If, as Obono-Obla claims, he is being persecuted for performing his responsibility dutifully, why then would he, who as hunter, only a few months ago, was tracking people who had helped themselves to the commonwealth, suddenly become the hunted?


The problem of corruption and how it has almost ruined our national life should be a thing of concern to all good people of this great country. I am one among millions of Nigerians who have been at the receiving end of corruption.

But for corruption, we would not be grappling with the problem of looking for schools to accommodate 13 million out-of-school children; we would not be talking of lifting 90 million people out of poverty, and neither would the government be looking for humongous funds from abroad to close the infrastructure deficit gap. These are but just a few of the negative indices the country has become known for in recent times.

I am a believer in this country who wants our women to come through child delivery unscathed and not be listed as statistics in the ever swelling maternal mortality index, as result of a decaying healthcare delivery system. So, I find it curious when efforts of government agencies set up to tackle issues of corruption begin to trend in the media for the wrong reasons.

Even though I do not hold brief for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) nor the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the recent media utterances of the former chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property (SPIP), Mr. Ekoi Obono-Obla, concerning his altercations with ICPC, caught my attention.

As a result of what I have garnered from the media since last year, when the case of corruption and abuse of office was first levelled against Obono-Obla by ICPC, I find the recent media onslaught launched against the Commission by the ex-SPIP boss rather repulsive, and I can’t seem to make any sense out of it.

ICPC claimed to have carried out detailed investigations into the activities of Obono-Obla as SPIP head and has incriminating evidence against him. The Commission alleged that Obla cannot lay any claim to his law degree because it was obtained with a fake West African Examination Council (WAEC) result. ICPC also said that the ex-SPIP boss went outside his brief to prosecute corruption cases, and also blackmailed government agencies to fund his private interests.

One would think that the suspended SPIP chairman, a law advocate and head of a panel to tackle corruption, would come out clean by clearing the allegations levelled against him. Instead, he resorted to media propaganda to cast aspersions on the Commission for performing its statutory duties.


As a result, the Commission was said to have extended invitations to him to clear his name. While it was gathered that some of his colleagues facing investigations had responded to ICPC, Obono-Obla remained elusive.

Consequently, he was declared wanted by ICPC for his failure to appear before it to answer questions bordering on allegations of abuse of office and the falsification of admission records.

One would think that the suspended SPIP chairman, a law advocate and head of a panel to tackle corruption, would come out clean by clearing the allegations levelled against him. Instead, he resorted to media propaganda to cast aspersions on the Commission for performing its statutory duties.

In fact, Mr. Obono-Obla has gone so far as to insinuate that the ICPC chairman, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, sees him as a rival because, according to him, he was investigating coruption cases that both ICPC and EFCC could not investigate; hence, the reason for his persecution.

This reasoning couldn’t be more pedestrian and laughable, considering the fact that there is no meeting point for the two. While Obono-Obla had headed a panel, ICPC and EFCC are creations of extant laws with wide powers to prosecute corruption cases in Nigeria. Why would the ICPC boss consider Mr. Obono-Obla a rival? The fight against corruption is not only for the ICPC alone, and the Commission had always welcomed collaborations with both private and government agencies.

ICPC is also known to always operate within the ambit of its enabling law and would not venture into any case outside the scope of its jurisdiction. It has been reported that it usually transfers cases outside its purview to the appropriate agencies.
If, as Obono-Obla claims, he is being persecuted for performing his responsibility dutifully, why then would he, who as hunter, only a few months ago, was tracking people who had helped themselves to the commonwealth, suddenly become the hunted?

In many of the interviews he had granted in both the print and electronic media, Mr. Obono-Obla had alluded to the fact that no allegation has been proven against him. If that is the case, why doesn’t he come out of hiding to clear his name, instead of resorting to meaningless accusations and vuvuzela journalism?


It does not even make any sense to me why a person who claims he has no case to answer and who only a moment ago was confident and militant in carrying out his tasks, suddenly appear subdued and sombre like some rain-drenched-chicken to the extent of going into hiding?

It is therefore pointless, unfounded, and even laughable that a lawyer of his standing, would be whipping up such baseless sentiments as a defence. In fact, it is the height of naivety and even gullibility on the part of the defunct SPIP chairman to think anyone would just accept this “cock-and-bull” story from him.

In many of the interviews he had granted in both the print and electronic media, Mr. Obono-Obla had alluded to the fact that no allegation has been proven against him. If that is the case, why doesn’t he come out of hiding to clear his name, instead of resorting to meaningless accusations and vuvuzela journalism?

On the claim that no invitation letter was served on him, again, with due respect, it appears his denial is very far from the truth. My findings indicate that he was duly served letters through the Office of the Solicitor-General of the Federation and his law firm. These offices were said to have acknowledged receipt of the notices of service.

It is therefore in the interest of justice and Mr. Obono-Obla’s integrity to come forward and clear himself of these allegations.

At least ICPC has remained consistent in its message to Obono-Obla, and the Commission’s spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa, has at various times said that ICPC only wants the ex-SPIP boss to appear before it to answer a number of questions. Nothing more, nothing less. Moreover, Mr. Obono-Obla does not need to hide in the dark and keep screaming out his innocence when he could take full advantage of the laws of the land, appear before ICPC to clear his name, as the Commission does not have powers to convict him. He can always have his time in court.

Mawibe Sogan, a social commentator, writes in from Abuja.