By Peter Bamidele
THE running battle between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and Kogi State seems relentless.
Recently, a learned silk, Chief Olisa Agbakoba, opined that the EFCC is becoming overbearing over the states and acting outside of its constitutional mandate by victimizing State governors and especially condemned EFCC’S fixation on the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, whose travails started from 2021 immediately he declared his intention to run for the presidential ticket of his Party. Ever since then, the EFCC has been vehement in beaming its searchlight on Kogi State.
A cross section of Kogi State observers believe that the latest onslaughts of the EFCC against Governor Yahaya Bello is not unconnected with the succession battles as to who succeeds him after the expiration of his tenure. Some schools of thought believe that the Governor is being blackmailed by some political forces using the EFCC to distract him from picking or influencing who succeeds him.
The recent visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to the state where he commissioned landmark legacy projects gave Nigerians the opportunity to witness the incredible but silent developments taking place in Kogi State as against the negative propaganda against the Kogi State Governor.
For instance, Chief Ola Olanipekun, SAN , is of the opinion that rather than being an instrument of political witchunt, the EFCC chairman should be committed to jail as recently ordered by an Abuja Federal High Court.
“One thing we must get right is that you can’t get into public office and treat the rest of us with contempt…” Olanipekun, SAN said on Arise TV on Tuesday February 9th during a live interview.
The SAN went ahead to say “Yes we have corruption problems, but you cannot running riot all over the place ” while condemning the Commission’s modus operandi of acting with impunity.
The Governor’s nephew, one Alli Bello, is the latest victim of what many consider EFCC’s game of vendetta against Governor Yahaya Bello as he was recently remanded in prison at the instance of the EFCC.
A human rights activist, Comrade Peter Bamidele, the General Secretary of the Coalition Against Corruption and Bad Governance, CACOBAG, declared that “Rather than blackmailing Yahaya Bello and giving him media trial everyday, the EFCC chairman should go and serve his jail term for contempt. He is a convict already. Those two respected SANs, Agbakoba and Olanipekun, can’t both be wrong on the wrongful and illegal operations of the EFCC bordering impunity and political blackmailing. He should proceed to jail and leave Yahaya Bello alone. I am not even a fan of YahayaBello. But when it comes to the issue of rights and justice, we treat everyone equally. Impunity cannot be encouraged in a democracy. Rule of law is Supreme”
Comrade Peter Bamidele, General Secretary of CACOBAG