WHO IS FARIDA WAZIRI?
There has been a lot of brouhaha and furore as to the way and manner Mrs. Farida Waziri was appointed, whether she was to be confirmed first by the senate before, her appointment was made public. The issue at stake however, is not about her competence or credibility; it is about procedural and other inconsequential administrative matter, which would of course, be sorted out in due course. But the fact remains that, she is eminently and professionally qualified to be the EFCC boss. She has the experience, expertise, qualification, mannerism, temperament, comportment and matured disposition to adroitly preside over the affairs of the anti-graft agency.
First, it has been established that, EFCC is in dire need of change, change in all its ramifications in the organization. Because, the purpose for setting up the commission has been roundly defeated by politics and several vested interests, and this has made the public to lose confidence in the anti-graft commission. Hence, she is in a very good position to shake up the EFCC, re-position it and make it function at optimal capacity in realization of the aims and objectives for it was established. Since her enlistment into the police in 1966, Waziri has attended several training courses in crime fighting. She has participated in special branch course, basic and advanced detective counter espionage course, subversion and sabotage course, administrative and staff college of Nigeria higher management course and the war college, Abuja, where she carried out a research in advance fee fraud phenomenon in Nigeria. Her dissertation in this field resulted in the publication of a book.
She is not just someone that made remarkable achievements by virtue of her birth. She made it by dint of hardwork, perseverance and utmost dedication. Waziri has risen through the ranks to her current position. After recruitment, she became the confidential registrar, special branch of the Nigeria police in Kaduna state. In 1970, she worked as the special branch desk officer and detective in the same state and held the same position four years later at Force Headquarters in Lagos, in 1976, she moved to the defunct National Security Organization (NSO), now State Security Service (SSS), she rose through the ranks to become the assistant commissioner of police (personnel), Force Headquarters, Lagos and later consummated it as the AIG, ‘E’ Department in charge of police training institutions including police colleges, after having served as commissioner of police at various locations including Alagbon-Lagos, Force CID and fraud unit among several others. And, she has attended numerous courses within and outside the country. It is also germane to note that, Waziri’s appointment conforms with Part 1, Section 2 of the amended EFCC Act 2006, which stipulates that, “the chairman shall be a serving or retired member of any government security agency of not below the rank of Assistant Inspector-General of police or its equivalent and not possessing anything below 15 years cognate experience”. And, it is on record that during her tenure as head of the Police Anti-Fraud Unit (PAF) Ribadu and Lamorde served under her. She flaunts a reputation as being aggressive, fearless, thorough, sincere, down-to-earth, perspicacious and result- oriented in the pursuit of a cause she believes in and to a very large extent, she enjoyed a good working relationship with her colleagues in the Force. She is also humble, open-minded, honest, candid, forthright, straightforward, courageous, result-oriented, cerebral, a stickler for excellence with an eye for details, very understanding, but does not suffer fools gladly.
Those making the case that, Ribadu should be left in EFCC have forgotten that when a person stays too long in a particular position, the law of diminishing returns sets in and standards are compromised. Besides, in Nigeria, at this material time of our national history and development, what we ought to be doing is not to put square pegs in round holes, instead, we should be building our national institutions and not erecting personality cults some individuals. It is clear from the advocates of let-one-man-be-there-forever that, they have benefited immensely from EFCC, whether in terms of retainership of legal services, to handle some high profile cases, in which case, huge sums of money were made available to them or NGO’s who claim to be fighting corruption were given staggering amounts to organize workshops, seminars and training on how to eradicate corruption, but in actual fact, such funds go into the private concerns of some selected individuals. It is such characters that are propagating the “divine rights of some individuals” to some position in the country.
It is therefore clear beyond all reasonable doubt that EFCC needs fundamental overhauling to make it relevant again, for as it is now, it is nothing more than a drain-pipe on government’s lean resources. It is therefore, instructive to observe that, Waziri is by all means capable to head the commission. In her 35 years of meritorious service in the Nigeria police, she fought corruption, and was highly respected for this. Her years of service were without blemish, she was above board and beyond reproach. Again, she has all the techniques, strategies, methods, styles, means, skills and wisdom to effectively make EFCC work the way it ought to work. Waziri will no doubt restore public confidence back to the EFCC, while working in tandem with international agencies, professional bodies, labour unions, the ivory towers, research institutes, organized private sector, donour partners, NGO’s and governments to combat fraud and corruption in the country.
Added to this, is the fact that, the appointment of Waziri is also in consonance with the rule of law stance and disposition of the present administration. In the past, the reign of terror, iron law of oligarchy, lawlessness, arbitrary display of power, executive recklessness and mindless impunity were the hallmarks of the political contraption called democracy between 1999-2007, and the EFCC was not only a part of the show of shame of that era, but an active participant and major facilitator of rule of lawlessness, disobedience to court orders, arbitrary and indiscriminate arrest of perceived political foes of ex-president Obasanjo. Hence, the change in EFCC is not only inevitable, but a right step in the right direction.
Ibn Mohammed Zakari,
10, Bauchi Road,
Garki Two, Abuja,