Anti-Graft Crusade: Has President Buhari Turns Patriot Of Convenience?
By Eben Enasco Kingsley
In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari swept to power on a wave of optimism in becoming the 4th democratic President of Nigeria and first opposition candidate in history to defeat a sitting president.
In his first Nationwide broadcast, he vowed to double up effort in tackling corrupt practices on his anti-graft crusade, improve security and build an economy of high standard.
The anti-graft war was endorsed by the President of the United States and other international communities.
Since then, anti-graft war remains one of his topmost priority.
But as his first four years come to an end, his approval rating has plummeted to 41% in May 2018 from a peak of 80 percent in October 2015, as per NOI Polls.
This became a grave concern for his followers and Nigerians who had vehemently trusted in his change mantra.
Apart from growing concerns about his fragile health, his economic policies, the extent of his claims about better security, citizens are also increasingly worried over his selective approach on targets with his campaign against corruption crimes.
He has been involved in series of questionable patterns of fighting corruption living oppositions and democrats to wink over his patriotism of Convenience.
His notch for disobeying the rule of law has plugged Nigerians and international communities on tongue wagging believing he’s got nothing more in his locker to offer the system.
Although, before winning in 2015, the 75-year-old former army general and self-styled “converted democrat” had tried three times to become president since Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 but failed to achieve it.
Back then, critics of his military regime were thrown in jail, among them the Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti for an alleged currency violation that critics, said was politically motivated.
Then, he ordered whip-wielding soldiers to enforce neat queues at chaotic bus stops and tardy public servants to do humiliating frog jumps.
Against this backdrop, several factor of bias engagement have been established since he assumed office and in recent times against what the oppositions would described as selective prosecution of alleged corrupt persons in camps not supporting his party and government.
On 24 January 2016, Chief Olu Falae , a prominent Nigerian politician and former secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria said “Buhari’s anti-corruption war is selective and getting out of hand”.
Arising from his statements, Olu falae was named as one of the beneficiary of the controversial $2 billion arms deal, an allegation he refuted in an exclusive interview with The Punch.
On 24 August 2015, Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa, a former governor of Kaduna State challenged President Muhammadu to probe his military regime between 1983 and 1985 if he is really serious about anti-corruption war. He accused the president of violation of federal character law.
Today a blind man could vividly see his lopsided appointment which negates and assassinates federal character law.
He has been seen to selectively obey Nigerian laws and only when it protects his personal interest.
On 8 February 2016, Ezenwo Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers State and former minister of state for education in the
Cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan also accused the president of bias in his anti-corruption war.
He said he would rather fight corruption in his own way than to support Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption war.
On 27 September 2015, Dr. Frederick Fasehun ,(now late), the founder of Oodua Peoples Congress advised the president to shun selective justice and focus on good governance.
On 21 January 2016 Fasheun urged the president to slow than in his fight against corruption.
He said that the government may run into problems in the way the anti-graft war is being handled by the president.
He strongly condemned the handcuffing of Chief Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party. He described it as unhealthy for Nigeria.
The $2 billion arms deal was exposed following the interim report of buhari’s investigations committee on arms procurement under the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
The committee report showed an extra-budgetary spending to the tune of N643.8 billion and an additional spending of about $2.2 billion in the foreign currency component under the Goodluck Jonathan’s watch. Preliminary investigation suggested that about $2 billion may have been disbursed for the procurement of arms to fight against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria .
The investigative report indicated that a total sum of $2.2 billion was inexplicably disbursed into the office of the National Security Adviser in procurement of arms to fight against insurgency, but was not spent for the purpose for which the money was disbursed.
Investigations on this illegal deal led to the arrest of Sambo Dasuki , the former National Security Adviser who later mentioned prominent Nigerians involved in the deal.
Those that were mentioned and arrested includes Raymond Dokpesi , the Chair emeritus of DAAR Communications Plc ,
Attahiru Bafarawa , the former Governor of Sokoto State, and
Bashir Yuguda, the former Minister of State for Finance,
Azubuike Ihejirika , the Chief of Army Staff, Adesola Nunayon Amosu , the former Chief of the Air Staff, Alex Badeh and several other politicians were mentioned.
In reverse, several allegations and petitions of corruption and misappropriation of funds was slammed on Kayode Fayemi , the former governor of Ekiti State , Kemi Adeosun, the minister of finance who later resigned having been forced to do so and went AWOL untried.
Rotimi Amaechi, a former governor of Rivers State and current minister of transport.
Adams Oshiomhole, a former governor of Edo State and now National Chairman of APC.
Godswill Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa Ibom state who recently defected to APC andnOrji Kalu a former governor of Abia State,
Report on Babachir Lawal, Abdulrasheed Mina, Vice President Yemi Osibanjo’s NEMA allegations, alleged NNPC Missing Funds, Video report on Governor Ganduje allegedly collecting dollars as bribe and others.
In recent mega rally of the All Progressive Congress in Benin City, the national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole openly declared that once you are a sinner and later join APC, your sins are forgiven.
From these accounts, is president Buhari actions not reflecting Patriot of Convenience?
Can we also reflect on the trending suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria as a typical situation of tyranny?
Yes by virtue of power, the president has the right to suspend but must be done through due process. Now the question is, was it done through due process?
He did not obey Nigerian Courts and the ECOWAS Court on Sambo Dasuki yet he is the Chairman of the ECOWAS commission.
Buhari ignored many other Court orders on El zakzaky, Deji, etc.
Meanwhile, in less than a week , petitions against CJN is already consuming him.
But his government was quick to obey the CCT alleged recommendations to unseat the CJN because of political advantage.
Is this not an evidence that the anti-corruption war is a bargaining action by the government of sectionalism?
Nigerians have expressed concerns on why these people in his government had not been invited by the anti-graft agencies for questioning.
But political opponents have labelled it a witch-hunt.
For some critics, Buhari’s leadership style has too closely mirrored his time as the no-nonsense head of a military government whose methods incurred the wrath of rights groups.
Buhari detained three high-profile opponents without charge, justifying in his first – and only – media chat that they had committed “atrocities” against the government.
The opposition has accused him of turning the presidency into a regional dynasty, with an impenetrable “cabal” of close advisors in control of affairs at the expense of national unity.
Dubbed “Baba Go Slow” for taking six months to appoint cabinet ministers, Buhari – presented by his office as a virtual ascetic uninterested in personal wealth – has been attacked for his unorthodox economic policies.
On resumption, the government of Buhari spent six months receiving treatment for an undisclosed illness as they claimed that Nigeria stumbled out of a recession and violence spiked across the country which was challenged.
But three and half years of nine years into jihadists war against the Nigerian government, the Islamists still pose a serious threat to the region and launch regular bloody attacks on troops and civilians living our soldiers in uncountable death toll even though Buhari vowed to crush the group in his six months in office during his electioneering campaigns.
Some Nigerian described the war as “perfect” while others described it as “selective”. William Kumuyi, the founder and general overseer of Deeper Christian Life Ministry described Buhari’s anti-corruption war as a step in right direction.
However, the president has been criticized and accused of leading a selective war against corruption.
Several people claimed that his war against corruption focus on members of the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party.
Nigerians will have to decide in February 16, 2019 if they want to give him another tenure.