By Yinka Odumakin
APART from court jesters, palace comedians and lick-spittle fake intellectuals mouthing anti-corruption nonsense, serious-minded Nigerians know that what we have witnessed in the county in almost four years is mere anti-corruption propaganda nicknamed anti-corruption war.
When General Muhammadu Buhari appeared in Chatham House London in February 2015, he harped so strongly on fighting corruption if elected President. “In the face of dwindling revenues, a good place to start the repositioning of Nigeria’s economy is to swiftly tackle two ills that have ballooned under the present administration: waste and corruption,” he said.
“And in doing this, I will, if elected, lead the way with the force of personal example,” he added with all the conviction he could muster. The “personal example” was reinforced when he declared elsewhere that he was going to make his assets declaration public. We are yet to have that document three months to the end of his four-year tenure.
Wonder of the world
Apart from that, the APC on which platform General Buhari ran for the 2015 elections certainly has its own share of those the public suspect to be corrupt. I recall him telling me and another person in 2011 that “people will question my integrity “ if he had anything to do with one of such men.
So, some of us were waiting for the eighth wonder of the world to see him fight corruption riding on the backs of these APC members.
On assumption of office, the President was free with the rhetoric against corruption at all fora locally and internationally, de-branding the country here and there. The EFCC moved swiftly against many opposition politicians accused of corruption with many unwary applauding that the Augean stable was about to be cleansed.
What was a seeming move against corrupt practices soon became a propaganda war. The EFCC started brandishing questionable figures of “loot recovery” with Lai Mohammed publishing “looters list” now and then.
It didn’t take long for many of the “looters” to get the message. They started moving into the ruling party, having realised that once they joined the President’s party and hold the broom, it is a season of “Passover”. It took the Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to officially proclaim thus: “once you join our party, your sins are forgiven “.
This was the reason why it took several months to ease out Babachir Lawal who allegedly awarded a government contract worth several millions of Naira to his own firm to cut grass. Then came the Maina saga, the Yussuf fellow at NHIS, the Ganduje bribery saga and several other corruption scandals swept by the “broom” under the carpet.
But perhaps the greatest expose of the farce of the anti-corruption propaganda of the administration was the image that went viral of two bullion vans driving into the residence of the National Leader of the APC and co-chairman of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The former Lagos State Governor’s defense of the incident was a clear demonstration that the whole anti-corruption war is a mere political joke. When asked to explain this, he said: “Bullion vans? Are those ballot paper? Excuse me, is it my money or government money? I don’t work for government, I am not in [any] agency of government. Let anybody come out to say I have taken any contract from the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in the last five years.
“They should prove it. I am on my own, and I am committed to my party. So, even if I have money to spend in my premises, what is your headache? I don’t represent any agency of government and I have money to spend; if I have money, if I like, I give it to the people free of charge. As long it’s not to buy votes.
“So, who are those watching my house and looking at bullion vans? They must be mischief makers; they report falsehood, their lies are numerous, and it’s because they are jobless”. Tinubu was the governor of Lagos State for eight years and has been a political godfather in the state for another 12 years.
Now compare his bullion vans defense to the case of the arrest by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of Uyi Giwa Osagie, the lawyer of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the presidential candidate of the PDP for alleged money laundering on the eve of the botched February 16 presidential polls.
Osagie was arrested following the arrest of Alhaji Abdullahi Usman, a BDC owner based in Lagos, who was caught ferrying $2 million by air from Abuja to Lagos. When the money was intercepted by EFCC, Usman, who owns Hasbunallahu BDC LTD, confessed that Uyi paid naira into his account. He converted it to $2 million notes and ferried to Lagos, and on arrival took same to Keystone Bank.
There was no law that makes transfer of money, which Uyi did, a crime. Unlike Tinubu he is not even a politician and has not been said to be in government or a government contractor. The money he transferred is not in any way alleged to be government money.
Tinubu can boast of his right to have bullion vans moving into his house with cash while Uyi was incarcerated for legally transferring money through a bank with his crime being that he is a lawyer to Atiku. Buhari’s Animal Farm!
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