - an accusation that haunted the previous administration. Second, it is a strong signal that Yar'Adua is intent on strengthening the rule of law - the This Day link above highlights sections of the EFCC Act which prescribe the reporting lines through the AG. Third, and as a consequence of the first two points, it opens the field for the neutral investigation of all suspect parties in possible economic crimes and corrupt practices. The final consequence is that it will put extreme pressure on the current crop of Governors to limit the widespread practice of funds diversion. What is the point of buying that fifth house on Bishop's Avenue when it may be taken away from you at any time?

It may well be that this move is part of a wider strategy by Yar'Adua to reduce the powers of the Presidency, de-centralising reporting lines across the Federal Government. This will lead to a healthier democracy at the centre, with the Legislature and the Judiciary balancing out the powers vested in the Presidency. If this is the case, a deep, structural re-balancing of the polity may be about to take place. Let's wait and see.


Chxta 7:28 pm  

You read my mind. Smart move.

JD 7:30 pm  

We can only watch, wait and see...


Confessions of a moody crab 9:27 pm  

I'm still very cynical about the current president. But let's wait and see

Chude! 9:34 pm  

Mostly what I thot on seeing teh story a few minutes ago. Sadly, my 'ogas' at Thisday refuse (or cannot?) see beyond their noses. This is a re-alignment to deepen democratic structures. Way to go! Let's wtill maintain a healthy cynicism though..

Akin 4:34 am  

In fact, I am of the view that the head of the EFCC should be answerable to a more independent judiciary function like the office of the Chief Justice rather than the more politically volatile Attorney General.

Otherwise answerable to a Senate committee and of at least cabinet rank.

This move is however in the right direction and should be viewed as a n incomplete reform gesture.

Anonymous,  10:35 am  

EFCC was created by the Senate under the EFCC Act. It was not created by the President and the President cannot then decide exactly how it will work unilaterally without reverting back to the Senate.

In any event, why has the presidency softened its position as reported in today's papers!

kwabena,  12:03 pm  

J, I agree with your analysis and support the need to reduce the arbritary powers of the presidency and improve checks and balances in the polity. But given the "nigeria factor" subsuming the EFCC AND ICPC under a political appointee (the AG) may ultimately be counter productive. Pls read Thisday 8th August.


Chxta 10:46 am  

Kwabena, one of the reasons for our downfall as a people (and our remaining downtrodden) is this readiness to ascribe everything to 'the Nigerian factor' and leave all our problems to God.

Reality check: God isn't about to come down from heaven and help us if we won't help ourselves.

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