The sterling leadership of Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, OFR as chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), which began in 2019 has come to an end following President Bola Tinubu’s approval of his request to proceed on pre-end of tenure leave.
Prof. Owasanoye, SAN, OFR (middle) flanked by his wife, Mrs. Funsho Owasanoye (L) and Attorney–General and Minister of Justice, Chief Lateef Fagbemi (R)
A former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Jigawa State, Dr. Musa Aliyu has been announced by President Tinubu to take over from Professor Owasanoye, whose tenure expires February 4, 2024.
While Professor Owasanoye was at the helm of affairs, ICPC recorded tremendous successes in strengthening the government’s efforts to curb corruption by initiating many policies, initiatives, and programmes. He also introduced a lot of reforms that have transformed the Commission and re-positioned it to better fight corruption.
To acknowledge his outstanding performance while in office, a group of friends and associates as well as senior members of staff of ICPC recently held a dinner for him at Ibeto Hotel, Abuja.
Top on the list of those who attended the dinner included Lateef Fagbemi, Attorney-General and Minister of Justice; Justice Benedict Kanyip, President of National Industrial Court; Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, incoming ICPC Chairman; Mr. Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, President Nigeria Bar Association (NBA); Dr. Kole Shettima, Director, African Regional Office, MacArthur Foundation; Prof. Babatunde Babawale, Provost ACAN; and Ambassador Godwin Adama, former Consular General to Johannesburg.
Others present were Sir Folu Olamiti, former Resident Consultant to ICPC; Mr. Segun Adeniyi, Chairman, ThisDay Editorial Board; Pastor Seyi Malomo former Chaplain, Aso Rock; Mr. Ade Ipaye, former Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, VP’s Office; Ambassador Adeyemi Dipeolu, former Special Adviser to the President, VP’s Office; Mr. Laolu Akande, former Senior Special Assistant, Media & Publicity to the President, VP’s Office, and many others.
Prof. Owasanoye in a handshake with Dr. Musa Adamu Aliyu, the incoming Chairman of ICPC, while the Secretary to the Commission, Mr. Clifford Okwudiri Oparaodu looks on
It was a night to remember for Professor Owasanoye as he received a load of accolades from invited personalities in particular from honourable Minister, Lateef Fagbemi who said that “Professor Owasanoye came to ICPC, he saw and conquered. He is somebody you will know where he stands on any issue…he doesn’t know how to pretend”.
“I owe him a personal gratitude. When I became the Attorney–General of the Federation, I looked around, how do I navigate this difficult terrain, especially with respect to anti-corruption matters? In the case of P&ID, I leveraged my relationship with Prof. (Owasanoye) and he gave me very useful advice. I went to Mr. President and said, this is the way I believe we should go.”
On his part, Justice Benedict Kanyip, President of the National Industrial Court said, “Our part crossed in 1995 when I joined the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, and from the day one, I was calling him chairman. Little did I know that he would end up as chairman indeed…”
Mr. Yakubu Maikyau, SAN, President Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) (L); Dr. Kole Shettima, Director, African Regional Office, MacArthur Foundation (R)
In his response, Professor Owasanoye said “It is very physiologically, emotionally and physically draining when everyday, you have to decide whether someday should be arrested or not arrested, whether somebody should be investigated or not investigated, whether D’Ops (Director of Operations) should go and raid somebody’s house at 2 am. It can be psychologically draining.
“I am very grateful to the government, and to the President for his indulgence and the support. I have had the opportunity to share my thoughts with him and the people very close to him. I do not doubt that Dr Aliyu can sustain the tempo. Dr Aliyu is a younger fit and meets the expectations that we all have”.
He extoled the staff of the Commission saying, “It is the celebration of the achievement of the staff who were told, ‘this is the way to go’, and they followed”.
A cross section of some staff of the Commission at the event
He said his leaving ICPC was an opportunity for him to continue to use his God-given talents for himself and humanity.