[contextly_auto_sidebar]By Emman Ovuakporie and Johnbosco Agbakwuru
Given the high sensitivity the All Progressives Congress, APC-led administration brought to bear in its war against graft; it is not surprising that Nigerians of all shadows would scrutinise the actions and inactions of the administration where issues of corruption are alleged.
The champion of the war is President Muhammadu Buhari, a man who has so far endeared himself to many across national and international boundaries for living above graft even when exposed to the kind of lucre that have entrapped fellow Nigerians.
President Buhari’s distaste for graft is well summarised in the popular saying that the easiest way to get him to shut out anybody is to say that the person is corrupt.
It is against this background that Nigerians have now taken the presidency to task over the president’s dithering procrastination in dealing with matters of alleged corruption concerning closest members of his administration.
While some allegations have been allowed to pass, critical members of the public have, however, continued to question the presidency’s decision to prevaricate on the report of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Humanitarian Crisis in the Northeast which indicted the administration’s top bureaucrat, Mr. Babachir Lawal.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF was indicted by the Senator Shehu Sani led panel in its report presented to the Senate and adopted by the legislative body last December.
The president in his response to the indictment, however, chose the path of procedure in faulting the Senate’s adoption of a report which he claimed was signed by only three of the eight members.
However, investigations by Vanguard, published last Thursday, showed that contrary to the president’s assertion that only three members signed the document, the chairman of the committee and six members signed the report.
Critics were quick to latch on to the presidency’s attachment to procedure which they claimed was a deviation from the president’s well-known aversion to such issues. The real issue of whether the man was found wanting appeared not to matter to the President.
House of Representatives
Nigerians have also taken the president to task for his decision to, on his own, resubmit Mr. Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC despite the allegations raised against him by the Department of State Services, DSS which affirmed in a report that he would be a distraction to the president’s war against corruption. Though the allegations raised against Magu were alleged to in some quarters to have been cooked, the president’s seeming cavalier dismissal of the allegations, however, unsettled many.
It is against the background of the seeming contradictions in the fight against corruption that members of the House of Representatives expressed mixed reactions to the issue.
We are not fighting corruption — Rep Gogo Bright (Okrika: Rivers)
This is the worst thing that has happened to the fight against corruption because if the entire Senate sat on the issue after a committee of the Senate turned in its report after doing a thorough investigation which indicated that the SGF who awarded contract to his company; only for at the end of the day somebody will sit in the convenience of his office to clear the person, it means then we are not fighting corruption. On the issue of Magu, the DSS indicted him; and it is the same DSS on the basis of whose report judges were harassed in this country, and now you are saying the DSS this time around did not do a good work. So, my dear, there is problem in the land.
President is encouraging corruption —Rep Joseph Eghoghon Edionwele; Edo State
If the president whose major slogan is anti -corruption would react in this way, as Senator Shehu Sani rightly said, that is the end of the fight against corruption. If not for anything the indictment is enough to remove the SGF and in good conscience, even the SGF should have on his own resigned. That his company was mentioned is enough for him to have resigned or enough for the president to have removed him. Is it that there is no other person that is qualified to do exactly that job? He should have been removed. To insist that he is cleared, cleared of what? That his company is not the one that was involved? Is it that he is no longer the owner of the company? The fact that his company was given that contract alone means he must have influenced the job to himself. For the president to say they have cleared him is not encouraging. What the president has done is to encourage corruption.
SGF is morally guilty —Mike Adeniyi Omogbehin, Ondo State
It simply means that the anti-corruption war has been finally declared over. I agree with Senator Sani intoto when he says that corruption is fought within the opposition and other arms of government with insecticides and within the presidency, it is fought with deodorants. For the singular fact that the Senate Committee was able to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the Secretary to the Federal Government has interest in a particular company, that he never resigned his directorship until after that contract ultra vires of the Memoranda of the Article of that Company; he stands guilty in court of moral justice, he stands guilty in court of common sense and he should have excused himself even before the hue and cry got to this level. I am surprised that President Buhari is taking this action. Some of us in opposition never knew that President Buhari was going to so soon discard his anti-corruption war.
Only the courts can find him guilty – Rep. Babatunde Gabriel Kolawole; Ondo State
The issue of governance is a very complex issue, and most of the time, you don’t do governance with sentiment. It is very important we look at issues holistically and get to the bottom of issues we are trying to push across. The president is sitting at a strategic seat, and there are some actions he cannot take in a hurry, he needs to consult widely, he needs to look at the legal implications so that he doesn’t make mistakes. So for the fact that there are allegations against the SGF, it has to be proven beyond reasonable doubts and not until these allegations are proven, and the SGF is found guilty, not by the President but by a competent court of law, the President cannot take any action. It suggests very strongly that we don’t apply sentiments in coming to a conclusion on issues that have a national coverage and that has the interest of people.
Anti-Corruption war is a ruse – Rep. T.J Yusuf; Kogi State
This has just exposed the fact that ab initio, the anti-corruption crusade was a white-wash. What has happened to Gen. Tukur Burutai, what has happened to Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau’s case? What about the dollar swapping? Nobody in his right senses will say Nigeria does not need to tackle the issue of corruption. It must be holistic it must not be seen as being partisan Re-presenting Magu is an indictment on Buhari—Rep Samson Okwu, PDP, Benue
Is he trying to say that Magu is the most genuine Nigerian that can occupy that office? Are there no other corrupt free Nigerians that can conveniently occupy the position?