Presidency, Senate Leadership Lobby Lawmakers Opposed To New EFCC Chairman.

Following intense lobbying by the Presidency and the Senate leadership, lawmakers will today (Wednesday) screen Olanipekun Olukoyede as the new chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Streetdope  reports that President Bola Tinubu had, in a letter on Tuesday to Senate President Godswill Akpabio, asked for the clearance of Olukoyede as the anti-graft agency’s boss for a renewable four-year term.

The choice of Olukoyede has, however, elicited objection from some people, who alleged that it breached a section of the Federal Character Commission Act (FCC).

But according to The Nation, the Presidency and the Senate leadership swung into action last night to convince Senators opposed to his appointment.

They were also said to have told such senators that the appointment was in line with the EFCC (Establishment) Act 2004.

Sources close to the Senate said that Olukoyede, a former secretary of the commission, was invited for the screening after undergoing security clearance.

One of the sources said: “All is set for the screening of the new EFCC chairman. Having been in receipt of a letter from President Bola Tinubu, the Senate has invited Olukoyede to face its members on his vision, mission, and why he should be cleared.

“Senators will thereafter interact with him on anti-graft policy and why it is difficult to tackle corruption in the country.

Some of the issues that have cropped up since Olukoyede’s appointment are the interpretation of Section 2 of the EFCC Establishment Act 2004, his eligibility for the job, the report of Justice Isa Ayo Salami’s panel on EFCC and the Presidency’s compliance with the federal character principle.

Another source, who also asked not to be named, said: “In line with parliamentary culture, there has been intensified lobbying on the sterling qualities of Olukoyede. His choice was the outcome of a painstaking search for a capable hand to give the anti-corruption war a new outlook and reform the commission.

“There is no doubt that some Senators have some misgivings, but all issues were being addressed ahead of the screening.

The Presidency had insisted that President Tinubu approved Olukoyede’s appointment in line with Section 2(3) of the Act establishing the EFCC.

It said: “Olukoyede was the Chief of Staff to the Executive Chairman of the EFCC (2016-2018) and Secretary of the commission(2018-2020). He was a member of a law enforcement organisation as Secretary, in this case, the EFCC, as stipulated in the EFCC Act, and as such, satisfies every legal detail to be appointed as chairman.

“Section 2(1)(p) of the EFCC Act plainly, ordinarily, and unambiguously established the secretary to the commission as its member and head of its administration.

“It is also unambiguous by the provisions of subparagraph (iii) that once a person possessed 15 years of such cognate (i.e., similar or alike) experience, then he has satisfied the provisions of subparagraph (iii) of section 2(1)(a) of the EFCC Act.

“It is clear from the unambiguous provisions of the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004, that any member of the Commission, whether serving or retired, who has 15 years’ cognate experience in their chosen career is eligible to be appointed as the chairman of the commission.

Prior to this time, the convention and precedence is that to be qualified for appointment as the executive chairman of the commission, the nominee must be a police officer or someone with a law enforcement background, particularly in the area of investigation.