The word corruption has been resident in Nigeria from the time Nigeria gained her independence in 1960. it is such a common word that even child can clearly explain what it means. Even though corruption is everywhere, I think it is most glorified in Nigeria. It is so bad that even the commonly used phrase “it has eaten deep into the fabric of our nation” no longer explains the level of havoc it has wrecked in our country well enough. In my own view, it has completely eaten the fabric of our nation. But we can always get another chance to get a new fabric and make something amazing out of it.
With the inception of the Present Buhari administration, Nigeria was once again presented with the opportunity to begin a transformation process. This leads me to believe that the slogan of the ruling party CHANGE! is prophetic. With the birth of the present government, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has obviously received a high level of freedom to do their work just as the president promised in his manifesto, but as it stands, some Nigerians are of the opinion that the on-going effort of the presidency to fight corruption is lopsided.
A member of the Labour Party has described the on-going fight against corruption by President Muhammadu Buhari as sectional. He believes that the challenges facing the country has increased since the Buhari-led administration took the reins of power. According to the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam,
“The fight against corruption is sectional, discriminatory and malicious and he is not consistent as expected. In Buhari ‘s government there are corrupt people, yet he is charging some people for using government money to campaign for former president Goodluck Jonathan but he forgot that in the APC states, governors used state monies to sponsor his campaign; yet we have seen that his anti-graft campaign doesn’t affect those ones.
“Even at that, Buhari should not tell Nigerians that he has no corrupt ministers in his cabinet. I think he is not sincere; he is economical with the truth.”
Alhaji Abdulkadir made this disclosure in an interview with The Guardian.
In the same vein, Dr Tanko Yakassai, Elder statesman and Presidential Liaison Officer in the Second Republic, views Buhari’s anti-corruption war as a mere propaganda war which has unfortunately bought over men of sound mind like Prof. Wole Soyinka.
Dr Yakassai, who is also chairman of the Northern Elders’ Council, told reporters in Abuja that any kind of fight against corruption should not be concentrated on one individual, rather, it should be holistic. He severely criticised the present administration for bluntly disregarding court orders relating to the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd).
According to Vanguard reports, Dr. Tanko said that president buhari can only be taken seriously if he decentralizes his anti-corruption campaign, extending it to other parties as well as other tiers of government. Judging by what is currently on ground he said;
“The federal government of Nigeria is only fighting Sambo Dasuki. Should the fight against corruption begin and end with Dasuki? Is he the only “corrupt” person? Till today, they have not even started his case in the court. He was granted bail twice and they refused to let him go. This is not a fight against corruption. It is a propaganda fight.
“They even convinced people like Prof Wole Soyinka who now believes that there is a fight against corruption, but there is no such thing. Otherwise, how many people have they arrested?
“All the people that are arrested today are connected with Dasuki. No other person has been picked. What of the governors, ministers, top civil servants and local government officials? Can you fight one person and say you are fighting corruption?”
It is important to note that yakassai was recently speculated to be one of the prominent Nigerians whose names appeared on the list of beneficiaries of the $2.1 billion arms deal.
Similarly, allegations were made on Friday, 9th January in three press statements issued by the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and Ekiti state governor, Ayodele Fayose, stating that the APC and President Buhari’s administration has plans to silence the opposition party through a selective anti-corruption fight.
The acting National Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus on Friday, also accused the APC of attempting to turn the country into a one-party state.
As is always the case, people are of varying opinions on issues of this nature. It is therefore not surprising that the former National Chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh over the weekend disclaimed the reports from some quarters that President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-graft war was an act of selective justice.
The Anambra Central senatorial candidate on the platform of APGA described the on-going war against corruption in the country as an in house cleansing and advised Nigerians at all levels to let the vices in the country to be taken away in order to make way for national healing and restoration in every sector of the Nigerian economy. He made this known while addressing newsmen at Ezza South local government area of the state, after Ezza Ezekuna civic reception for their Excellencies, Chief David Nweze Umahi and chief Rachael Umahi at Onueke township stadium.
Chief Umeh highlighted the fact that anybody or group of persons inhibiting or criticizing Buhari’s war against corruption is dishonest about moving the nation forward. As he said,
“Nigerians should allow the vices in the country to be removed and healed; when someone steals and you say the person should not be prosecuted, we are not being honest to ourselves.
“Corruption must be dealt with in this country; there is nothing like selective justice system in Buhari’s war against corruption in the country”.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) however, says it is not ignorant of the “intensified orchestrated attacks by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and their agents on the hugely successful war against corruption being waged by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration”.
According to Mala Buni, the APC National Secretary, the party is also “aware of the plot by the PDP and their agents to stampede and blackmail anti-corruption agencies over ongoing corruption cases being investigated”.
Speaking in favour of the fight against corruption by the presidency, a pro-Buhari group known as Buhari Vanguard in a statement signed by its national coordinator, Musa Aliyu said,
“We categorically and unequivocally condemn in the strongest terms any move by the PDP or their agents to harass, intimidate or subvert the effort of the present administration in the fight against corruption by whipping political, ethnic and religious sentiments.
“We and indeed all well-meaning Nigerians are solidly behind President Muhammadu Buhari in his quest to fight corruption to a standstill to make our dear nation once again be viable and respected in the comity of nations, thereby attracting investments from all over the world.”
In spite of the verbal war raging against the president, he has chosen not to concede to defeat in making his anti-corruption crusade and accountability the foundation of his administration as he gave fresh orders to the EFCC, to give account of the funds that was recovered by the Commission. The president also instructed the EFCC to avoid being distracted by negative comments from some quarters on its operations, especially with regards to some of those who have been named in the now notorious $2.1b arms scandal.
Considering how this corruption fight is actually going, it seems that the opposition party is right in their allegation that the government is only hunting the PDP members but the supporters of the government have responded to the allegations, stating that only the members of the opposition party were in the government in the last administration. But what of the state governments managed by the former opposition party and where was the source of the campaign money that brought the party into power? Remember, the president had said he borrowed the money for the nomination form.
The outcry against Buhari, who is out to deal with corruption against all odds is rather surprising knowing how much Nigerians have prayed for the end of corruption in the country. Every new regime of leadership always came in with promises of permanently dealing with corruption, but it never happened. Many Nigerians are of the stand point that the immediate past administration ended up playing love games with corruption and almost tore the country to bits.
Now, Nigeria is lucky to have a leader who is strong-willed enough to tackle corruption not minding who is touched in the process, a man who has defiled the “sacred cow syndrome ” that has plagued the country for decades and people tag the war “witch hunt”, everyone is entitled to his own opinion anyway. I believe it is still to early to judge him as partial because the war against corruption is something that will be taken one step at a time. Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that soon, this war will be extended to the ruling party family. Only then will Nigerians know that we are truly set for a CHANGE!