OKECHUKWU JOMBO, writes that President Buhari’s anti corruption war is being subjected to integrity test which if it fails might also be his failure politically

FROM events recently
unfolding in the polity, President
Muhammadu Buhari’s anticorruption
crusade appears
to have taken off with several
arrests already being made, even
though some persons and groups
are very critical of the way it is
going.
Some observers have accused
him of using it only against
his political opponents. Ekiti
State Governor, Ayo Fayose in
particular believes he is not being
fair and according to him, “If
President Muhammadu Buhari
knows exactly where the stolen
funds are kept and who looted
the funds, he does not need all
these public announcements.
Rather, he should make public
names of the looters and bring
back the purported stolen
funds from the locations he has
identified. It is when he is able
to bring back the money that he
should make announcements of
recovered funds.”
Fayose, who spoke through
his Special Assistant on Public
Communications and News
Media, Lere Olayinka, said; “You
don’t announce a process to the
public. Rather, you announce
the results because it is what
interests the people. It is like
you are announcing that you
know where armed robbers
reside, won’t they change their
location?”
Speaking further, the governor
said; “What the All Progressives
Congress ,APC, spin-doctors
and their collaborators in the
Presidency are doing is simple. It
is such that when there is nothing
to tell the people as per the rising
Boko Haram attacks, Dollar and
other foreign currencies exchange
rates, petrol pump price and
other seeming failed promises
of the APC federal government,
they will accuse former President
Goodluck Jonathan and his men
of corruption, insult Peoples
Democratic Party, PDP, and make
noise about fighting corruption.
“President Buhari and his
men should however, know that
Nigeria of today is different from
that of 1983 and the system under which they are operating now is
also different,” he said.
Nigerians are watching and
unlike 1983, nothing can prevent
them from asking questions, which
they are already asking.”
While challenging President
Buhari to start the anti-corruption
fight from his party, Governor
Fayose said Nigerians know those
who sponsored President Buhari’s
election and are waiting for the
President to reveal their sources of
income.
“Some of those who sponsored
the President’s election have
not done any other jobs apart
from holding public offices. Yet,
they provided private jets and
funds with which the President
campaigned across the length and
breadth of Nigeria. He should let
Nigerians know where they got
money to buy private jets and the
several billions of naira spent on his
election.
“Mr President and his men
should know that these planned
efforts to brand PDP as a party
of corrupt people and suppress
the giant strides of the Jonathan
administration won’t work because
Nigerians know that APC is
peopled with more corrupt people
and the President must treat the
issue of corruption without looking
at political parties.
“No one sits with corruption to
fight corruption because as it is today, President Buhari is sitting
among corrupt people and he
must first extricate himself from
the comity of corruption that he is
before his anti-corruption stance
can be accorded respect.”
As if that was not enough, the
49-member Senate Caucus of the
PDP also kicked against Buhari’s
war against corruption, saying
the drive was a selective anti-graft
war that “lacks transparency and
fairness”.
Addressing newsmen at a press
conference, the PDP senators, led by
the Minority Leader of the Senate,
Godswill Akpabio, said the antigraft
war was mainly targeted at
opposition politicians.
The former governor of Akwa
Ibom State, currently being
investigated by the EFCC, noted
that there was no transparency in
the President’s effort to rid Nigeria
of corruption as the administration
was targeting its political
opponents.
The opposition senators however,
expressed support for Buhari’s
administration, saying they support
his efforts to change the country.
“But the PDP senate caucus notes
the crusade against corruption
undertaken by the APC-led federal
government and hereby declares
her support to rid Nigeria of
corruption. The caucus is not happy
with the current trend that seems
to suggest that the war against
falsified documents to support
APC candidates’ cases before
the tribunals. This is abominable
and unacceptable. Mr President
and all well-meaning Nigerians
must intervene to preserve the
independence of the tribunals
and that of INEC.
“The PDP senate caucus,
despite its formidable strength,
has resolved to offer only credible
opposition that would lead to
the building of a better Nigeria.
The caucus will give him all the
needed support to ensure his
success as president.”
Although he noted that the
government “is too young” to
be judged, Mr. Akpabio criticised
the method it was adopting
to recover stolen funds from
officials of the immediate past
administration.
“The money that has been
recovered should be put on the
pages of paper, and be shared to
states so that everyone can see,”
he said.
The former governor said the
senators resolved to make the
matter public as the president
was yet to act on the petition sent
to him by the National Working
Committee of the PDP over SSS’
interference in electoral matters
and litigations.
Mr. Akpabio therefore, urged
the President to treat Nigerians
equally.
In response to all the charges,
the presidency responded and
said anybody who was clean
should not fear.
So how would Buhari prosecute
this war that the ordinary man
on the street expects him to start
winning from day one and which
might define his presidency? He
must soberly reflect on the reality
he is inheriting and set very clear
objectives. He must approach
the fight with moral integrity
applying objective standards
in a principled and consistent
manner. Crime agencies must be
seen as independent, impartial
and objective. Heavy- handed
retributive approach alone can be
counterproductive and a multifaceted
approach that focuses on
prevention may be more fruitful.
corruption is
selective and
targeted at
PDP stalwarts
and states.
“ T h e
c u r r e n t
war lacks
transparency,
fairness to all
and appears
to be aimed
at political
adversaries,”
said the
M i n o r i t y
Leader.
The PDP
S e n a t o r s
f u r t h e r
condemned
the action of personnel of the State
Security Service,SSS, by hounding
government opponents, saying
security service also intimidated
electoral officials in Abia, Rivers
and Akwa Ibom States, controlled
by the PDP.
“It is on this ground that we
condemn, in particular, what is
happening in Akwa Ibom, Rivers
and Abia states where election
umpires are daily arrested, their
families and associates hounded,
and judicial officers involved in
election tribunals intimidated and
questioned using trumped up
petitions bordering on corruption.
“Yet, these officials were part of
the 2015 elections that produced
President Buhari, an election
adjudged to be generally free and
fair by the international community.
The PDP senate caucus is worried,
alarmed and shocked by the recent
development in our polity where
the DSS is now involved in electoral
matters.
“A situation where officials of
the Independent National Electoral
Commission, INEC, in Rivers,
Akwa Ibom and Abia states (all
PDP states) are daily being arrested,
detained and questioned on
politically motivated corruption
allegations is worrisome and spells
doom for our democracy unless the
trend is reversed.
“Reports reaching the caucus
have it that INEC officials are
being forced by the DSS to produce


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