Few days ago, the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to extend his anti-corruption fight by probing those that sponsored his election to reveal their sources of income.
Fayose raised questions on the source of the funds that were used finance Buhari’s campaign saying most of the funds were stolen from public coffers as his sponsors are not known to have done any other jobs apart from holding juicy public offices.
According to Fayose, “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.
Raising a moral question, Fayose said, “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.”
Fayose faulted the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption drive, describing it as mere noise-making, witch-hunt and diversionary tactic to hoodwink the public into overlooking the seeming failure of the government to deliver on its electoral promises.
His words, “If President Mohammadu 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, location of which he has identified. It is when he is able to bring back the money that he should make announcements of recovered funds.
“You don’t announce a process to the public; rather, you announce the results because that is what is of interest to the people. It is like you are announcing that you know where armed robbers reside, won’t they change their location?
“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, dollars 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 and make noise about fighting corruption.
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,” Fayose said.
It is believed in several quarters that Fayose may have been provoked to challenge President Buhari to probe those that sponsored his campaign by the frightening revelation by a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and incumbent governor of Bauchi state, Mohammed Abubakar, that the immediate past governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi funded 80 per cent of the APC campaign during the last general election.
Speaking in an live interview on Sunrise Daily on Channels Television, Governor Abubakar, who was innocently trying to appreciate the role played by Amaechi during the last election, unwittingly confirmed the allegation by the PDP and other Rivers State stakeholders, who had earlier accused Rotimi Amaechi of using state funds and borrowing from financial institutions on behalf of Rivers State to fund the APC. The revelation by the APC governor is yet to be denied by either Amaechi, who was the Director General of the Buhari Campaign Organisation or the leadership of the APC.
While Nigerians are still awaiting the belated response from the APC, another startling revelation came from the United States of American where CNN’s Amampour Live reported that Amaechi stacked the whopping sum of over $757 million in a foreign US Bancorp/Minnesota account.
Following the CNN revelation of money that was alleged to be stashed in the United States by Amaechi, the River State chapter of the PDP picked up the issue and challenge Amaechi to come out of hiding and respond to avalanche of corruption charges against him.
The State chairman of the PDP, Felix Obuah in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Jerry Needam said the degree and number of fraudulent acts allegedly initiated and committed by the former Governor are shocking and can no longer be glossed over.
The state PDP chairman emphasised that it will be foolhardy for any responsible government not to take the mind blowing fraudulent charges from both local and international scenes seriously.
Before the revelation by the Bauchi State governor and CNN, a non-governmental organisation, the Integrity Group has also petitioned to President Buhari as well as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, respectively of various cases of alleged criminal breach of trust, unlawful self enrichment and conversion of over N70 billion belonging to Rivers State government by former Governor Amaechi among others.
This is aside of over $105 million, amounting to about N21 billion which the PDP said Amaechi hurriedly transferred from the sale of the Power Assets Proceeds Account with the Access Bank into accounts of three private companies namely: Advante Consulting and Management Company, Result Import Experts Co and Capital Index Ltd, all with the same business address at 25 Trans-Amadi Road, Port Harcourt.
According to the party, there was also another unlawful payment to and fraudulent conversion of N4, 633,440,000.00 by Clinoriv Specialist Hospital and Leisure Limited and unlawful enrichment of Messrs Collect Nig Limited, allegedly used as a conduit pipe to the tune of N1, 505,895,072.00, to defraud the State government under the guise of consultancy by the former governor.
Another disturbing aspect of these controversial transfers is that the monies were moved into the accounts just days before the APC Presidential Primaries in Lagos on December 10, 2014. It was also alleged that the Accountant General of Rivers State as well as the Directors and Permanent Secretaries in the Ministries of Power and Finance claimed that they knew nothing about this particular transaction.
The party therefore wants President Buhari to stop shielding Rotimi Amaechi and rather encourage him to come out of his hiding and face all these corruption allegations against him if his anti corruption crusade is genuine, and not targeted at perceived political enemies.
Concerned indigenes of Rivers State took these allegations a step further by producing documents, evidence and facts which show that about $105 million was actually moved from the Rivers State’s Power Sales Assets account with Access Bank to a number of companies who interestingly share a common business address.
The various groups prayed the Buhari Government to ensure that whatever monies the past administration siphoned from the coffers of Rivers State should be retrieved urgently and all those who conspired to perpetrate the raping of Rivers State in such a manner should all be brought to book immediately.
Watchers of the unfolding drama in Rivers State are of the view that the APC administration must be in dilemma on how to tackle the alleged graft by one of its leading member and sponsor.
The Buhari administration came into office on the strength of the assurances he gave Nigerians that he will tackle corruption squarely. The President went further to reassure the international community during his visit to the United States that not even members of the APC will be spared in the anti-graft war.
The EFCC has already arrested some aides of former President Goodluck Jonathan ostensibly over corruption investigation but the arrest and probe appears to be lopsided.
The fact that almost everyone that is under probe is either an aide of the former president or a member of the PDP has led complaints by the national leaders of PDP that the President Buhari is using the anti-graft agency and other security organisations to hound and witch-hunt its members and other perceived opponents of the new administration.
By happenstance the former President rightly predicted before he left office that his ministers and aides will be hounded down and persecuted by his successor and he warned them to be ready for the worst.
Jonathan made the warning during a thanksgiving and farewell service held in his honour at the Cathedral Church of Advent, Gwarinpa, Life Camp Abuja.
Jonathan’s words, “And for the ministers and aides that serve with me, I sympathise with them, because they will be persecuted and they must be ready for that persecution. I always remember something from late Tai Solarin, he said, ‘I wish you what I wish myself every year, may you have hard times this year, may your ways be rough’. I wish my ministers what I wish myself, they will have the hard times, may our ways will be rough.”
Like most well meaning Nigerians, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan, had reasons to advise President Buhari to carry out his anti-corruption fight in a way that will not be seen as selective. Cardinal Onaiyekan said that fight against corruption can only succeed where there is transparency, just and honesty.
He said, “This challenge obviously lies squarely on those who now have the power to rule our nation. I want to beg them to resist the temptation to rub in the plaques of defeat on the losers and try to avoid policies of persecution, some even talk of execution of losers.”
Political observers are of the view that the interest of President Buhari and the nation will be better served if the administration will make its anti-corruption war holistic to disabuse the mind of Nigerians that it is not a ploy to hound opponents and weaken the opposition party.
The global community is keeping a tab on the development in the country and unless the administration exhibits transparency and commitment not to shield any corrupt person irrespective of the political party affiliation, the romance between Buhari and foreign leaders he is banking on for assistance may be short-lived.
The Americans that denied Nigeria access to military equipment to tackle Boko Haram over allegation that the military were breaching the fundamental rights of some Nigerians will have another excuse not to fulfil the pledges they made to President Buhari during his visit to the United States.
Undoubtedly, if the Americans can have alibi not to fulfil their
promises to Buhari, they will likely lobby the other G7 nations to ignore the wish list Buhari sent to them.