By Joe Igbokwe
“I think what we are concerned about is the process. It is no longer a military regime and under our existing laws, everybody is innocent until proven guilty.” – Bishop Kukah
This is a statement credited to the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Dioceses, Bishop Hassan Kukah, when the Peace Committee for the 2015 general elections led by the former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, visited President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, August 11th. As it were, I found nothing wrong in the Peace Committee visiting the President, because any credible group is free to visit the President since the President is for everybody and for nobody in particular. What I am worried about is the timing and the motive of the visit. I am deeply worried about the purpose of this visit. Is it to shield some people from the investigations on corruption going in almost every critical sector of our economy? Is it to try to circumvent a clinical process being put in place to put things in order in Nigeria? Is it to try to slow down President Buharis’s agenda to rid Nigeria of corruption? Is it an attempt to intimidate the President to slow down and let the corrupt who pillaged and plundered our common patrimony to go scot-free? Is it blackmail to render nugatory APC’s agenda to bring the change it promised Nigerians? Are the Peace Committee members not aware of the sordid roles some members of the committee played during President Jonathan’s tenure? Why these crude interventions at a time like this? Is the Peace Committee working to protect Jonathan and his cronies and shield them from facing the jury? When has it become an offense to investigate past leaders and bring them to book if necessary? What is the meaning of this dangerous mediation at a time like this? A friend tells me that the rampancy of corruption in Nigeria is a function of low Intelligent Quotient (IQ) on the part of all of us. Can the members of the Peace Committee be exonerated?
Please listen to Bishop Kukah’s second sentence: “Again, our commitment is not to intimidate or fight anybody, the former President’s commitment and what he did still remains spectacular and I think that President Buhari himself appreciates that. So our effort really is to make sure that the right thing is done.” Now, what is this spectacular thing that the former President Jonathan did? To preside over a corrupt empire never known in the history of Nigeria, to decimate and desecrate the political decision to rotate power between the North and South and consequently put the nation in danger, to accept that he blew billions of dollars and pounds in an election he was bound to lose because the figures were not in his favor. He did something spectacular by accepting defeat in an election he lost fair and square? He did something spectacular by allowing every Tom, Dick, and Harry including his wife to declare war on our national till?
Let the truth be told: former President Jonathan was defeated black and blue, left and right, front and back, and up and down. Eleven small states in the South-South and South-East would not have defeated Twenty-Five States from the South-West, North-West, North-East, and North-Central. There was no way two small zones would have defeated four big zones in that crucial elections. Therefore there was nothing spectacular about accepting defeat. He had no choice that to hand over and bow out. He could not have contested elections in 2011. He could not have contested again in 2015. Former president Jonathan’s ambition to rule Nigeria for 10 years plus OBJ’s 8 years put Nigeria in great danger. In fact it put a knife on things that have held us together. It divided the country, and it was a threat to national unity.
It is therefore worrisome and unacceptable for the members of the Peace Committee to try to blackmail and intimidate APC and President Buhari in their strong desire and determination to fulfill what the party promised Nigerians. APC promised Nigerians to fight corruption, impunity, and lawlessness. APC promised to restore sanity and progress in the land. APC promised to do things differently and change the way we think, the way we reason, the way we act, the way we plan, and the way we work. APC promised to plug all the loopholes and stop all the leakages within the system. APC promised to stop the oil thieves and chase the saboteurs away from the power sector and NNPC. APC cannot achieve all this without the required political will, courage and strong leadership. The task of rebuilding and repositioning Nigeria is a task that must be done and the president must be encouraged to go the whole hog. Have we suddenly forgotten what President Buhari went through in the cause of the campaign? Have we forgotten all the hate campaigns against candidate Buhari? Have we forgotten the certificate issue, his health issue, and his age issue? What did the Peace Committee do? They said Buhari would not rule Nigeria. They said he is brain dead. They said he has no certificate. They said he is not electable. They said he would die in office. They abused his family. They said APC would not survive till October 2014. They said Nigeria would be set on fire if Jonathan loses.
Now that God has made Buhari president, please let us allow him to work. There are some faces I saw in the Peace Committee that send strong signals to me that it is former President Jonathan’s show. An evil spirit visited the house in the night and the child died in the morning. We know better. President Buhari should be allowed to do the work God wants him to do. God brought this President in the saddle to do what he is doing now. They did everything humanly possible to stop him but he defeated them all. I know that the election losers are still very angry, and are yet to come to terms on what hit them, but the mission was accomplished. I am told that old ways will not open new doors. PDP posed an existential threat to Nigeria while the bazaar lasted.
Now we have a new order. This is a new Nigeria. Please allow President Buhari to fight corruption and restore sanity in the land.
Joe Igbokwe, Lagos