TURNING MALAMI INTO NIGERIA’S POLITICAL SCAPE-GOAT

Abubakar Malami, SAN, the current Attorney General of the federation and Minister of Justice is always in the news. Painfully, the comments on the Minister’s performance are usually fault-finding. The latest is a report which says he has distributed expensive cars to some of his supporters, ostensibly to facilitate their support for his quest to become the next governor of his home state – Kebbi, Northwest Nigeria. For this reason, many analysts, critics, political opponents and their paid commentators have accused the Minister of corruption with the argument that only a corrupt political office-holder can afford huge sums for the purchase of a fleet of cars to be distributed to supporters. Bearing in mind that empowerment of political supporters is one of the major things happening nationwide now, it is hard to fathom the mischief in Malami’s participation in it.
 
Thus, one does not have to be the Minister’s supporter to see that he is deliberately isolated for condemnation over a common trend in the political landscape of Nigeria. Everyone knows how huge the cost of contesting elections in Nigeria has become – a development that cannot not be traced to the current political actors, let alone only one of them. While some politicians are distributing vehicles, many others are distributing various other items whose volume easily exceed the cost of the total number of vehicles distributed on behalf of aspirant Malami. It is therefore unfair to chastise only the Minister.

Another evidence of bias against him is the refusal of his critics to listen to the explanation that the vehicles were donated by his friends akin to how other aspirants have received donations both in cash and in kind from friends, family members and associates. If anyone doubts the source of such donation, it ought to be across board.
 
It has also been suggested that huge funds have accrued to the office of the Attorney General because the Minister and his aides have been operating the Ministry as a corruption centre. Some media reports have even attributed what they called the recent siege by the EFCC on the office to the fact that the anti-corruption agency had become disillusioned by the excesses of the Ministry. Meanwhile some people have already accepted the verdict without verifying from the anti-corruption agency if it had in fact attempted such a siege. Some commentators are convinced that the addition of Francis Atuche a recently convicted Bank executive among those presented for clemency was because the office of the Attorney General was heavily bribed to entertain such an unhealthy compromise. These arguments are infantile because the office of the Attorney General can at best exercise the mandate of compiling a list of applications for clemency. The office cannot by whatever imagination influence which applicant will be successful in a process which passes through several stages to the Council of State.
 
Whereas no less than three other Ministers have opted to not resign from office before participating in the coming party primaries, Abubakar Malami seems to be the only one that people cherish to condemn for exercising the option only because some powerful haters have chosen to scrutinize only what Malami does or declines to do. Such critics have refused to realize that Malami and other Ministers in the same school of thought on the subject of when to resign from office are entitled to the type of political risks they wish to take. It will also be recalled that Malami has been severally held liable not only for what the executive branch of government does, even the decision of the Judiciary that a part of the new Electoral Act is unconstitutional is still the fault of Malami. Haba!!

The current publicly declared ambition of Abubakar Malami SAN is to become the governor of his state. The only persons qualified to constitute the relevant electorate are made up of two groups, party members in the case of primaries and registered voters in the state in the case of the governorship election. They are in essence the only ones at this point in time that can determine who would win the next governorship election in the state. Those who constitute themselves into political commentators on electoral matters in Nigeria as a whole should kindly leave Malami to grapple with the dispositions of Kebbi voters.

Femi Ajayi
Spokesman
Malami’s Governorship Support Group (MGSG)

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