Buhari's anti-corruption war is a lie
President Muhammadu Buhari has just killed an anti-graft war that may have begun with so much promise
It was the day President Buhari killed his own anti-graft war and exposed the entire cause as a lie.
A Senate adhoc Committee on the humanitarian situation in the North East, last year alleged that Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal, was involved in a N200M contract scam.
According to the Senate, Lawal awarded the contract which borders on clearing invasive grass species in Yobe State, to a company in which he retains considerable interest.
The Senate cited Lawal's involvement in the contract scam as one more proof that officials and NGOs (Non Governmental Organisations) are benefiting from the crisis in the terrorist ravaged North East region of the country at the expense of internally displaced persons and freed Boko Haram captives.
After its findings, the Senate wrote a letter to Buhari demanding that Lawal be sacked or asked to resign from his position as SGF.
On Tuesday, Buhari disagreed with the lawmakers and stuck out his neck for his SGF.
The President said the Senate didn't grant Lawal fair hearing by not inviting the SGF over to defend himself.
Buhari added that only three members of the Senate Committee out of nine, appended their signatures on the interim report which indicted Lawal.
According to the President, because majority of the Senators on the committee didn't sign on the document, the report has become a minority one and of no effect.
"The signing of the interim report by three out of nine members of the committee makes it a minority report of the Senate committee and not a committee report", Buhari wrote to the national assembly.
Buhari said Rollervision Engineering Limited (the company which allegedly belongs to Lawal), "was not invited at any time before the committee to defend itself against the allegations which eventually forms the Senate's case against the company."
Here's the thing about the President's letter: it was premised on falsehood. It was a bunch of lies.
Contrary to President Buhari's claims, Lawal was invited to appear on the floor of the Senate, but he declined the invitation.
Chairman of the Senate committee in question, Senator Shehu Sani (APC) said Lawal was invited to appear before the committee, but he shunned the invitation.
"We invited all the companies concerned. We invited the SGF and he sent us the Secretary of the Sani said.
The Senator who represents Kaduna Central senatorial district in the upper legislative chamber also said Buhari's position that only three Senators signed the interim report indicting the SGF, was a lie.
Sani said seven Senators signed the report and not three.
Sani said: "Issues were raised that only three members of the committee signed that interim report, that was also a second lie coming from the Presidency. I have a copy of the interim report, which was initially signed by seven members of the nine members of that committee and I'm going to submit it to the Clerk of the Senate.
"Even if three people signed, we still have a quorum. But here, I have seven people".
Shehu thereafter pronounced President Buhari's anti-corruption war dead.
"This letter is a funeral service for the anti-corruption fight", the Senator declared.
Sani wasn't done.
"When it comes to fighting corruption in the national assembly, judiciary and in the larger Nigerian sectors, the President uses insecticide, but when it comes to fighting corruption within the Presidency, he uses deodorants.
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"I stand by the report of the committee and it is very clear to us: if we can allow this committee's report to be shred into pieces, then I think it would be in order for us to open up all the 138 prisons in this country for all the inmates and awaiting trial inmates to go scot free".
Truer words have never been spoken.
The Senate has its ills and there are legion, but in this case, the legislators emerged, oozing of roses.
For a President whose major credential is a disdain for corruption, distorting facts in this manner all in a bid to protect Lawal--who is a member of the cabal within the Presidency--is disheartening.
"It is shocking that such a letter can come from the Presidency with such misinformation and outright distortion", Sani lamented.
Unfortunately, this entire scenario reminds Nigerians of the days when former President Goodluck Jonathan defended the likes of Stella Oduah, Abba Moro and Diezani Alison-Madueke in the face of mounting corruption allegations against them.
Buhari who owed his election to a promise to change the way government is run, is unfortunately taking several leaves off the Jonathan playbook.
Acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, has also been accused of corrupt enrichment. But on Tuesday, Buhari resubmitted his name to the Senate for screening.
No one says Magu and Lawal are guilty of corruption, but commonsense says you ask the indicted officials to step aside from their duty posts pending the conclusion of invetsigations.
A President who promised to crack down on official graft should have at least asked the EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) or Police to investigate these guys, not write a letter to the Senate absolving them of any wrongdoing.
With his action this week, the President jeopardised future investigations into these criminal cases.
There is also the case of Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, who has been accused of building mansions from the meager returns of a snake farm.
The President's Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, has also been accused of corrupt practices.
But Buhari continues to look the other way as allegations of corruption besmirch members of his team and by extension, himself.
In his State of the Nation address a couple of weeks ago, renown Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly,Tunde Bakare, accused Buhari of fighting corruption with "kid gloves".
Bakare also accused Buhari of shielding corrupt members of his kitchen cabinet.
"It is my considered opinion that we are still fighting corruption – our nation’s perennial archenemy – with kid gloves. If we are fighting corruption, let us remove the kid gloves", Bakare snarled from the pulpit.
Bakare had added that "Square pegs in round holes must be removed or put in appropriate places; the wicked who surround the righteous must be led away from the presence of the king".
It was an admonition from a man who boasts close ties to the President.
In Buhari's palace, the wicked continue to rule the roost.
President Buhari has often been accused of waging a selective anti-graft war.
On Tuesday, January 24, 2017, the President proved his critics right.
It was the day Buhari killed his anti-graft campaign and threw up everything we thought he stood for, as a lie.
Last Tuesday, Buhari's vaunted anti-corruption war suffered one huge setback thanks to the Commander-In-Chief himself.
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