A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Tam David West has declared that he can bet his life that President Muhammadu Buhari is clean from corruption.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen, the 81-year old statesman said there should not be any comparison between the President Buhari and former Military President Ibrahim Babangida.
According to Mr. West, Buhari and Babangida are two different personalities. Buhari is a clean man. I can take any oath that Buhari is very clean and I won’t die.
“I cannot do that on Babangida. I cannot vouch for him not because he put me in jail but because that is the fact. Buhari has some good qualities, some positive characteristics that Babangida doesn’t have,” he said.
”Another thing is that if Buhari tells you something, believe it is true. But if Babangida tells you something, don’t be too sure.
“I want to quote former President, Obasanjo, when he said: ‘When Babangida tells you good morning, check your watch very well if truly it is morning’.”
Mr. David West is a Rivers State indigene who was the Minister of Petroleum Resources from 1984-1985, under the administration of Buhari – who was president at that time.
He further shared his experience working with both Buhari and Babangida and he said,
“In terms of governance, Babangida cannot be compared with Buhari in any way. For instance, if you give Buhari a memo at 9am, by 12pm he would call you that he has finished reading it. But if you give the same memo to Babangida, a week and he won’t read it. I have examples. Whatever I say, I take responsibility for and can prove it,” David West said.
“Another area you cannot compare them is that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and other government agencies were more disciplined under Buhari than Babangida. So they are not comparable.
Mr. David West insisted that as far as corrupt practices – cases of misappropriation of funds under Buhari’s watch, are concerned, the people working with Buhari may never share this principle as he.
He said the first mistake Nigerians make is rubbing Buhari with the same mud as those working with him. Thus the president should not be blamed or judged if those working with him has a questionable character.
Meanwhile, the President had earlier reacted to insinuations that the anti-corruption fight has not yielded any positive impact saying that the responsibility of the government was to investigate and prosecute those found wanting, while the judiciary is the one who convicts offenders.
Buhari spoke in an interview published in the 2017/2018 Nigeria Outlook and he said the anti-corruption war is not limited in scope and that anybody who runs foul of the law will answer for it.
In his statement he said:
“We are succeeding in the anti-corruption war. Cases are being investigated and those indicted are prosecuted. The number of conviction is not within the ambit of the executive.
“Ours is to investigate and charge to court, while it is the duty of the judiciary to convict. We can’t be prosecutor and jury at the same time. We respect the principle of separation of power as enshrined in our constitution. We don’t tele-guide the judiciary and the onus is on that institution to do its work expeditiously.
“We will strengthen the war in due course. You don’t need a national debate to fight corruption. You just need to crack down on corrupt people with fear of favour. We will strengthen the war and fight it at all levels.”
President Buhari reiterated that the major task of his government is to make an enduring impact on the life of Nigerians, adding that it is unfortunate that for many decades, “we paid lip service to diversifying the economy.