‘Buhari no send!’
ANTI-CORRUPTION campaign! It is more about revelations and whistle-blowing at the moment. Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State who chaired a special committee of the National Economic Council (NEC) has been speaking a lot about the plundering of the nation’s economy under the Jonathan administration.
He says “if Nigerians know what these people did, they will be stone them to death.” He had seemingly declared a personal war against former finance minister and coordinating minister for the Economy Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
President Mohammadu Buhari this month named a seven-man presidential advisory committee on Anti-corruption chaired by Professor Itse Sagey, a constitutional lawyer and social activist.
It is a body of intellectuals who serving as a think-tank that with strategizing on how to go about the campaign. Whistle-blowing revelations Based on allegation of fraud against chairman of Police Service Commission (PSC) Sir Mike Okiro by Aaron Kasse, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission (ICPC) investigated Okiro, a former Inspector-General of Police (IG) and ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s security committee chairman.
The ICPC found from the investigation that a balance of 133 million out of N350 million the PSC received from the federal government for staff training and monitoring of police personnel during the 2015 general election was unspent for the purpose.
The agency ordered the amount returned to the federal treasury through the ICPC recovery account at First City Monument Bank. It directed the workers who were paid two-way return tickets and airport fares within the Federal Capital Territory and states close to Abuja during the monitoring exercise to return the to treasury N11.7 million.
The ICPC investigation report signed by its chairman Ekpo Ita found no dishonest dealings on Okiro but “issues administrative in nature” and wrote: “The investigation has not revealed any of act criminal infraction against the person of sir….”
That seems to have ended a war, which had set-off a storm first in the social media taken up by sections of regular publications. Dr Cairo Ojuigbo, last week blow whistle alleging a N2.2 billion Centenary contract fraudulent dealing against Anyim Pius Anyim, secretary to the government of the Federation under Jonathan.
The social media has been hard at it again on this one and some sections of the regular media also took it on. Mean while, Anyim, a lawyer and former Senate President has reportedly gone to court to fight for his innocence.
A word with the President Buhari must not allow the anti-corruption campaign to degenerate into empty braggadocio intended merely to present a dynamic face for the administration, while falling below the passions of the moment.
Former leaders and their acolytes have to be thoroughly investigated before anything is brought out into the public. The country’s acute poverty and social decay is there for all to see.
Persons found to corruptly enrich themselves have to be prosecuted and jailed for the anti-corruption campaign, one of the three principal concerns of the administration (others are security and economy), to acquire the right punch.
The campaign rhetoric, “no hiding place for looters” is looking like an old, idle threat to politicians who are making jest of it behind the back of the government, some calling it a farce.
Needful retooling or redirection Renewed firestorm has ensued. This follows former Head of State General Abdulsalami Abubakar – led National Peace Committee, now called National Peace Council’s visit to Buhari at Aso Villa.
Jonathan had himself paid a secret visit to the seat of federal power before the committee. Jonathan’s visit got leaked to the press. The two visits at a time of series of startling revelations of alleged sleaze against senior government officials of the Jonathan administration has served especially in the social media to make it all look like e don beg me of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti during the Obasanjo/Yar’Adua military era.
Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah is receiving a surprise backlash from his initial statement on behalf of the Peace Committee; to explain the advice to Buhari on how to go about the crusade – ensuring due process and the need for the government to give urgent attention to good governance – as it has been publicly reduced to begging the President to spare Jonathan.
Kukah went on TV later to clarify his statement but ended up harvesting a lot more criticism to his person and nembers of the committee.
The Catholic priest is seeing worse abuses. It seems now that the Buhari anti-corruption would be incomplete without investigating the Catholic bishop of Sokoto. Sections of the media alleged he has almost completed two mansions; not at his home state Kaduna or in his Zango-Kataf community but in Sokoto.
Meanwhile Buhari then said he would probe only the Jonathan administration. Again, against the background of another visit to the Villa by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, allegations of Buhari operating with an “invisible government” surfaced.
Calls to extend probe to former military rulers are increasing. On their part, politicians would seem to seize the initiative to turn the war into mere partisan frolics, virtually daring the President to, more or less, take the crusade the whole hog and be prepared to face the music himself!
Leaders of defeated PDP both at the federal level and at the state where the APC swept 22 governorship slots to PDP 14, are rather sounding louder than those of the APC in urging Buhuri on with the crusade.
The PDP seeming enthusiasm about the campaign looks more like saying to the President: can you dare to go all the way! Or can you really try it! In Lagos, Chief Bode George, a PDP leader from the South West, called on the President to probe Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, with whom along with Buhari are chieftains of the APC and Mr Babatunde Raji Fashola whom Tinubu single-handedly made his successor as Governor of Lagos State.
The camps of Tinubu and those of his successor are currently locked back in Lagos in a controversy over a government-owned website allegedly built with N72 million.
Fashola seems to enjoy direct contact to the President. In the South West, new-breed politicians of the APC like Fashola and former Goveror of Ekiti State, who are operating close to Buhari at Aso Villa, are called “rebels.”
An atmosphere, which is kind of antithetical to serious an Anti-Corruption war seems now to have come over the corruption war all of a sudden. One commentator tagged it as being reduced to “anti-corruption-war Nigerianna!” Anti-corruption: Buhari and Murtala Mohammed To begin his crusade against public corruption, the late military Head of State General Murtala Ramat Mohammed did something that is now clear no leader of today’s Nigeria can, or would do. He brought out all his personal assets and properties to make a public show of them.
He returned to government those he had illegally acquired, principally the much-advertised spoils of the Nigerian Civil War fought between 1967 and 1970, thus becoming the first Nigerian leader to publicly forfeit assets to government.
His anti-corruption campaign promptly received widespread acclaim and public support. When he descends on the then civil and public services, moving for drastic salaries reduction, down-sizing and the fishing out of ghost workers, he had the Nigerian people, perhaps, apart from those affected by the cleansing, behind him. Unfortunately, he was killed in a military putsch six months later.
His old, modest family house in Kano and another at Ogudu Lagos occupied by his aging, florist wife, Mrs. Ajoke Mohammed, are there to see.
During his first coming as a military Head of State, Buhari also waged an anti-corruption war. His disdain for corrupt politicians and his ascetic lifestyle came open from then.
But now, it is democracy and about due process. Buhari cannot be fairly accused of lacking the will to take charge for governance or execute an anti-corruption campaign.
If there were any doubts about his ability to give it his firm best, the manner his wife, Aisha, was taken off government direct activities save playing supportive roles shows a leader in-charge.
Her public carriage since the President’s assumption of office, which immediately brought in a needed dignity devoid of misplaced flamboyance to the ceremonial office of wife of the President (First Lady) shows that clearly.
At first, about seven weeks after last May 29 inauguration of the administration, without the President showing any inclination to appoint his principal aides and public officials, the pidgin expression “go-slow” cut through, from the streets, and in commentaries, especially the social media. It depicted slow-pace in take-off of the government.
Some commentators called the President “Baba go-slow” while others went far to employ the emotive but propagandist tag, “clueless.”
That one had cut wild free in usage during Buhari’s predecessor Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s administration. Then, things began to firm up a bit.
More from Buhari’s body language: most of the masses of the people in the streets saw it as “Buhari no send” a crisp pidgin like “Baba go-slow” without the latter’s remonstrative connotation.
It signifies acclaim and public relief over modest improvements of social condition.
The President’s seeable firmness, characterized by a slow, deliberately matching pace mixed with saying little or sometimes saying nothing was being admired instead. The President went to America.
There, he made it public for the first time that he would constitute his cabinet in September. He annoyed people back home who felt that Buhari must avoid the habit of Nigeria leaders going overseas to make statements they should rather bring out at home as it seems one of their ways of undermining their electorate.
But most liked Buhari’s telling the American public and especially its prominent leaders like federal law-makers to their faces and without water in his mouth that gay marriage is not approved by Nigerian laws.
His image of “Buhari no send” grew. He returns to the surprise total disappearance of fuel queues; motorists get into the petrol stations to take whatever quantities they desire, and at the official 87 kobo per litre and leave.
Improvements show in power supply to a modest relief of the masses of Nigerian people, and without Buhari as much as saying anything apart from later doing one or two joggings around the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and Power Holdings Corporation of Nigeria (PHCN).
As the government gets closer to clocking its first 100 days of piloting the country’s affairs, not much is heard these days about the controversy-infested fuel Subsidy as in the past, except the never-relenting debate whether or not to fully deregulate the downstream oil sector.
But the story is not as rosy on the side of fighting corruption, a critical package under the newly minted three-months-plus old Buhari administration. .