FEMI ADEOTI COLUMN
It ought not to have been a surprise. It shouldn’t be. It must happen the way it’s happening. That is given. We have come to live with it.
For whatever reason, he is their focus. Some hail him but others elect to condemn him. That is nature playing out. Some simply choose to hate his uncanny guts. Of course, for the very wrong reason!
Some others instantly align with his vision and mission. They too have their good reason. That is why we are humans. Nobody can change that. It was in the beginning. It is now. And it will be in the ages to come.
He is clearly in the eye of the storm. All eyes, critical and mischievous, are on him. They are not leaving any stone unturned. And they are wickedly desperate, especially the mischief-makers among them.
Not to worry. They have met their perfect match in General Mohammed Buba Marwa. He is chairman/CEO, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
He is a retired infantry army general. The reason he is unperturbed, untroubled and undisturbed. He stoutly remains unmoved. He has seen it all in his chequered career; almost from all angles. What a man of many parts.
To his credit, he has held several command and staff appointments. His coming to the NDLEA is not by accident neither is it coincidental. He is just the precise peg in the exact hole. Nothing missing, nothing broken.
He came on board from a familiar terrain. So? He cannot be rubbished. He has the requisite background. He’s not teetered or tottered. He is flawlessly doing what he knows how to do the best. Distractions withstanding.
He crossed over to NDLEA. That was after serving as chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA), between 2018 and December 2020.
Marwa brought that template to the NDLEA and it is handsomely paying off. That is what is causing great discomfort in certain quarters. And they are ruthlessly fighting back.
Their tactics are dirty and deadly. They are equally mean in their mode of operation. NDLEA is physically and practically carrying the war to their enclaves. This they couldn’t believe nor imagine.
They detest his striking audacity. The courage, bravery and valour he deploys in his anti-drug war are like no other. They are thrown off balance.
So? Marwa and his NDLEA must be stopped by all means. That’s their resolve. They insist, this “rampage” must not stand. It must be collapsed fast. Time is not on their side. They need urgency in whatever they plot to do.
They considered many options, viable and unviable. They were in deep shit. They needed the quickest bailout. They were sinking and drowning at the same time. The burden was becoming heavier by the day.
These queer characters! They dread him like a plague. They loathe his nerves with the greatest disdain. To their dismay, the fear of Marwa is the beginning of their horror and sorrow.
And they are having the fear, horror and sorrow in great abundance. They have not seen anything. The worst is yet to come. They have no hiding place. Not even in the National Assembly.
They have a sole aim: To destroy whatever Marwa and his NDLEA stand for. And that, to them, is solid enough. With that determination, they hurriedly flooded their conclave.
It was a huge gathering for naughtiness, misdemeanour and outright pranks. They were ferocious and fierce in approach. The means justify the end, they reasoned out.
It was the battle of their life. They were armed with big lenses. And these came in different and funny shapes and shades.
Then the NDLEA’s books came handy to them. They jumped for joy. They confidently lay it bare on the table. With nostalgia, they desperately searched for loopholes. All to just spike and pin Marwa.
It was one self-imposed hectic search. They explored and exploited days and nights. In the process, they were traumatised with nightmares. Yet, they would not give up.
They dug deeper. They opened every page of the NDLEA books. Exasperation, vexation and anger set in. At the same time, they were in such an unimaginable hurry. Desperation was written all over them. Anguish, distress took the better part of them.
Fear of coming out empty-handed overwhelmed them. So, they settled for the ridiculous. They displayed gross pettiness and ineptitude.
They lacked the required tactics and finesse. What they did not have, they couldn’t have given.
To put Marwa on the nail, three deadly and unkind options were open to them: Attempt to take his life; Go after his reputation; Slow him down. By providence, they elected the last and relatively least difficult option. And that was their greatest undoing.
They hurriedly rolled out frivolous allegations against Marwa. These included unanswered queries, overspending, mismanagement and misappropriation. All bordered on corruption.
They unwisely chose to make do with superficial data. The figures they brandished have nothing to do with Marwa. Not even remotely. They were not clever by half. They “unearthed” issues long settled.
On that faulty stance, they approached the Senate. Sad enough, the senators took the allegations up with all seriousness. They caved in so easily, hook, line and sinker. How dare them!
Senator Matthew Urhoghide headed the pack. He practically led the onslaught. He’s chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts. The committee’s body language, utterances, actions and inactions gave it out.
In a jiffy, it uncontrollably churned out 11 queries. Sampler: “The agency overspent capital expenditures in 2015 by N12,986,372 on the renovation of Jigawa State Command and Osun State Command.”
One other query: “The sum of N43,228,750 was spent on renovation and purchase of five operational vehicles in Nasarawa State Command in 2015.”
In a nutshell, the alleged amount involved came to N467 million. Senate was forced to close its wobbling case still fumbling. And in deep frustration: “All the issues raised were brought to the attention of the chairman/chief executive, but no response was received from the agency.”
Urhoghide claimed Marwa shunned them. That he failed to appear before them because of his “shoddy” and “dirty” past.
But he was not given a breathing space. He was not allowed the luxury of coasting home unchallenged. His victory was cut short.
NDLEA put a lie to the senators’ claims. Its spokesman, Femi Babafemi, was tactical. He did it subtly. He wouldn’t want to haunt, hunt or hurt a fly. Yet, his message was not lost. It sunk to their stubborn skulls:
“I have checked through all the relevant channels within the agency and nobody is aware or has received any such invitation from the Senate Committee. I am, however, aware that the issues raised had been adequately addressed by the previous leadership of the agency long before the incumbent chairman/chief executive came into office.”
Gbam! That nailed it.
Of course, Marwa is not naïve nor nervous. The current experience did not come to him as a shocker. It couldn’t have. He was prepared for every bit of it.
He expected them to fight back on all fronts. But he never imagined they would be so unpolished and uncouth. They sheepishly fell in line. The reason he is elegantly taking it in his stride.
That aside, there are flaws and defects in the allegations. None, not one, has anything to do with Marwa. He couldn’t have responded. He couldn’t have honoured the Senate invitation. It was not meant for him in the first instance.
They were slothful. They did not do enough homework to drive their allegations. They searched the wrong way. And that is why they missed and mixed the point.
Marwa came on board in 2021. Issues and allegations raised revolved around 2015. Six clear years apart. Then, why the fuss? What’s their stress? Me too wonder aloud.
None of the allegations and claims could stand. And for very obvious reasons. They are facetious, fatuous and empty. They were dead on arrival.
So? They collapsed like a careless pack of loose cards. Thrashed. Fit only for the trash bin.