Date Published: 10/05/09
EFCC’S Psychiatric Tests Should Start With Serving Public Officers By Ifeanyi Izeze
The call at a workshop in Kaduna by the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri , for psychiatric tests to determine the level of mental and psychological suitability of politicians jostling for public office ahead of the 2011 elections was a grand suggestion though an incomplete one.
The test in her view has become necessary given the primitive accumulation of wealth to the point of madness by officials duly elected or appointed to serve the public.
Her words: “Having dealt with many corruption cases, I am inclined to suggest that public officers should be subjected to some form of psychiatric evaluation to determine their suitability for public office. The extent of aggrandizement and gluttonous accumulation of wealth that I have observed suggests to me that some people are mentally and psychologically unsuitable for public office. We have observed people amassing public wealth to a point suggesting ‘madness’ or some form of obsessive- compulsive psychiatric disorder.”
Waziri consciously did not want to include serving officers in her proposed scheme because she is fully aware that almost all of them including the president and herself would fail any frank and sincere madness check as pertains to primitive ways of garnering wealth.
Now that the EFCC chairperson has finally found her voice, it would be very interesting to do a test run of the proposed scheme on serving public officers- elected and appointed including the president and the EFCC boss herself.
In medical practice, the most interesting test is the madness check. This is because interpretation of the test data is as maddening as the ailment itself in addition to the madness potentials of the doctor herself.
Taking very few cases of the pandemic, let’s do a trial run of the scheme using the popular Yoruba adage that “a person weh deh lie go steal well well,” as a simple check parameter.
Starting with the EFCC boss, she assumed office and the first assignment she handled was to allege that her predecessor, Nuhu Ribadu took away all the case files including those of the investigated former governors to Kuru as a way of making sure she fails in her new job. When Ribadu, before he went on exile, replied and countered her claims, she quickly retracted her claims and blamed it on the press who “quoted her out of context.” The same Waziri at the peak of the ongoing Ibori- London Met Police saga publicly declared that all the cases against the former governors are still ongoing. Interestingly, the pronouncement was after she blamed the judiciary for making her assignment difficult by granting frivolous injunctions because they share the looted public funds with culprit former public officers.
How else could anybody have described the recent war of words, claims and counter claims between the EFCC boss and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Michael Aondoakaa (SAN), the two people saddled with the responsibilities of pushing Umaru Yar’adua’s anti-graft campaign, if not to say it was typical madness?
From the above conflicting public pronouncements, which represent only a meager portion of the acts of the current EFCC boss, her test result is positive.
As for the AGF, Aondoakaa, his case is a peculiar one. You know this thing comes in different styles. The man talks 20 hours a day and uses the remaining four hours to retract everything he said in the first 20. He talks what Dora Akunyili and Segun Adeniyi should be talking while those ones are fully occupied re-brandding one thing or the other.
Aondoakaa blames almost everybody- Ribadu, Economic Adviser to the President, the NBA, the EFCC leadership, British, American and German authourities, disgruntled Nigerian opposition politicians and the media- conventional and alternative, for the glaring double standards in the anti-corruption campaign of this administration where bank chiefs are arrested and detained but political cronies of both the president and the AGF who have serious allegations to clear are shielded in the Villa. This is an obvious positive test result for the AGF.
In madness checks, extreme cases of quietness, silence( just as hyper sensitivity)or even deliberate go-slow even when there is obvious danger of impending disaster, is an indication of a rare breed of psychopathic disorder. And with all due respect, this is the category the President and his Vice fall into.
President Yar’adua’s case represents a peculiar handicap. He does not need Waziri’s psychiatric test for one reason only - he is our dear president. So let’s leave it at that.
Almost all our “parliamentary jokers” would test positive in Waziri’s psychiatric clinic.
What of our state governors that uses the pages of newspapers to showcase class room blocks and earth roads as mammoth achievements when they receive billion of Naira monthly from the federation account?
So if the stealing potentials of our public officers amount to madness in the new thinking, the question then becomes what we do to cure all of them of this ailment that terribly affects the ordinary Nigerians rather than the mad people.
Another caveat was that The EFCC boss failed to acknowledge that there is only one psychiatric doctor needed to cure the pandemic and that is the EFCC itself.
As was rightly pointed out by the Tribune editorial of Monday October 5, 2009, “The EFCC is meant to quench the excessive thirst of public office holders for money so that public funds could be used for public purposes. Eight years after its establishment, the EFCC has not done enough to deal with the gluttonous politicians.
“If truly the EFCC and the ICPC carry out their assignments as required by the acts which established them, there is no need for any psychiatric hospital for the aspiring (and serving) political office holders.”
Since the EFCC boss has suggested this noble course to address the problem of corruption by public office holders, she should be informed as was duly done by editorial that the commission “was not set up as a science laboratory to observe as Mrs Waziri is observing the politicians in stealing public funds.
“The EFCC is the psychiatric hospital meant to treat madness in public office holders in Nigeria. By the time the EFCC administers enough doses of anti-psychiatric drugs- making politicians to cough up ill-gotten wealth- Nigeria will be a better place as the politicians’ inclination to steal funds will be reduced.”
Frankly, I decided to contribute my own quota in the anti-graft crusade because the EFCC boss invited me to do so when she said at the Kaduna workshop that “You cannot afford to be neutral in this war. Make it your war. It is everybody’s fight and not just that of the EFCC.”
IFEANYI IZEZE IS AN ABUJA-BASED CONSULTANT ON POLITICAL STRATEGY AND COMMUNICATION ( firstname.lastname@example.org)