…The fight against corruption as well as insecurity has yielded few fruits
Every well-meaning Nigerian residing home and abroad would have thought in 2015 that corruption should either be significantly curtailed or totally eliminated by now.
This assumption is hinged on the robust campaign promises and salient manifestoes that the political chiefs of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) circulated to flood the public space in their quest to secure their ticket to Aso Rock Villa.
The then main opposition was almost practically begging Nigerians to vote for their party so as to afford them the constitutional power to crush terrorism-laden insecurity in the country. Today, we all know that both insecurity and corruption are a twin-menace which has perforated the country’s capital reservoir thereby draining our resources.
It is quite depressing that insecurity and corruption are the seemingly two major threats to our national life despite the conceited promise of the government. It is more disheartening however to discover obviously that the nation’s capitals are being expended as huge resources are directly or indirectly swallowed by these deficiencies.
How do I mean? One cannot ascertain if the allocation of budget to fight insecurity is properly expended for this cause as insignificant tangible results have been recorded, while corruption thickens as those trusted with funds loot them.
The budgetary allocations to defence sector has been growing in order to fight insecurity from 2015 till date, but little or no achievements have been recorded to corroborate the resources voted for this project.
In 2015, 2016 and 2017, the expenditures voted for defence were N969 billion, N1.063 trillion and N1.142 trillion respectively. In 2018, the budget was basically targeted to combat all forms of insecurity ranging from Boko Haram insurgency, herdsmen killings, kidnappings, militancy and others. So, it was N1.334 trillion that went to the defence out of the N8.612 trillion total budget.
The question is, what have we gotten as the result? What we have to show for these resources is the “technical defeat of Boko Haram” while the insurgency rages on.
In as much as the insecurity peril is huge, corruption is more perilous to this country. The devastating oppression of this menace is when one realizes that the public officers assigned to lead the corruption fight is corrupt.
It is generally believed that President Muhammadu Buhari was voted into power in 2015 as a result of the anti-corruption pedigree he commanded during his military regime from December 31, 1983, to August 27, 1985. The opportunity given to him to replicate the same feat democratically has undoubtedly been an illusion, which now compels the country to ask if the corruption crusade of this APC-led government is genuine or sham?
The recent arrest and suspension of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) boss, Ibrahim Magu has placed a serious question mark on the anti-corruption campaign of this government? Ibrahim Magu was arrested and being grilled by the Justice Ayo Salami-led presidential panel for grave malfeasance.
The investigation has revealed few secrets, but there are indications more secrets would be uncovered as the investigations go on.
But one cannnot but wonder how Magu, a supposedly clean man from a pack of filth called the Nigerian police, lost his integrity so brazenly to the lure of the pervasive corruption he was meant to fight.
But was Magu really the man for the job? Many thought otherwise from the day he was appointed in 2015.
Recall that the 8th Senate under the leadership of Dr. Bukola Saraki declined the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as the substantive chairman of EFCC in 2016 and 2017. The Senate affirmed that he lacked the integrity to sail the nation’s anti-graft boat.
The actions of the federal lawmakers were taken by many to be inimical and chary, but they are apparently vindicated now.
The crux of the argument here is why was he not replaced immediately when he was rejected by the Upper Chamber? Was he the most capable hands to deliver the job? Or, the President decided to look the other way? Why has Magu who has performed ‘heroic’ jobs suddenly become a villain?
Some people are arguing that Magu’s ordeal is a sign that the President’s anti-corruption war does not have ‘sacred cows.’ But I will quickly remind the fellow that such submission is baseless. Let’s examine the obvious.
In as much as I commend Magu’s arrest and investigation in the interest of the country, it also invokes the question of why the anti-graft assaults launched at the likes of Dasuki Sambo, Musiliu Obanikoro, Femi Fani-Kayode, Diezani Alison-Madueke and others that were in the former President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration spared those indicted of corruption allegations under President Buhari’s administration?
Former Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Adamu was indicted alongside 18 others for N15 billion corruption case when he was the governor. He was a member of the National Advisory Committee of the Buhari 2019 Presidential Support Committee. His son, Nurianu, was also arraigned by the EFCC in January 2018 for alleged N90m fraud.
Space will not permit to dwell on Adamu Muazu’s N19.8 billion alleged corruption case when he was Bauchi State governor. And there was the case of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal and his N450 million he used his company Rholavision Engineering Limited to obtain consultancy contract to clear invasive plant in Yobe State from PINE, an intervention organisation under his office and others who use APC as their shield.
If all these gloomy alleged corruption cases abound while the President is in charge, why should we not think that Magu’s saga is a hoax? Or, perhaps a subtle plan to punish a victim of power play if what Femi Odekunle of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) said is anything to go by?
For all its worth, the President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption will be taken seriously when his lieutenants and members of his kitchen cabinets, and all front liners accused of corruption are released to be investigated and brought to book if found guilty.
In addition to this, their records of services should be thoroughly scrutinised to see if they are worthy to serve before appointed. Lastly, the Presidency should listen to opposition or other sources when they alert the government on the wrongdoing of any officers in the administration.
A Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mike Ezekhome allegedly wrote the Vice President when he observed that Magu was abusing his office. He said: “I wrote a public letter in 2017, to the then acting president, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) at a time his boss, President Muhammadu Buhari, was sick on a London hospital bed. I complained bitterly, with facts, figures and data, that recovered looted funds and property, were being re-looted by the Magu-led team, who were supposed to keep the gate of our commonwealth.”
Unfortunately, there is no record that the Acting President took any step to investigate Ozekhome’s claims. Instead, Nigerians are now recalled with the sad tale of how Osinbajo allegedly connived with the embattled Magu to pocket about N4 billion from the looted funds.
We deserve a corruption-free country where our resources are channelled towards building national wealth and maintaining sustainable development. This can be achieved in many ways, but mainly when this administration takes full responsibility to fight corruption without prejudice.