According to human rights lawyer Femi Falana, it is illegal and contrary to the federal character principle if the chairmen of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offenses Commission and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission are appointed from the same geopolitical zone.
The statement was made by the Senior Advocate of Nigeria during a live appearance on Channels Television's Sunrise Daily program on Monday.
Falana argues that the ICPC chairman should be elected from the southern region if the EFCC chairman is from the north.
Both Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye of the ICPC and Mr. Ola Olukoyede, the newly appointed Chairman of the EFCC, are from the South West geopolitical zone.
Falana criticized Tinubu for appointing Olukoyede, who like the current ICPC chairman is also from the South West, as chairman of the EFCC. “There is no problem; The only issue that has been raised that needs to be considered by the government is that in this country we have the Federal Character Commission Act, and also under Article 14 of the Constitution, appointments must reflect federal character,” Falana said.
“It is not acceptable that the heads of the EFCC and the ICPC are from the same zone. One should be assigned to the North and one to the South if there are two positions available in the civil service. Two must go south and two must go north if there are four. If there are six, you must visit each geopolitical zone. In modern Nigeria, that is the law. “
“Although Olukoyede is extremely qualified to lead the EFCC, Falana stated that he is uneasy about the fact that the leaders of both anti-graft agencies are from the South-West geopolitical zone.
“That is why I find it uncomfortable that the leaders of the EFCC and ICPC are from the same region. All things considered, Mr. Ola Olukoyede is uniquely qualified to lead the EFCC. Section 2 of the EFCC contains relevant provisions which my colleagues who criticized the appointment failed to examine, he argued.
Of note, amid controversy, President Bola Tinubu appointed Mr. Olukoyede as the new Chairman of the EFCC on October 12, 2023.
Mr Olukoyede's appointment came after the controversial dismissal of Abdulrasheed Bawa, the embattled former Chairman of the EFCC, who was arrested and suspended by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 14, 2023 over allegations of abuse of power.