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One of the knocks leveled against candidate Muhammadu Buhari before his election as President was that he had dictatorial tendencies. It was a moniker he vigorously refuted while declaring himself, once out of uniform, to being a new democrat. The world and Nigeria provided him with the opportunity to prove himself now as President.

Unfortunately, people are beginning to question this claim in light of the goings on between the Presidency and the Senate regarding the Ibrahim Magu standoff.

Mr. President had sent Ibrahim Magu’s name to the Senate for advice and consent as the Chairman of the much-vaunted EFCC twice. On both occasions, the Senate refused to confirm Mr. Magu. The first time he was rejected, the Senate alluded, as reason, an unfavourable DSS Security Report which it said was in its possession and which cast negative aspersions on the nominee. How the Senate got the report was not revealed. But the development exposed the sheer administrative incompetence of the key functional agencies in the Presidency, especially the Office the Secretary to the Federal Government.  In more advanced climes, no DSS Report would see the light of day without the President’s assent and dissemination outside of the normal administrative processes for such reports.

The President then re-submitted his name a second time. The Senate promptly declined assent for reasons it said had nothing to do with the earlier DSS Report. The Senate, officially, said it was rejecting the nomination because it felt Mr. Magu was not the right man for the job. Interestingly however, in its televised debate on the nomination, Senators were heard berating Mr. Magu for the series of investigations and charges which the EFCC and ICPC have made against the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki. In fact, in the spirited efforts, outside of the Senate, being made to resolve the crises of confidence between the Presidency and the Senate, Senators have asked pointedly that for peace to reign, all charges and investigations being carried out or leveled against the Senate President must all be withdrawn and/or stopped. So, the tit-for-tat goes on.

Reports are rife now that Mr. President is determined to send Mr. Magu’s name back to the Senate a third time. That would be a matter for concern. Because in regular functioning democracies, especially in America, after whose method of democratic governance we have patterned ours, what happens the first time the Senate rejects a Presidential nomination is that the President vents his dislike of the Senate’s decision and then proceeds to withdraw the name of the nominee.


He would then send the Senate the name of a new nominee. In the subtle revenge game that now plays out, the president is more likely to send in the name of a person, manifestly more moderate than the person whose candidacy was rejected, but upon confirmation, will now prove to be more conservative or more difficult to deal with than the person who was rejected initially. Voila!

So, in this game, the President needs to be the new democrat he claims to be; withdraw Magu;s name, vent his disapproval of the rejection  and proceed to nominate someone more agreeable to; you guessed it, Nigerians. Someone needs to do what Magu is doing. The Constitution and the law demand it; if not Magu, then someone else.


To the Senators who feel that they can derail the president’s nominee out of sheer self-conceitedness, who gets appointed is their poison. They will have to swallow it. The popular dictum on my street is the devil you know is better than the saint you don’t know.  My best wishes to the phony  elders who cannot stop behaving like yahoos and kindergartners.


Abiodun Egunjobi

[email protected]

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