The most selling point of General Muhammadu Buhari’s campaign promises when he was canvassing for votes for the 2015 Presidential election was to put an to corruption in Nigeria.
Nigeria was said to be “fantastically corrupt”, which was responsible for her stunted political and economic growth. The people were then told that only the Buhari presidency would cure Nigeria of this malaise and set the country on the path of greatness.
Going by past records, Buhari was presented as an austere, incorruptible, and no nonsense former military head of state who would least tolerate corruption or corrupt practices in any shape or from.
Thus, when it was announced that Buhari had won the presidency, many Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief that the country’s problems would soon be over.
When then President Buhari assumed the mantle of political leadership, he used the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC), to begin to harass, intimidate, clamp down and hound into detention past political office holders, aimed at forcing them to disgorge their ill gotten wealth.
Ironically, as Jesus would say of the Pharisees, while Buhari was beholding the moth in the eyes of other people, he failed to see the log in his own eyes. In other words, while Buhari was busy recovering loots from operators of the previous administration, a lot of sleazes were also going on under his very nose. A number of instances can attest to this.
With Buhari’s war against corruption, Mr. James Babchir Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) stole N223 million belonging to the Internally Displaced People (IDP). Buhari feigned ignorance until the Nigerian Senate raised alarm. He still ignored this. Then, there was public outcry. Grudgingly, Buhari told Lawal to go home and enjoy his loot. No arrest, no prosecution.
With Buhari’s war against corruption, Abba Kyari, Buhari’s Chief of Staff, was alleged to have helped himself with N500 million MTN bribe. Buhari closed his ears to it.
With Buhari’s war against corruption, Gen. Turkur Brutai, Buhari’s Chief of Army Staff, a civil servant, was alleged to have owned two mansions in Dubai. Buhari never bothered to investigate this.
With Buhari’s war against corruption, Abdulasheed Maina. a fugitive former pensions boss who was dismissed by the previous administration for stealing billions of naira pensions fund, was secretly smuggled back into the country and reinstated into the civil service. When the deal was bursted, the man disappeared into the thin air. Buhari said he would investigate this, including those who reinstated Maina into the civil service. but never did.
With Buhari’s war against corruption, $44 billion belonging to the Nigeria Intelligence Agency, was found at an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos. How did the money come there and is the owner? Nigerians have not been told.
With Buhari’s war against corruption, Makatari Baru, Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), awarded N20 billion contract without reference to the board of the corporation. Buhari shut his eyes to it.
With Buhari’s war against corruption, Professor Usman Yusuf, Executive Secretary of National Insurance Health Scheme who was was suspended by the Health Minister, Professor Issac Adewole, on allegation of N919 million fraud, was ordered to be reinstated by the Presidency when investigations had not been concluded.
These are just few of the high profile cases, not to talk of numerous other corrupt practises involving other political office holders and civil servants in several ministries, departments and agencies across the country.
Do we talk of that of the police? Theirs is an already established one. Those on the roadblocks will even volunteer to give you change if your money is in a higher denomination.
In other words, almost three years of Buhari’s war against corruption, bribery and corruption is an open game in Nigeria.
It is therefore not surprising that the Transparency International would come out with a verdict that corruption is worsening in Nigeria, in spite of President Buhari’s so-called war against corruption.
According to the corruption perceptions index for 2017 just released by Transparency International, Nigeria occupied 148th position, as against 136th position occupied by the country in 2016, out of 180 countries ranked by the organization, thus dropping 12 places, implying a worsening situation.
Said Transparency International generally: “This year’s Corruption Perceptions Index highlights that majority of the countries are making little or no progress in ending corruption, while further analysis shows journalists and activists in corrupt countries are risking their lives every day in an effort to speak out”.
Where then is Buhari’s war against corruption?