Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) underscored the importance of adhering to the federal character principle in the appointment of chairpersons for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). Falana emphasized the necessity of regional diversity, highlighting that individuals from the same geopolitical zone should not occupy both positions.
During an interview on Channels TV, Falana asserted, “If you are going to have the EFCC and the ICPC, the heads cannot come from the same zone.” He further commented on the qualifications of the newly appointed EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukoyede, emphasizing his extensive experience within the agency, serving as the Chief of Staff to the EFCC Chairman from 2016 to 2018 and subsequently as the Secretary to the Commission from 2018 to 2023, amassing 22 years of relevant experience.
While Falana defended Olukoyede’s capabilities, citing his previous roles within the agency, he also highlighted the need for adherence to the Federal Character Commission Act and Section 14 of the constitution, emphasizing the requirement for diverse appointments across regions.
President Bola Tinubu’s appointment of Olukoyede as the EFCC Chairman in October 2023 has drawn criticism from various legal experts and analysts, questioning his qualifications for the position. However, Falana’s perspective focused on the need for regional balance in Nigeria’s leadership of critical anti-corruption agencies.
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