Is Buhari Still Mr. Anti-Corruption?

By Ikenga Chronicles October 16, 2017

Is Buhari Still Mr. Anti-Corruption?

The major selling point of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari when he contested for the Presidency in 2015 was that he was a no-nonsense anti-corruption crusader. Nigerians, having watched helplessly for decades as corruption stifled the country’s growth under leaders who themselves were pillars of corruption or had turned blind eyes to corruption, readily jumped on the Buhari bandwagon and elected him President.

Buhari’s election, many Nigerians felt then, was the beginning of a new order that would see Nigeria finally take her place amongst the exalted nations of the world.

A few weeks after Buhari’s inauguration, certain sectors of the Nigerian life picked up. While the opposition attributed the improvements witnessed in sectors such as the power sector and the fight against Boko Haram to the efforts of Buhari’s immediate predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, the pro-Buhari group would have none of it, and gleefully stated that the improvements were due to Buhari’s “body language”. Either way, the improvements were short-lived and in a little over two months,Nigerians began to feel the worst form of suffering ever.

But if there was any early clue to the fact that Buhari may not be all he was sold as, it began to manifest when after spending over six months to find “reputable and incorrupt people”to fill the ministerial positions, he ended up filling the posts with individuals with several corruption allegations hanging over their heads. What was immediately obvious was that he had selected those who helped him win the election, without minding that they are questionable characters. Then suddenly, all the petitions against the Buhari “boys” were dismissed as witch-hunting, while members of the opposition were picked up on mere allegations.

Things picked up when people like Timipre Silva, who had corruption cases in court suddenly had their cases thrown out, simply because they were loyal to the so called anti-corruption Czar–Buhari.

But if Nigerians ever had any doubt that like his predecessors, Buhari too is a supporter of corruption, the doubts were hugely cleared when his Secretary to the Government of the Federation, David Babachir Lawal was implicated in a N270million grasscutting corruption case; his Director of the Department of State Services in a multi-million dollar corruption scandal; his Chief of Staff in a N500million MTN bribery scandal; his Chief of Army Staff in corruption, yet Buhari refused to see them prosecuted, instead he shielded them and according to some sources, advised that they “lay low so the agitations can blow over”.

Recently, a new can of worms was opened by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, which points to a probable siphoning of about $26billion. Till date, there has been no comment from the anti-corruption Czar!Instead, efforts were made to discredit Kaachikwu while the Vice President struggled to decide whether what he authorised were contracts or loans.

One thing is for sure then, something is rotten about the Muhammadu Buhari government.In over two years of “fighting” corruption, no conviction has been made, nobody loyal to Buhari has faced prosecution even when the evidence is overwhelming, and till date, because the $43million Osborne apartment loot is alleged to be owned by Buhari’s favoured “son”,the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in its thoroughness has not found an owner!

What is worse is that daily, the government floods the media with tales of billions of dollars recovered from “treasury looters”, yet the government continues to borrow money to fund the budget!

Here then comes the question, based on all the evidence available, can Buhari still be referred to as Mr. Integrity? Is Muhammadu Buhari still Mr. Anti-Corruption?