President Muhammadu Buhari’s gospel of hope and change was preached to the Nigerian masses on the grounds of well-founded integrity amid his low record of individual brilliance, oratory skills, scanty resume, elusive school certificate and other pertinent requirements.
Sympathetic voters were of the opinion that the Daura, Katsina State native could sanitize the country of brazen executive heist orchestrated by the previous administration apparently in full public glare.
But how far has Buhari fared in the past three years with his anti-corruption drive? The answer depends on who you ask. His anti-graft war has been described as highly selective with opposition members and other dissenting voices constantly getting the sticks while his party members relish the carrot.
Below are some shortcomings of the administration of Buhari which have impeded on the sincerity of the present anti-corruption drive:
(1) Budget padding in the House of Reps in 2016:
Part of the earlier indications that President Buhari’s anti-corruption fight will not be total is his questionable handling of the budget padding saga at the Green Chamber which implicated the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara pitching him against his former ally, Abdulmunin Jibrin. The alleged manipulation of the budgetary allocations of 2016 which totaled N40 billion has been swept under the carpet with Jibrin – the whistleblower victimized.
(2) Babachir Lawal and Amb. Ayo Oke saga:
Nigerians will never forget the 7-month pressure mounted on Buhari to axe his former Secretary to the Government of Federation, David Babachir Lawal after suspension following the over N200 million ‘Grasscutting scandal’ and also the suspected slush fund of N13 billion found at the Osborne Tower, Ikoyi, Lagos linked to a former National Intelligence Agency boss, Ayo Oke. The fact that the duo hasn’t been arraigned in court for fraud raises eyebrows.
(3) Reinstatement of suspended NHIS boss:
We all remember Buhari’s clampdown on suspected corrupt judges during which their houses were invaded in the dead of the night by operatives of the Directorate of State Security with doors forcefully pulled down. Pressure was mounted on the National Judicial Commission to suspend the indicted judges before being charged to court. Today, the Executive Secretary, National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf suspected to have siphoned money in the tune of N919 million according to the provisions of an administrative panel has been reinstated by the President despite an ongoing probe by the anti-graft agencies namely the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission. This has proved that the only corrupt people are the ones with no cordial relationship with the President.
(4) Maina’s controversial return:
Erstwhile Chairman of the Presidential Pension Task Scheme, Abdulrasheed Maina has been linked with a monster fraud of over N2 billion making him a leper one is not safe to touch even with a long Stick. But a member of Buhari’s cabinet – Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami considered him for a ‘dangerous romance’. His backdoor reinstatement as presided over by Malami has cast a shadow on the integrity of Buhari’s corruption war. Today, the sacred cow is being declared wanted on paper and in contrast being guarded by security operatives in reality.
(5) Missing NIA funds:
Since the discovery of some stray $43 million belonging to the National Intelligence Agency at a private apartment at the Osborne Towers in Ikoyi – Lagos State, it has dawned on Nigerians that agency saddled with covert security operations is a den of titanic sharp practices. Earlier this year, 2018, an alarm was raised about a missing sum of $44 million which some sacred cows wanted to share. There are also concerns that another $202 million belonging to the NIA is yet to be full accounted for. This has attracted the intervention of the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu who has promised the lower chamber that the funds would be recovered.
(6) Failure to prosecute indicted APC members:
Some members of Buhari’s cabinet and party members especially the former governors and security chiefs have petitions written against them concerning the mismanagement of public funds but it appears that EFCC passes over them at the sight of the ‘broom’ – APC’s symbol at their door step. A few examples are the former Governor of Rivers State and Transport Minister, Rotimi Amaechi and a former governor of Ekiti State and Minister of Solid Minerals Development Kayode Fayemi. This has led to regular social media outbursts by a beleaguered former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani Kayode.
(7) Illegal payment of fuel subsidy:
The leadership of the APC will never be forgotten in the history of Nigeria for running an opaque government laden with calculated propaganda. After the 66.67% increment of fuel price from N85 to N145 per litre in a bid to abolish the fuel subsidy regime, Nigerians were shocked in December 2017 to learn that the President on a clandestine note authorized the state owned oil company – Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC to be subsidizing petrol by N26 naira due to landing cost at N171 which doesn’t favour importers. How the NNPC pays the subsidy which doesn’t reflect in the national budget remains an enigma. Buhari’s loud silence is a clear instruction that you are free to believe whatever you want to.
The Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Maikanti Baru has also revealed the NNPC pays N774 million daily as subsidy for the supply of petrol. This he did shortly after turning down human rights lawyer, Femi Falana’s freedom of information request on how much the government was spending on subsidy.
(8) Kachikwu’s exposure of the suspicious award of contracts by the Baru-led NNPC:
The minister of state for Petroleum resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu raised an alarm about being sidelined in the affairs of the state-owned oil company, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC with contracts in the tune of $26 billion awarded without his input and adherence to due process. Till date, the issue has been covered up despite the media interest generated. The fact that this is taking place under the administration that intends not only to fight corruption in Nigeria but also Ghana makes it subnormal.
(9) Arms deal fraud:
There is a conspiracy theory that government officials have turned the Boko Haram war into a conduit pipe to divert money as military expenditures are described as classified. The present Chief of Army Staff, Yusuf Tukur Buratai who has houses in Dubai, United Arab Emirates and a snakes’ farm; and the Minister of Interior Abdulrahaman Dambazau have been accused of tampering with security allocations. Recall that there was an outrage on social media in July 2016 when an investigative panel uncovering fraudulent practices in the procurement of arms for the military between 2007 and 2015 exempted Dambazau who was the Chief of Army Staff from 2008 to 2010. Today, the former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki appears to be technically playing the role of Jesus Christ by solely paying for the sins of the world.
(9) The IGP of Police scandal
If an interior minister in Portugal, Constanco de Sousa could resign due to political pressure emanating from regular incidents of forest fire, and then a British member of the House of Lords, Lord Bates (junior minister in the UK Department for International Development) could do the same for coming late to the chamber, one would expect the current Inspector General of Police Ibrahim Kpotum Idris to step aside not because of the killings in Benue, Kaduna, Adamawa, Plateau, Taraba States and others but the dirt in his office as unearthed by Senator Isa Misau.
He has been accused of being romantically involved with his female colleagues, patronizing Aisha Buhari – wife of President with car gifts and also presiding over a police office that illegally makes about N10 billion monthly from oil companies and other private individuals who enjoy special protection from the security agency which is unaccounted for and also condoning the collection of bribes for juicy postings. The fact that he is still in office is a conk palm oil stain on Buhari’s white garment.
(10) Appointment of dead people in boards of Federal Government agencies:
Supporters of President Buhari were left burying their faces in shame and ashes when the administration hit the Guinness Book of Records by being the first government to give political appointments to about 6 people on permanent recess in their graves. This reminds Nigerians of the problem of ghost workers which is a loophole in the public service used in embezzling vast public funds. There was also duplication of names of appointees in public offices. Till date, no reasonable explanation has been given for the epic gaffe which reeks of negligence and gross incompetence.
(11) Case of bribery and corruption against CCT Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar:
Justice Danladi Umar appears to have done a fantastic job presiding over the case of false declaration of assets by the Senate President Bukola Saraki but does it make sense to wash white clothes with stained hands? Umar has been accused of demanding N10 million bribe from an accused to pervert justice. This serious allegation was been swept under the carpet until the EFCC recently moved to arraign him to the dismay of the Federal Government. It would be recalled that the same EFCC had earlier cleared Umar of any wrongdoing in April, 2016 while presiding over Saraki’s case.
(12) Failure of Buhari to disclose health costs in London:
President Buhari cumulatively spent about six months on medical vacation in London, United Kingdom with the presidential jet idly gulping money per day at the hanger according to reports. Till date, Nigerians haven’t been kept abreast about the funds expended for his medical expenses.
U.S President Donald Trump’s Health Secretary Tom Price was forced to resign in September, 2017 over the misuse of private jets at the cost ($400,000) of the sweats of tax payers. But in Nigeria, accountability and transparency are absent. An opaque administration where the public is denied its constitutional right to know is like a loamy soil for corrupt practices.
(13) Clannishness and favouritism:
Many have argued that Nigeria has never been this disunited owing to the actions and inactions of the Buhari administration where some citizens appear more equal than others. Buhari’s lopsided appointments which have put more northerners at the helm of affairs re-ignited the Biafra agitations. It should be noted that nepotism is also corruption and not just financial infractions alone.
(14) Escalating Fulani herdsmen/farmers crises:
Under the present administration, there are wild jokes that the Fulani herdsmen encroaching on farmlands with their cattle are above the law and their cows are more valuable than human lives. Buhari’s failure to mitigate the Fulani-farmers’ clashes and disarm the AK-47 wielding pastoralists earned him the title of the ‘president of the north’ who has taken sides with the alleged oppressors. This suspected act of favouritism in a polarized state like Nigeria has further added salt to the open sore of discord among the major tribes in Nigeria. Hundreds of lives have been lost to the herdsmen/farmers clashes across the geopolitical zones in the country.
(15) Withdrawal of $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account:
The decision of the governors’ forum to endorse the withdrawal of a whopping sum of $1 billion to tackle insecurity in Nigeria was welcomed with mixed reactions across the country. The reasons are not farfetched as funds gave been stolen from the nation’s treasury under the secrecy of security allocations. For over 24hrs the Buhari administration struggled to define specific areas the funds would cater for. It was on this note that Governors Ayodele Fayose and Nyesom Wike washed their hands off the ECA withdrawal.
(16) Gross wastage of resources:
Despite President Buhari’s bid to curb the wastage of resources in Nigeria, indications have it that it’s still business as usual. The State House clinic at the Aso Rock Villa can’t boast of paracetamol, syringes and other basic clinic needs despite the allocation of N3.2 billion in the 2016 national budget. N65 million has also be allocated in the 2017 budget to design the already existing website of the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation. About N4.9 billion has also been allocated this year for the mere maintenance of mechanical and electrical equipment at the Aso Rock Villa while majority of Nigerians languish in penury.
In conclusion, the recent report on corruption by the global anti-corruption watchdog – Transparency International has dealt a fatal blow to the anti-corruption drive of President Buhari with a Corruption Perception Index rating of 27 out of 100 which is a confirmation that he has been running in circles. According to the international body, corruption in Nigeria worsened last year 2017 with the country rated 148th out of 180 evaluated countries.
Compiled exclusively for Tori News by Osayimwen Osahon George
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