A two-time former governor of Kano State, Alhaji Ibrahim Shekarau, has alleged that the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) was not set up to fight corruption, but to frustrate and muzzle perceived political enemies of government.
Shekarau, who disclosed this recently, at an international debate with major political parties in Nigeria, held at Liberty Hall, North London, said the commission was set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to create the impression to the international community that his government was fighting corruption, when ordinarily, it was serving as a conduit pipe to siphon public funds.
He said: “President Obasanjo created the EFCC on the impression that he is fighting corruption, but on the contrary it was designed to fight political enemies. He loaded them with money and they detained people in guest houses and conveyed alleged offenders in air-conditioned cars or buses.”
The event, it was gathered, was tactically avoided by some of the political parties.
The former governor exonerated himself by saying he had no foreign account or property order than the one he has in Kano and the bank account he opened as a school teacher.
He said if Obasanjo was serious about fighting corruption, all he could have done was to empower the police that constituted about 90 per cent in the EFCC, instead of creating some agencies such as the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) as parastatals, just to siphon money and do political attack by fabricating a lot of issues.
“When I was a governor, EFCC had invited me and claimed all sorts of lies against me. At one point, Obasanjo had to invite me also together with EFCC’s former boss (Nuhu Ribadu), and he Obasanjo handed a document containing all my ‘wrongs’ to me to read. “After reading the document, Obasanjo then asked me what my opinion was. I told him I was not there when it was written, so asking my opinion does not make sense. Obasanjo then told Ribadu to make sure he re-writes the document and put things in proper perspective and return it, as he has only two weeks to stay in office.
That was the situation then in EFCC and how people were framed up,” Shekarau said.
The former governor, who also bared his mind on a lot of issues during an extempore speech, including the amendment of the 1999 Constitution been embarked upon by the National Assembly, noted that there was nothing wrong with it, as the problem lied on implementation.
“Our constitution is a perfect one, the problem is the implementation. For eight years, I was a governor of Kano State. I had never withheld local government money and never embezzled any. I also did not breach the constitution. Most of the laws are already laid out, but there is also the constitution of the common sense as it will not say everything and how to govern the country,” Shekarau said.
The former governor noted that the educational backwardness of Northern Nigeria, the Nigerian-Biafra war, the military rule which was dominated by the north, were as a result of what he called ‘historical accidents’.
He, however, admitted that all was not well in the country as there were a lot of challenges facing her. He said there was ‘fire on the mountain’ as the country needed all the suggestions and advice from different quarters to solve her problems.
Shekarau, who said he was not talking as a presidential contestant, but advising on personal capacity said there was need to restore hope in the country and the confidence of Nigerians in governance.
“Nigerians have lost hope in governance. There are some governors who cannot attend open functions in their states. It takes time to course change because Nigeria has fallen into a deep. The amount of problems facing the country is enormous,” he said.
The former governor listed five cardinal forms of success in governance, which he attributed to the United Nations characteristics of good governance.
He said for the country to move forward from its current doldrums, there was need for sincerity of purpose and consciousness of God; proper planning and accountability and getting the right people to do the work instead of party patronage.