buhari_presidentBuhari’s “War on Corruption” and the Unasked Questions

Oluwaseyi Oduyela/Washington, DC

Throughout the electioneering campaign, candidate Muhammadu Buhari, now President Muhammadu Buhari did not hide his plan to fight corruption. He also believed that the best weapon to use is the Code of Conduct Bureau which was established by the military. So, the promise of N5000 for the unemployed youth, war on terrorism, and other social welfare issues, technically, were APC’s campaigns; not Buhari’s.

What Buhari did not say is that his war on corruption would be selective and sectional. It does not matter anyway as long as he’s fighting corruption and the constitution does not tell him who to arrest and not to arrest. All that matter is fighting corruption.

When he first arrested Sambo Dasuki, the charges against him were on arms dealing, because this won’t stick, it became the issue of money meant to fight Boko Haram. We have seen how Goodluck Jonathan’s government ran Nigeria, how military Generals, put the lives of their troops on the line for a piece of cake. This is seriously deplorable and at best a case of treason, because the diversion of money meant to fight war to protect the country against its enemies is considered threat to national security.

Buhari has been praised for fighting corruption because of this DasukiGate. The question unasked here is: Would the public have known anything like this if Dasuki had not threatened to sing on how Buhari won his votes in some northern states?

I know this question is unnecessary to some people. They are content with the DasukiGate. We should not ask question. If you ask questions, or challenge Buhari’s war on corruption, you must be corrupt or a friend of corrupt politicians or beneficiary of corruption. However, based on the premise that Buhari is upright, I think it is necessary to ask the morality of DasukiGate. Why did I raise this? It’s because it is related to other wars Buhari is fighting? What did Sambo Dasuki know that Buharians don’t want the public to know?

We also know that every government in Nigeria, local, state or federal spends state money for election. I am not sure if the Electoral Act forbids this or is silent on campaign spending. After the elections, I asked Buhari to declare how much he raised for his campaign, how much was spent and the balance. Many of my Facebook friends screamed at me. Sadly, enough, most of those who yelled at me live in countries where politicians declare their campaign donations and spending. My argument then was that if Buhari is truly an agent of change and upright, what does it cost him to declare his campaign funding, sources and spending?  What were the contributions of individual APC states to the campaign? We will never know.

In another related issue, in September last year, the Code of Conduct Bureau announced charges against Dr. Bukola Saraki. He was mainly charged with false declaration of assets, which he did in 2011. The charges of what he declared in 2011 came in 2015? This became a sensation, it was as if the world will end and Saraki would not survive that month. While Saraki was fighting back, most Nigerians, including some so-called intellectuals, joined the court of the people to condemn Saraki. They called him thief even when they didn’t know the facts of the case. Some of these sophisticated illiterates were jubilating and praising Buhari for his tough war on corruption. Some of those I spoke with were so sure that Saraki would not last the month of September as the Senate President and even would be in jail. When Senators attempted to fight back in support of Saraki, the public started calling them names. Yet, no one deemed it fit to ask the unasked questions.

Would Saraki be facing trial now if he had not contested for the Senate presidency? Is Bukola Saraki facing trial because of Buhari’s tough war on corruption or facing political war for going against his political party? Many of Buhari’s fans cannot in good conscience answer these questions.  I stand to be corrected that Dr. Bukola Saraki would not have been dragged to the Code of Conduct Bureau Tribunal if he had not defeated President Buhari’s candidate in the Senate Presidency election.

In the next two months, we will mark the 1st anniversary of Bukola Saraki’s trial. Mind you, Saraki is not on trial for stealing money from his State when he was governor, he was on trial for operating foreign account as a government official in 2011, and for false declaration of assets.

Is it not embarrassing that with all its might- the VP was an Attorney General of a State, also a SAN, the Justice Minister himself a SAN, the Communication Minister also a lawyer- it is still taking Buhari eternity to convict Saraki? Their initial plan was to remove him as Senate President and for almost one year, Buhari has failed. There are more silent sympathizers who see this “tough war on corruption” as a charade, a circus show.

The question is: How sincere is President Buhari? How genuine is his war on corruption? With the latest arrest and freezing of the bank accounts of more people, it is beginning to look like the Buhari war on corruption is selective and the targets are members of the opposition party, PDP. That we raise the question of the morality of these investigations and trials does not mean we support corruption, rather it means we support fairness and sincerity of purpose.

Why has the EFCC failed to probe all states that are owing salaries? Why has the EFCC not probed how Rotimi Amaechi got the money to buy his private jet? Why has the EFCC not probed Governor Ibikunle Amosun who illegally deducted money from civil servants? Amosun deducted cooperative society savings of Ogun state workers’ salaries but failed to remit the sums to the cooperative societies. These deductions were civil servants’ savings. Amosun, the Idi Amin of Ogun state illegally took the money claiming it was being used for infrastructure and ended up wasting money to celebrate Ogun State’s 40th anniversary and Mr. President who preaches sensible spending graced the 40th anniversary while the state civil servants went home hungry. I hear too that Mr. Amosun also just joined the private jet owners’ club.

All these and many more have made a mockery of Mr. Buhari’s war on corruption. His selective approach to who to probe, and try is reminding some of us of how he arrested and jailed selected politicians in 1983-1984.  It is a fact that no one outside the shores of Nigeria is taking Buhari’s war serious.

To me, I have been vindicated that Mr. Upright is not after all upright.  I will not use this time to talk about his sectional agenda, that will be addressed in another time but it is true that he who comes to equity must come with clean hands.