Two significant things are guaranteed in the three days before October 1. The first is that President Muhammadu Buhari will submit to the National Assembly a list of his Ministerial nominees.
The second is that he will have a chance to obtain from a veteran his first full glimpse into the quality of the existing anti-corruption terrain: the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which is scheduled to submit its annual report to the National Assembly by Wednesday.
That report should be at the top of President Buhari’s reading list this week, should it be submitted. The commission has usually avoided writing one. Rumors have it that when it was allegedly submitted during the steal-as-much-as-you-can years, it was in the form of an overview of a couple of pages.
That manufactured draft would then be smuggled into the National Assembly, where it was kept out of sight by its complicit leadership.
In other words, the EFCC knew the only battle it was doing with economic and financial crime in Nigeria was keeping a lid on it, a job that with the legislature’s help was laughably easy.
The voters changed that hoodwinking last March when they hired Buhari, but the EFCC is however nothing if not adaptable, and it has taken advantage of Buhari’s recent arrival to run around the country beating the crime-fighter drum.
Perhaps it really had been fighting corruption all these years but was simply not getting the credit. Perhaps it was “malicious” Nigerians such as this writer who were misrepresenting the work of the commission.
This is the week we get to find out.
First, does the EFCC submit a report? If it does, is it the comprehensive, authoritative one demanded by the EFCC law? That is: is the report reflective of the scale and character of Nigeria’s corruption malfeasance?
Second, we will also presumably find out in what direction the National Assembly, to which the report is submitted, will be leaning. The Assembly, in its current form, has cooperated with, and therefore nurtured, the mess for 10 years.
There are many fascinating dimensions to this week. One of them is that Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate, is embroiled in his own battle at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), where he faces 13 serious counts of corruption.
By Sonala Olumhense