By Chiechefulam Ikebuiro
The series of scandals that have engulfed this administration recently are beginning to cast a shadow over the integrity of President Buhari and the government he heads. What is more, the deafening silence on some of these weighty allegations is making matters worse.
President Buhari was roundly supported by Nigerians because of his vow to tackle corruption before it kills us among other things and recent events plus his body language have not quite lived up to expectations. This is not why we kicked out arguably the most corrupt administration this country ever had.
The slow motion with which this government has handled sensitive issues -from delays in appointments to policymaking, despite complaints from all quarters, has proven to be a real threat to our development in that it has affected businesses and investments. It is imperative that this government understands that inordinate delays in making vital decisions make for a poor image of a government and the country it leads.
Recently a letter to the President from the Minister of State for Petroleum where some very damning issues were raised was leaked .48 hours after the news broke, no scratch that, 2 months after the letter was sent to the Presidency, there has been no action whatsoever from President Buhari. In the said letter Minister Kachikwu accused Maikanti Baru, the GMD of NNPC of insubordination and award of contracts to the tune of 24 billion dollars, without due process among other allegations. That no move has been made to investigate these allegations and proper actions taken, two months after the letter, beggars belief. With the President’s body language in the light of this, one is wont to believe the fight against corruption is a farce as peddled in some quarters-a witch hunt.
I didn’t believe a day will come when I’ll have some doubts and questions about President Buhari’s war against corruption and his Presidency in general. But hey, Nigeria first!
Is there really a cabal in President Buhari’s government? Recall that there had been similar allegations against some members of his inner cabinet, notably enfant terrible, Abba Kyari. Sometime last year, it was reported that he was behind the reduction of the fine levied against a big firm here and in the process skimmed extra money as a bribe on the side. That this was swept under the carpet seems to buttress the fact that there truly are untouchables in President Buhari’s government.
Vice President Osinbajo submitted his committee’s report on corruption allegations against Messrs. Lawal and Oke upon the President’s arrival from London and a month after, there’s been no word on that. Something does not feel right.
Is there a form of nepotism going on here? Why has Ibe Kachikwu been denied access to the President since his return from medical leave? Why has there been silence on his allegations against Mr Baru? Did the President see this letter? Was it intercepted by someone? If it was, who is that someone and what is/was his motive? This is the time to clear the air and act.
The true test of President Buhari’s Presidency has just been presented and the way he handles this will determine a lot as his legacy is on the line here.
Is the legacy he’s built over the years based on his modesty and integrity worth losing over some jejune decision and obsequiousness to some good for nothing cabal? Mr. President can’t continue to make bets in a burning house. This won’t-talk attitude will not even cut it this time around. It’s already one too many and this is too heavy to ensconce.
The President must make a very firm decision on this. He should as a matter of urgency lunch a thorough investigation into these allegations and make sure justice is served. In the same vein, the President cannot continue to hold the country to ransom with respect to Babachir Lawal and Oke-make your damn decision and let justice reign!
It is pertinent to note that the silence that greeted Malam Sanusi’s similar allegation in the last administration, I believe, is part of the reasons why we are here today! We don’t want to repeat the same damn insane mistake!
As is, it appears one of the major setbacks to the corruption war is President Buhari himself and if he does not ditch his blind loyalty to this belligerent cabal then he would have betrayed Nigerians.
It is obvious that a parasitic cabal is running his government and he’ll be doing a great disservice to this country if he does not reign them in…After all, Aisha Buhari, the media, and El Rufai cannot all be wrong at the same time.