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Why Nigeria may be fantastically corrupt under Buhari

Posted on 21 January 2018 | 3:23 pm by

President Buhari's fight against corruption is yet to yield dividends

I wasn't surprised that President Buhari's media team would roll out every strategy, including lying to themselves, to defend the presidency over the damning assertion of the then British Prime Minister, David Cameron that Nigeria, alongside Afghanistan, was "fantastically corrupt."

And I believe the senior special assistant to Buhari on media and publicity, Garba Shehu spearheaded that team. No doubt, it is their job defend the Buhari government including lying to the populace. It's a shame! What I find appalling, however, is the gross insincerity of Nigerian public office holders- a situation where black is called white and two added to five automatically equals twenty-five.

Read: How Jonathan saved President Buhari

Recall that the Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Ibe Kachikwu had on 23rd March, 2016, stated he was not a "magician" to make the fuel queues at fuel stations disappear and Nigerians should expect the fuel scarcity situation to linger on until May same year. But the Minister was summoned before the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream on Monday, 27th March, 2016 to explain why the scarcity had continued to linger as well as give a date the problem would be resolved permanently.

The Minister, before the Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, made a quick u-turn and promised the Senate and Nigerians the problem was going to be over in seven days. Nigerians were excited at that moment but later found that the Minister's assurance was devoid of sincerity. The fuel scarcity cum price hike continue to persist till weeks after and today we clearly have the same situation in our hands.

Now, with the then British Prime Minister, David Cameron stating in a "recorded" conversation, with the Queen at Buckingham Palace, that Afghanistan and Nigeria were "fantastically corrupt" nations, President Buhari's media team reacted to the PM's assertion claiming to be "shocked and embarrassed." Why are they surprised?

Buhari with APC national leader, Tinubu

President Buhari's remarks during a speech at the 70th session of the United Nations Assembly in New York on 29th September, 2015, once again reaffirmed his "government's unwavering commitment to fight corruption." In the speech, the Nigerian leader also described corruption as a "hydra- headed monster" which threatened the security of countries and "does not differentiate between developed and developing countries". Doesn't these indicate that Nigeria is indeed corrupt?

Even under Mr Buhari's watch, we have seen reasons to believe that those in his payroll may be "fantastically corrupt." The hanky-panky played out between the Senate and the Executive as regards the 2016 Budget that was declared missing by the Senate lends credit to the fact that corruption lurks around in this democratic dispensation.

Read: Mathias Tsado and the challenge to fix Nigeria's economy

The distinguished senators said they suspected the presidency secretly withdrew the documents for some modification. The withdrawal of the budget from the Senate, without the presidency prior writing the Upper Chamber to inform the Senators of their decision to do so, derailed of due process and the world was watching as this drama unfolded.

How do you explain the Lagos-Calabar railway saga that was purportedly withdrawn or not included in the 2016 Budget?

The Senate blamed the Minister of Transport, Mr Rotimi Amaechi for not including the project in their budget proposal submitted to the National Assembly by the Mr Buhari whereas Amaechi was accusing the law making body of erroneously removing the Lagos-Calabar railway project. Truth is corruption breeds mutual distrust and it runs high in the strata of Nigerian ruling elites.

Just when the 2016 appropriation bill was passed into law by President Buhari, the former military dictator explained on a radio programme reasons for the delay in approving the budget. The budget was padded and Mr Buhari was honest to accept that it was the first he was hearing of padding. "The National Assembly removed our projects and replaced it with theirs," he stated. Is this in concomitant with the tenets of due process? What corrupt act could be greater this?

It is time we tell ourselves the truth no matter whose ego is bruised.

David Cameron is right. Nigeria is "fantastically corrupt."



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