A little over 24 hours after human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), faulted the control of the nation’s anti-graft agencies by persons from the southern part of Nigeria, one of them, the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, has been replaced.
But his replacement followed his request last week to be let go, sources said and the Presidency confirmed in its statement announcing the new helmsman.
The ICPC boss, it was gathered, had last week communicated his desire to proceed on his Pre-Exit leave to the President through the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume.
In the statement approving Owasanoye’s request, the Presidency said: “In exercise of powers conferred on the President as established in Section 3(6) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000, and in furtherance of the Renewed Hope mandate to reform key institutions and invigorate Nigeria’s war on corruption, President Bola Tinubu has approved the appointment of a new management team for the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), pending Senate confirmation:
Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu — Chairman / Chief Executive Officer, ICPC
Mr. Clifford Okwudiri Oparaodu — Secretary to the Commission, ICPC
“The new Chairman of the ICPC is nominated for confirmation by the Nigerian Senate, following the President’s approval of the outgoing Chairman’s request to proceed on pre-end of tenure leave beginning on November 4, 2023, ahead of the expiration of his tenure on February 3, 2024.
“The position of Secretary to the Commission does not require Senate confirmation and, therefore, by the directive of the President, the appointment of Mr. Clifford Okwudiri Oparaodu as Secretary of the Commission takes immediate effect.
“Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu … embarked upon many far-reaching reforms as the Attorney General of Jigawa State since September 2019 and holds Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees in Law. He was also named as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria-designate in October 2023.
“Mr. Clifford Okwudiri Oparaodu is a lawyer with over 30 years of experience and has served meritoriously in the public service as a Member of the Rivers State Judicial Service Commission and Chairman of the Caretaker Committee of Port Harcourt City Local Government Council.
“The President implores the new management team of the ICPC to always be above board as they discharge their duties without fear or favour concerning all matters before them.”
Recall that Mr Femi Falana (SAN), had declared that the appointment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission chairmen from the same geopolitical zone was unlawful and against the Federal Character Principle.
He made the declaration during a live appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Monday.
According to Falana, if the chairman of the EFCC is from the northern region, then the chairman of the ICPC should be appointed from the southern region.
The recently appointed chairman of EFCC, Mr Ola Olukoyede and the ICPC Chairman, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye are both from the South-West geopolitical zone.
His words: “There is no issue; the only issue that has been raised has to be considered by the government is that we have in this country, the Federal Character Commission Act and also by the virtue of Section 14 of the constitution, appointments must reflect Federal Character.
“If you are going to have the EFCC and the ICPC, the heads cannot come from same zone. If there are two positions in the public service, one must go to the North, and one must go to the South. If there are four, two must go to the South, and two must go to the North. If there are six, one must go to each geopolitical zone. That is the law in Nigeria today.”
According to him, though Olukoyede is very much qualified to head the EFCC, he is not comfortable with the fact that the heads of both anti-graft agencies are from the South-West geopolitical zone.
“So, I am not comfortable with the fact that the heads of the EFCC and the ICPC are from the same zone. Apart from that, Mr Ola Olukoyede is eminently qualified to head the EFCC. My colleagues who have criticised the appointment have not looked at the relevant provisions of the EFCC which is Section 2”.