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Re: An open letter to EFCC chairman, Mrs. Farida Waziri

This reply, however, is not to join issues with Tela over his spurious views but to reiterate Mrs. Waziri’s integrity profile and high moral values,…

This reply, however, is not to join issues with Tela over his spurious views but to reiterate Mrs. Waziri’s integrity profile and high moral values, and her determination to pursue the fight against corruption and corrupt politicians. Of course, Tela’s letter is just one out of many churned out by her detractors in the last two weeks, being the period when some big time economic fraudsters and political desperadoes were facing their baptism by fire in the hands of the EFCC.

To contextualize his trial of Mrs. Farida Waziri, Tela excused his readers to beat about the bush by going into Ali Mazrui’s work of fiction. The trials of Christopher Okigbo. According to him, beating about the bush may bring the grass so low that Mrs.Waziri could see clearly the goings-on in the political landscape of Gombe and her role therein. In comparing Mazrui’s novel to the political landscape of Gombe, Tela fails to tell us specifically who in the political scenario is compared to whom among those on trial in the novel. Again, in trying Mrs. Waziri’s moral strength through the trial of Okigbo in the novel, he misunderstood the reason for which Okigbo is being tried and therefore judged and sentenced Mrs. Waziri wrongly.

However, unlike Okigbo in the novel, the EFCC Chairman is a detribalised Nigerian who is above petty primordial politics. To think that she can sacrifice her hard earned qualities of honesty, discipline and moral tenacity for that “Ingratiating gesture” of anointing her husband as Senator (to serve for only three months) does not just portray Tela as narrow minded and juvenile in reasoning, but also a painful reminder to us all that we still have people like Tela hibernating in chauvinistic politics.

If Farida Waziri were such a chicken to go pecking pebbles in the dirty courtyards of politicians, the prestige and power of her office is enough to take her to more expansive courtyards littered with pebbles of gold and silver rather than the narrow courtyards of Gombe politics. If her husband were such an article of trade and her office a market place, she would have traded him for a much higher price than that of a three months Senator. If she were inclined to such cheap nepotism the EFCC would have been flooded by people from Benue State by now. Farida is a fanatic when it comes to honesty and transparency. And because she is honest to a fault, and deeply Godly, she can work even with her enemies without let or hindrance.

At this point let me express a personal opinion on Gombe State. I am not an indigene of Gombe State but I know the situation there. Comparatively speaking, Gombe State has a better leadership than all the other five States of the North East. There is nowhere in the North East, indeed in the entire North, where you can find a well established and well staffed university like the one in Gombe State . Gombe State University is far better in infrastructure, staff and Curriculum than any of the third generation Universities in the region. Gombe state is the only State in the region that can boast of a State owned Airport fully equipped and optimally functional. Gombe State has the best water supply network in the region, providing portable and healthy water for domestic consumption. As we are talking now, all the states surrounding Gombe are being devastated by cholera epidemic because their Governments did not provide the citizens with clean portable water. The fact that Gombe remained invulnerable even while the epidemic rages and ravages its neigbouring states of Bauchi, Yobe and Borno is enough to tell you that there is good leadership in Gombe.

These achievements of the Gombe state government may not insulate governor from corrupt tendencies, but again they stand him out as a better leader than his colleagues. Therefore, Goje may have a higher moral ground than others that he need not go the extra mile to make any ‘ingratiating gestures” for fear of his security after leaving office.

However, there is no Governor in this country that is absolutely clean, including governor Goje. Therefore, like any other Governor in the country Goje may have one or two cases against him, especially with alarmists like Tela in Gombe state. But that does not warrant the parochialism you displayed in your letter, where you reduced the Executive Chairman of the EFCC to the low level of Gombe politics, by telling her that ‘Gov. Goje has, by nominating your hubby, paid your price”. Her husband may be an issue for bible-babble by lesser minds like you in Gombe politics, but it would amount to effrontery and uncharitable behaviour to address Farida Waziri in the manner you did. If you have no respect for her as a wife to one of your great sons, at least you must respect her as a detribalised Nigerian woman, an honest leader, a great achiever, who served the Nigeria Police in various capacities without blemish, and joyfully retired as an Assistant Inspector General of Police. She is one whose transparency and honesty earned her the leadership of the EFCC, and one whom the Federal Government could not but endorse her sterling qualities of patriotism by honouring her with the national honour of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, CFR.

Othman is of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)

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