The change mantra wielded by the All Progressive Congress (APC) led government is a welcome development. It has overwhelming support of Nigerians who have been robbed of their commonwealth by a few greedy individuals. It is however instructive to know that using corruption to fight corruption is similar to making similar mistake several times and expect positive results.
It is therefore necessary to understand that President Muhammadu Buhari led administration may not be remembered for its fight against corruption alone but on how the fight was fought. If the cleaning of Nigeria from its nauseating corrupt status is tilted to defeated members and sympathizers of the ousted Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the aim will be defeated and analysts will dismiss it as a “witch-hunt”.
It is instructive to intimate that reports pegs over N3.7trn is so far lost on account of corruption in military arms deal since the past 29 years. While in the purchase of military equipment, the issue of witch-hunt wouldn’t have been valid if the entire corruption war was transparent. The selective investigations and probes is fast eroding the stance of Buhari led administration against corruption.
The media is recently harping on revelations against Abdulrraman Damdazzau and Tukur Buratai over alleged involvement in arms deal. Denials, rebuttals, threats have trailed their alleged involvements.
First it was Buratai who was reported in the media on alleged corrupt property ownership in Dubai, United Arab Emirate. Buratai and his media handlers denied the allegation, discarding it as actions of ‘social media terrorists’. Buratai, initial reaction was denial, later acceptance, claiming he acquired the properties from savings. The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) was quick to exonerate him, insisting he declared the asset.
Many pundits are confused on how Buratai and his wives, Aishatu and Kalsum could save several millions to purchase the properties acquired. Though the CCB was fast to come to his rescue, it continues to remain fuzzy when they claimed he allegedly declared the properties in the name of his wives.
On the Dambazzau allegations, those who should know better have alleged that he was involved in arms deal between 2007, 2010 when he was the Chief of Army Staff. They are however petrified when government confirmed they are yet to extend investigation to include the above mentioned years from arms deal investigation.
Recent reports however assert that Dambazzau who served as Chief of Army Staff from 2008 to 2010 was not omitted as FG alleged. The investigation of the audit of defense Equipment Procurement in the Nigerian Armed Forces inaugurated in 2015 by the President Muhammadu Buhari led administration actually covered the time he served.
Already the Dambazzau and Buratai rollercoaster on arms deal is an affair spinning out of control. I am indeed puzzled and interested in clearing my head on who is shielding who and for what purpose? Is the PMB led administration suddenly suffering from “sacred Cow” syndrome en-route its anti-corruption war?
We must establish the brains behind what appears like surreptitious moves to doctor documents that might indict Dambazzau. We must subject available facts to maximum scrutiny. The claims of CCB on Buratai alleged asset claims against possible arms deal proceeds must be thoroughly investigated. This is indeed necessary considering Buratai’s position as army procurement officer before his new assignment. Petitions against ex-governors who jumped political ships to the APC few weeks to general elections in 2015 on alleged corrupt practices were ignored. The cry for justice is everywhere urging government to be justiciable in dishing out judgment regardless of party, social and ethnic affiliations.
If the gray arrears are not cleared, the fight against corruption will be classified as a charade, a contraption to inflict maximum harm on members and sympathizers of the opposition party. There are cases politicians with no integrity are shielded or condoned by anti graft agencies.
Let me intimate that PMB is able to go this far in the fight against corruption on account of his unrivalled, unblemished credentials of integrity, honesty, probity and accountability. The applause is gradually fading on account of the soiled hands of those expected to assist him in wrangling the hydra headed monster of corruption.
Buhari must however be informed that goodwill is like candle, it must be sustained through continuous process of exchange of excellence. It whittles off once the fire of evil surpasses the good that allows the masses to be willing to support and encourage the leader in question. Just as Jonathan is shouldering responsibility for all mal-administration, financial recklessness when he was president, history will surely rate Buhari poorly if he allows those around him to manipulate the war against corruption. The dragnet must catch every indicted person no matter the position, affiliation or orientation.
The present administration is only sustained on the popular agenda of creating a new Nigeria, emancipated from endemic corruption. Once there are gaps, twists that tilts away from the core operational templates of Mr. Presidents “I belong to everybody, I belong to nobody”, then Nigeria will continue to grapple with corruption and grope in economic despondency.
Written by Israel A. Ebije.