Beware of Fake Friends – Osita Chidoka’s letter to new EFCC Boss

Former Minister of Aviation, Osita Benjamin Chidoka has warned the new Chairman of Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa to be wary of fake friends or risk being disgraced out of office.

Osita Chidoka said this in an open letter of advice he wrote to the Mr Bawa on his appointment as the new Chairman of the agency and urged him to tighten his belt to face the new challenge that will face him.

Chidoka who in the letter said the appointment was reminiscent of his appointment as FRSC commander at 35 in 2007 warned that Bawa will likely face challenges from familiar faces stressing that he may find it difficult to get absolute loyalty from more experienced colleagues in the agency.

” The first challenge you will face as a young man is the difficulty your direct reports who are older and more experienced than you will have taking orders from you. They will pledge their loyalty, laugh with you but will be bitter and rightly so.

He advised Bawa that “those who publicly try to belittle you or want to be the leaders of the opposition to you should be quickly excused from the organisation through transfer of service or termination if necessary. Do not try to convince or manage them. It won’t work.”

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“They will try to do two things. First, expose you to public ridicule as an intemperate and inexperienced young man by pushing you to make rash decisions. If that does not work, they will try to show you ineffectual, incapable of taking decisions, and always waiting for the Attorney-General to direct or run to him for cover. You can avoid both by establishing a universe of principles that guide you. Still sleep over decisions. Learn to use weekly management meetings to get free advice and guidance on issues you are not conversant with. Don’t be shy to ask questions. I always ask my staff, “What should I say?” before I appear on any media or official function. You are the leader, not omniscient.

“You are now Chief Executive. Past interactions and friendships should not cloud your actions. They may try to blackmail you. Don’t give in.  Abdulrasheed the investigator is not the same as Abdulrasheed the Chairman. Always remember that and make it clear to your colleagues. A new Sherriff is in town.

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He urged the new EFCC Boss to “quickly set up a team to review the commission’s mission and the journey so far and develop a corporate road map for the future,” adding that he should continually benchmark his work by “Measure, Monitor, Improve where necessary.

He said, “you have a decision to make, and history will guide you. How do you want to be remembered? I think you have an advantage of age, ICT knowledge, global training and on the job experience. I think you should embrace technology and work on digitising the commission you promised during your Senate clearance. Purge the commission of the police analogue and brute force mentality. Technology will make your investigating team productive and help in preventing corruption.

“Do not be frightened by the plight of your predecessors. Be bold. Be guided by facts and data. Don’t make media show when you have no evidence. Strike like the MET police or the Singapore Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, not the past Chairman’s unintelligent media posturing. Good investigating agencies don’t arrest people and start looking for evidence. Combine the boldness of Nuhu Ribadu and the meticulousness of DIG Lamorde as your guide.

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“Finally, the powers that be will use you. Be smart about how you go about it. Fairness is important. Use them too to get funding and support for your agency.

Chidoka urged him to use his position to intensify fight against corruption further stating that it (corruption) is at the root of the state failure staring Nigeria on the face.

Orient Daily recall that Bawa’s appointment came after President Muhammadu Buhari seeked Senate’s confirmation of Abdulrasheed Bawa as the substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday.

The appointment came seven months after Ibrahim Magu was suspended as the acting Chairman of the EFCC by the Buhari administration amidst allegations of gross misconduct.

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