Presidential Corruption: Buhari Is More Of The Same, By Erasmus Ikhide

By Erasmus Ikhide,

The cloud around President Muhammadu Buhari’s incorruptibility is gradually disappearing with the emergent of Dr. Ibe Kachikwu’s leaked letter to him on the rot in the nation’s cash cow called Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC. Buhari’s thinning claim to integrity and invisibility as a-no-nonsense anti-corruption Czar now lies on how he wades the big stick or buckles under the weight of $25 billion contract-scam-sleaze.

Dr. Kachikwu’s letter, aside from under the table dealings and pervasive corruption, has rested any doubts as to whether or not President Buhari qualifies to continue to hold the office of the President beyond 2019. If a minister of such a critical sector of the economy that accounts for more than 80 percent of national earnings can’t access the president to brief him about national and international oil transactions on a daily or weekly basis, then Nigeria has gone to the dogs. It’s revolting that those who didn’t contest or canvass for Nigerian votes in 2015 presidential election and were never voted for, are the ones ruling the country by default.

Pathetic Kachickwu groaned: “I would have wanted to come personally after receiving you at the airport to facilitate with you and discuss matters herein contained, however, I have been unable to secure an appointment to see you despite very many attempts.”

There is no the question that President Buhari’s delicate health is pretty rubbing him off his tenacity of purpose and his supposed prudent presidency. It could even be counterfactual to suppose that a Buhari in a choreographed corrupt democracy as such Nigerian’s, a president caged by cabals, such Babarchir, and Abba Kyari will make any difference or desired change possible.

Aside from that, the petroleum minister’s lamentation of insubordination on the part of Dr. Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of NNPC and the associated fraud-for-contract-scam shows that what has happened between former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and President Muhammadu Buhari’s government is a mere change of corruption baton in the race to pauperized Nigerians.

The damning revelation that the following major contracts were never reviewed by or discussed with the Board of NNPC like the Crude Term contracts- valued at over $10bn, the DSDP contracts- value over $5bn, the AKK pipeline contract- value approximately $3bn, various financing allocation funding contracts with the NOCs – value over $3bn, various NPDC production service contracts- valued at over $3bn–$4bn, has drilled a damnable hole in the anti-corruption crusade of President Buhari’s government.

Before Kachikwu’s belated disclosure, there have been allegations of hundreds of several million of crude oil being loaded off Nigeria territorial waters every day that goes to the accounts of those fronting for President Buhari’s cabals in the oil sector. “Apart from NLNG gas which is being shipped away illegally at the snap of the fingers, the oil fields from 1 Okono field, US AN field, Mobile field, EA field, Boga field, Tujar, Bavani PSO and Qua Iboe PSO, these Aso Rock hawks are abound everywhere, representing one cabal after another”, says the source. He countered that the claims that only federal government does crude oil lifting since the exit of former President Goodluck Jonathan is false.

This is not the first time President Buhari’s make-believe anti-corruption posture will go through credibility test. In the early life of this administration, President Muhammad Buhari received concrete evidence that his Chief of Staff (CoS), Abba Kyari, took N500m from operators of MTN to help the telecommunications giant mitigate the fine imposed on it by the federal government. Sadly, while the MTN directors who were in the game of shortchanging Nigerians were sacked when the story broke out, Mr. Abba Kyari still carries on as President Buhari’s Chief (Cabal) of Staff. The man was not even invited for interrogation, let alone being arrested and prosecuted.

It has been revealed that the evidence of Kyari corrupt practices was presented to President Buhari several times including during the Sallah holiday. The mind-boggling revelation is one of the mounting allegations of corruption involving members of the top echelon of President Buhari’s administration. Confronted with the evidence, the CoS reportedly claimed he was helping the All Progressives Congress party to raise funds for the gubernatorial election in Bayelsa State, to which the president is said to have asked him if he was the party chairman, but did not relieve him of his post. Abba Kyari allegedly collected money from Jide Omokore, a shady businessman who was massively involved in corruption in the oil sector in President Jonathan’s administration. Following acceptance of the money, Mr. Kyari reportedly took Mr. Omokore twice to meet President Buhari to enable the businessman to make a promise to refund some of the funds before he was arrested by the EFCC.

Over time, President Buhari has been known to be providing cover for the corrupt inner circle of his government who have been exposed as engaging in brazen cases of corruption. On many occasions, they reportedly got members of President Buhari’s office to absolve them of any “wrongdoing”. The Chief of Army Staff, Yusuf Buratai, was found to have used Nigerian Army funds to purchase homes in Dubai.

Also, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Abdulrahman Dambazau, bought homes for millions of dollars in Boston in the United States; Several other aides and officials within the government have been exposed for involvement in illegal employments and forgery of age and certificates. As in the case of Mr. Kyari, they have so far been shielded by President Buhari. Speaking earlier to journalists in Daura, his hometown, the president said his “anti-corruption war” was being implemented on the basis of justice and fairness.

The hypocrisy surrounding President Buhari’s anti-corruption gambit becomes obvious when the former Secretary to the Federal Government, SGF, Babachir Lawal was exposed for awarding grass cutting contract to a company for which he’s a director. Babachir was indicted for awarding a contract to his own company to clear “invasive plant species” in a small IDP camp for N200 million, more than a quarter of the money allocated to feed displaced persons!

President Buhari’s response was less charitable in his letter to the Senate, absorbing the SGF of any wrongdoing. In his reaction conveyed through the letter read by Mr. Saraki, President Buhari said the SGF was not given a fair hearing before the indictment. Mr. Buhari said neither the SGF nor the company said to have been used to perpetrate the alleged illegality was invited by the Shehu Sani-committee.

He also said the report of the committee was signed by three of the nine members of the ad hoc committee, thus making its report a minority report. Consequently, the president said he had no choice than to act against Mr. Lawal as canvassed by the Senate.

Nigerians are yet to know the depth of corruption in the Buhari-led administration as a result of his troubled ill-health. Neither are we aware of the level of rot in the NNPC. If President Buhari’s secret meeting with Dr. Ibe Kachikwu today in Aso Rock is anything to go by, Nigerian and Nigerians are further reduced to a slave plantation or social mutants, who hear, see but their voices remain stolen.

Whatever it’s worth, Nigeria’s electorate is fervently waiting for denunciation, suspension, investigation and outright punishment for a roguish GMD of NNPC who sees himself as a demigod, representing an ailing president from his own region of the country. That’s the only way President Muhammadu Buhari can wash his hands off the sleaze.

Erasmus, A Public Affairs Analyst writes from Lagos.

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