Written by Donald Ojogo:
BARRING a last minute change of mind, Acting President Goodluck Jonathan has concluded plans to carry out “a clinical operation” in both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a matter of weeks. Nigerian Tribune was authoritatively informed by a competent Presidency source that already, the “groundwork required to embark on that exercise” may have commenced with reports filtering through that fiery social crusader and former military governor of Kaduna State, Colonel Abubakar Umar (rtd), is likely to emerge as the new helmsman of EFCC.
This is even as a law professor and renowned constitutional expert being touted in power circles as a possible chairman of the envisaged electoral body.
It could not be confirmed whether or not both have been approached by the government in that direction.
The tenure of the current INEC boss, Professor Maurice Iwu, terminates in June this year. Debate on whether or not his tenure should be extended for another four years had been rife in recent times.
But according to the source, who pleaded anonymity, Iwu is not the target of the impending overhaul, adding that a holistic measure was in the offing.
Nonetheless, the source told the Nigerian Tribune that at the moment, the pre-occupation of the acting president centred on electoral reforms, anti-corruption, power, security and Niger Delta.
“The man (Jonathan) is more concerned with electoral reforms, power sector, the anti-corruption war, security and, of course, the Niger Delta issue more than other issues governorship election in states and ministerial appointments people are trying to drag around him. All he is interested in is how a positive impact and good foundation will be laid for these key areas before 2011.
“In doing that, he does not need to wait until he finishes with one before he starts another. All of these issues could go on at the same time with the needed political will and cooperation of all Nigerians.
“For instance, in a matter of some weeks from now, you will see some very clinical operations in bodies like INEC and EFCC, in particular, I can tell you that we need very courageous Nigerians who have integrity to man such bodies.
“As for INEC, we are all aware that the present composition does not conform with the constitution, as the present setting falls short of what the law stipulated. Not only will the vacant slots be filled, the restructuring necessary for INEC to function well will also be carried out without delay.”
The source, however, ruled out the possibility of the return of the former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, saying he was not the only Nigerian who could do the job very well.
It will be recalled that Jonathan, on his assumption of office as the acting president on February 9, apart from promising to embark on electoral reforms in order to engender credible elections in 2011, also vowed to strengthen the nation’s anti-graft agencies to fight corruption.
Only last week, the acting president sent a draft bill to the National Assembly to amend Anti-Money Laundering laws.
Also, on Wednesday, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Yayale Ahmed, told the protesting Save Nigeria Group that Jonathan had forwarded the unedited version of the Justice Mohammed Uwais Report on electoral reforms to the National Assembly for consideration.
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