By- Samuel Ajayi
“If President Mohammadu Buhari knew he wanted to fight corruption when if he got to power, why then did he allow obviously stolen money to be used to fund his campaigns?”
I was the one who asked a very senior colleague of mine this question shortly after Buhari became president and there was this talk that he was coming to jail anybody who stole even one piece of meat from his wife’s soup pot! It was those giddy days of governmental exuberance people like us knew was all chicanery.
The current furore over the gift to Justice Ademaola during the certificate saga of the president, to me, is absolutely unnecessary. And I will tell you why. Anyone who thinks this government is fighting corruption needs head examination. First, corruption is not only PERSONAL but INSTITUTIONAL. You don’t fight it by concentrating on the individual alone. The moment you focus on your opponents and those from opposition party, you have lost the plot even before the play starts.
The most glaring indictment on Buhari’s anti-corruption credentials was the haste and shamelessness with which David Babachir Lawal, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, was hurriedly exonerated by the Attorney-General of the Federation’s ‘committee’.. Babachir not only used his companies to take contracts running into billions of naira from the IDP funds, he was also signing the cheques of the companies till September last year against all known provisions of public service procedures. He claimed he had resigned but he was till signing cheques. He must think we are all dunces. And to show a clear lack of personal integrity, the funds from which the contracts were awarded were DIRECTLY under his office!
What of the chief of staff to the president, Abba Kyari? Or the secret recruitments in the Nigerian Immigration Service and the CBN? What of the careful removal of the name of the current minister of the interior, Dambazzau, from the arms deal papers? Yet, this was the chief of army staff when these procurements were made. Or the current army chief himself? A serving soldier whose total salary from the date of recruitment is not up to N300million yet, bought houses worth over $2millin in Dubai and some whose heads have turned backwards said it was from his savings. May be Andrew Yakubu deserves our apologies!
All I have listed above happened under a government that came to power promising to clean the Augean stable. I have always insisted you cannot fight a system that produced you. The president, hard pressed for funds for his campaign, expanded the horizon of his political association. Those he once kept a safe distance from became his buddies. The monies rolled in while he turned the blind eye. Even someone paid the N27million for his nomination form. The source of these monies mattered less with eyes fixed on the prize: the presidency!
Therefore, why should we be surprised if the same president’s lawyer admitted giving a ‘gift’ to a justice handling a case the president was a principal party? Unfortunately, the same government nearly finished Ricky Tarfa for same ‘act of giving’.
A begi, second bass (not base!) joor…