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Civil Society Colaition, OneVoice has said the obvious double standard of President Mohamadu Buhari in handling issues of alledged corruption involving members of his team, insorbodination, rampaging Fulani herds men, and unresponsive leadership have further dampen the hopes of millions of Nigerians.
Media Chairman of OneVoice Coalition, Pastor Adedeji Adeleye said this during a Media Parley Organized by OneVoice Coalition at the Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG), Ilupeju Lagos, Thursday November 23, 2017.
Mr Adeleye whose paper entitled “BUHARI, HIS MEN AND HIS THREE CARDINAL PROGRAMMES A CRITICAL ASSESSMENT”, noted that two and half years of Buhari’s government has shown that his men who were alledged to be involved in corruption are being shielded from justics.
“Corruption is not just stealing money alone. It is abuse of office. Abuse of power. Abuse of due process,” he said.
He said instances where the President’s key office holders were seen to be acting alone and without regard to the head of state is an example of leadership crisis, adding that example is that of Lawal Musa Daura, Director General of the Directorate of State Security Serrvice (DSS), who sent his men to baricade the house of former DSS DG, Mr. Ita Ekpenyong house for 9 hours and prevented EFCC from effecting his arrest. It is a case of two members of a same government issuing orders and counter orders, he said.
In a passionate presentation, he explained that ”when President Muhammadu Buhari took over on May 29, 2015, he said Nigerians were full of high hopes and expectations that he was going to fix many aspects of the nation requiring quick fixes. “Unfortunately, the President busted the bubbles of hopes and expectations of many Nigerians: First, it took him three months to appoint his own aides and ended up appointing some bad officials whose integrity have been dented. Whereas soon after he was sworn in as President, General Olusegun Obasanjo released his first appointments on the same day of May 29, 1999. And no one could fault Obasanjo’s choice of key aides: General Mohammed as Chief of Staff; General Gusau as NSA; Chief Ekaette as SGF; Col. Areh as DG of SSS, among others.”
“However, it took 166 days for Buhari to form his cabinet. Does it mean for more than ten years that he was contesting to be president he did not have a plan let alone a team to help him carry out his plan? He admitted that he gave directive for boards to be reconstituted since October 2015 but that directive is yet to be carried out. He appears to, not only over delegate his presidential powers but apparently abdicates his responsibility too.”
In addition, “it took President Buhari 14 months for his government to finally unveil its medium-term economic strategy, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP). Not to mention the lack of improvement in the now-customary practice of delayed budget presentations (and, therefore, approvals). By all means, the Buhari administration can, so far, only be described as taking a bad situation and making it worse. For this reason, continued attempts to paint the government as a victim of a set of unfortunate circumstances are, at most, disingenuous.
During the 2015 general elections, President Buhari and the APC had made a number of promises, out of which three key themes stood out: improving Nigeria’s security environment; tackling corruption; and economic reforms. The record appears more mixed, albeit more skewed towards underperformance.”
On the issues of security he said, when Buhari came into office, Nigeria’s most pressing security challenges were the menace of Fulani herdsmen rampaging farmlands in Benue, Nassarawa and Enugu States as well as some parts of Ondo, Ekiti and Kogi States; the Niger Delta militants and Boko Haram. While government was able to free many of the Chibok girls and also contain and diminish the Boko Haram insurgency through combination of factors (intelligence gathering, superior weaponry, assistance from international community, surrender by many insurgents etc), the fight is yet from over. Sporadic suicide bombing still take place here and there in Bornu, Adamawa and Yobe States. Government cannot claim ignorance of this loss of lives and properties. Given the current situation, what seems debatable however is whether Buhari’s government can be given a big pass mark on the war against Boko Haram.
The menace of Fulani herdsmen under the national association called Miyyetti Allah. Using AK 47 and other dangerous weapons, these herdsmen have ravaged and decimated farmlands in Benue, Nassarawa and Enugu States destroying houses and killing thousands of people. Yet, government did not see the compelling need to arrest and prosecute them. Audu Ogbe, minister of agriculture (along with other Nigerians) suggested establishment of cattle ranches (whereby grasses will be imported from Brazil & other Latin American countries), Miyyetti Allah rejected it, insisting that they prefer to continue to ravage farmlands in Nigeria and nothing can be done about it. Benue State has passed ‘Anti-grazing law’, Miyyetti Allah is threatening fire. President has refused to say a word against it. No arrest has been made so far.
He explained that President Buhari’s much-lauded war on corruption is one area in which his hard-core supporters continue to defend him. In many respects, the defence is entirely understandable: at no point since its establishment in 2003 has the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) been seen to be so active in pursuing alleged perpetrators of graft as it is at present. Yet, there has been no high profile conviction till date. We only hear about arrest, interim forfeitures of huge cash and properties but no conviction.Within these lie many of the president’s men who ought to have been shown the way out of government if it were to be Europe and United States. For example, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice Malami had his hands dirty in many corrupt cases: Early this year, he forced the EFCC to transfer the case-file of the Malabu Oil deals to his office. Ever since, the case-file is gathering dust in his office shelf without any further action from him. Secondly, he was found to have given clearance to Abdulrasheed Maina (wanted by EFCC since 2015) a former deputy director pension commission to resume as a director in the federal ministry of interior. Malami admitted to the Senate sub-committee probing this Maina-gate that he acted in consultation with Aba-Kyari Chief of Staff to President Buhari and Minister of Interior General Danbazzau. In all of these, President Buhari pretended not to know what is going on.
No person has been indicted or fired for this terrible embarrassment to the administration. It is business as usual. ” Another case was the conflict between minister of state for petroleum resources Kackwu and NNPC GMD Baru. DG of DSS (Daura)’s letter to the Senate against the confirmation of Ibrahim Magu as EFCC chairman. Babachir Lawal/Ayodele Oke’s corruption charges”, he said all all cases in hand.
It must be stressed here that Maina was not the first person who was fired for corruption but brought back to government. Here are few ones: “AbdulRahman Danbazzau was fired as chief of army staff for corrupt practices in arms purchase. Instead of dropping him, Buhari appointed him as minister of interior. Mohammed Barkindo was removed as NNPC MD by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua for stealing huge kickbacks from oil and gas. He was sponsored by the government as Secretary General of OPEC. Assistant Commissioner of Police Zakari Bui, a man accused and dismissed for aiding Boko Haram kingpin kabiru Sokoto to escape from detention, was reinstated and promoted by the present Administration. Ahmed Gambo Saleh, Registrar of the Supreme Court, He stole N2.2bn belonging to the Supreme court and was caught red handed and fired. Today Ahmed Gambo Saleh has been appointed the secretary of the committee monitoring corruption trials. Timipre Sylva has over 46 houses seized by the federal government which have now been returned to him because he is an APC stalwart.”
According to him, MDAs Boards are yet to be constituted for almost all the federal agencies for almost 3 years now. Is it that the President doesn’t know or doesn’t care? For over two years even ambassadors to various countries are just reporting. What does it take to make appointments in Nigeria, a country that is full of talents across virtually local government in the country?Permanent Secretaries, Executive Secretaries, Heads of Agencies and Directors alongside their Deputies in Federal Government are the richest and owners of expensive houses and hotels in FCT & beyond. Many of them own filling Stations and businesses littered around the country. These businesses were established from stolen funds that were released for projects meant to impact on the lives of the common man. These set of people have also developed the culture of not allowing any of their children to school in Nigeria. They are draining our national wealth to other countries in the name of giving their children good education.These individuals have taken over the contractors’ space. They incorporate businesses from their own offices without going to Corporate Affairs Commission. They award contracts to themselves and their cronies. In order to cover their tracks, they work in synergy in the same manner the State Governors do under Governors Forum. They are so powerful that they have formed layers of protection under the guise of Association of serving PS, Directors, Deputy Directors, etc which can be used to save anyone of them that fall into the dragnet of Anti-graft Agencies. This is because, the fall of one of them always expose many others. With their counterparts at state level, they are the custodians of 85% of our Annual Budget releases because they are the Chief Accounting Officers of all the MDAs. They are good in assisting the thieving politicians at the Ministries and State Government. For all the huge number of failed projects, abandoned and unexecuted projects, this set of people have the copies of every document and the figures used under their care, For all the stolen or missing trillions of Naira in this country, they aided the thieves and also took their own share. The level of their desperation is such that they can kill even the President just to maintain their lifestyle. If Nigeria will be great, this people must be checked. This is to say corruption in MDAs is far greater than any other Arm of Government. We the people must fight it now. We must expose them now
Economic Reforms Because of the massive crash of crude oil prices, Buhari’s government was compelled to embark on massive economic diversification in Agriculture and solid minerals. It made bold attempts in reducing youth unemployment through its N-power programmes, and these are yielding good results.
OneVoice he said, “as civil society professionals and practitioners, ”we are more concerned with the impact of government policies, activities and programmes on the ordinary citizens. More often than not, they bear the full consequences of harsh policies. Our position therefore is from this perspective.We are non-state actors and therefore we are going to assess President Buhari within the governance space.”