Anti-Corruption: IBORI instrumental to Farida Waziri’s appointment –Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted the appointment of Mrs. Farida Waziri as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. Chief Obasanjo said this during an interview with Zero Tolerance Magazine.

He said her appointment slowed down the fight against corruption in the country. “Waziri was a wrong successor to Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, the pioneer chairman of the anti-graft agency.”

He further said, “I know that the woman they brought in to replace Ribadu was not the right person for that job  because I understood that one of those who head-hunted her was Ibori. If  Ibori, who is now in a UK (United Kingdom) prison for fraud, head-hunts somebody who will fight corruption in Nigeria, then you can understand what happened.”

The former President, whose administration established the  EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other-Related Offences Commission, added that  he was aware that convicted  former Delta State Governor,  James Ibori, played a major role in  her  appointment.

To butress his argument he challenged Zero Tolerance Magazine, a Publication of EFCC to “go and look at her track record.” “Go and look at the condition or the qualification; go and look at the type of interaction that anybody holding that job will have with a similar organisation elsewhere; did Waziri have that type. What connection did she have with the FBI, what relationship did she have with Metropolitan Police in London. It’s not a picnic,”Obasanjo  added.

On Ribadu; Obasanjo said he was satisfied with his performance especially as his tenure helped reduce corruption in Nigeria and improved her rating by the Transparency International. He said, “When I was there, the EFCC and ICPC worked tirelessly and we moved this country from the corruption perception index being number two from the lowest to number 45 from the lowest. We should have graduated from being number 45 to being number 50 to being number 60, to being number 100. But we are not doing that, rather we have started sliding down.”

The former President flayed  the manner Ribadu was removed from office, saying he cautioned  the late President Umaru Yar’Adua against  his  removal.

Obasanjo said if given the opportunity again, “I will reappoint Mallam Ribadu and I will not dismiss him the way he was dismissed from the EFCC.”

He, however, criticised  Ribadu for hobnobbing “with people he had declared as corrupt.”

Asked to rate the incumbent EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde, on the fight against corruption, Obasanjo, said he did not know how to score him. He however recalled that Lamorde was directly involved  when he requested the anti-graft agency to investigate him.

He said, “I was investigated. I told  the EFCC to investigate me. I told the  EFCC to carry out clinical investigation and they did.

“They also did same with all people on my farm. One of them was telling me the other day how Lamorde called him three times and took statements from him. The EFCC even made sure they did not submit that report to me; they waited until I left and updated their report after going round the world and saying look this is the report. Nobody should be below board in the fight against corruption.”

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