By LADESOPE LADELOKUN
President Muhammadu Buhari made no mistake when he said if we fail to kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria. It is not disputable that the hydra-headed monster has done incalculable damage to virtually every facet of our national life. Little wonder, millions of Nigerians did not pass up the opportunity to elect President Buhari who is popular for his integrity and tough anti-corruption stance, to lead a total war against the vermin called corruption.
Buhari left no one in doubt about his major task in the run-up to the last general elections. At every stop during the campaigns, he trumpeted his desire to crush the monster that has been a barrier to our journey to development.
Expectedly, lovers of free money and denizens of graft became unsettled and many developed apoplexy at the mention of his name. Some even vowed to go on exile should Buhari become the President. Others had premonitory dreams about feeding their loved ones in prisons. And the fear of Buhari became the beginning of wisdom for financial terrorists.
Now that Buhari is president, there is no doubt the war against corruption has begun. It is evident in the amount of cash and property recovered by the nation’s anti-corruption bodies. And, for the first time, those who misapplied or misappropriated public funds, thinking that the day of reckoning will never come in their lifetime now know what hit them. Even the military is not spared as long hidden skeletons are excavated and dossiers of iniquity opened.
But, many have expressed concern about the nature of President Buhari’s anti-corruption war despite the success it has so far recorded. Buhari is accused in some quarters of fighting a selective war. Some of these accusations range from the ridiculous to the mundane. If Buhari were not persecuting those alleged to have soiled their hands because they are Christians, it would be because their grand uncle killed Buhari’s granduncle’s cows. But one cannot in all honesty dismiss all the opinions about Buhari’s anti-corruption war as mere lamentations of the tribe of wailers.
Curiously, one wonders why the illegal recruitment at the CBN has been allowed to stand despite the hue and cry that greeted it. Sons, daughters and relatives of the rich and mighty, especially the President’s friends, got engaged by the CBN without due process.
Just as the dust raised by irregular CBN recruitment was settling, the FIRS secretly employed 350 new staff. Like that of the CBN, it was neither advertised nor approved by the CBN. It was neither advertised no approved by the Federal Character Commission as the service rules stipulate. What is even more irritating is the lame argument by the CBN that they were ‘targeted recruitments’.
And I ask, what are the sins of the ordinary man that makes it a taboo for him to be ‘targeted’ for plum positions? Are less privileged Nigerians only meant to be shepherded to polling booths on election day to give expression to the dream and aspirations of ambitious politicians?
Away from the hoopla generated by irregular recruitments, one issue many Nigerians have expressed dissatisfaction about is its handling of the corruption allegations leveled by an online news portal against the Chief of Army Staff ( COAS ), Gen. Tukur Buratai. Buratai was accused of buying mansions worth N120m in Dubai. Expectedly, many became mathematicians as they got busy with their calculators with the sole aim of calculating Buratai’s income since he joined the army till date. And, the popular verdict in the court of public opinion is that Buratai couldn’t have purchased his Dubai mansion from his legitmate savings as claimed by the army
With documents of illicit transactions allegedly carried out by Buratai that using fronts suffusing the cyberspace, the least that is expected of the nation’s anti-corruption bodies is to swing into action with a view to ascertaining the veracity of the allegations leveled against him. Not the feeble clearance and defence by the Federal Government and the Nigerian Army in respect of the corruption allegations hanging over his head. The chief locust that messes up our collective fabric cannot be killed if the nation’s anti-corruption bodies choose to see with one eye. It is gratifying that the president says he belongs to everyone and belongs to no one. To be fair, nothing suggests that Mr. President would shield his ministers or army chiefs or party members from prosecution. But, silence in the face of brazen nepotism- which is infact corruption- and allowing it to stand as witnessed in the case of illegal recruitments could send the wrong signal to the children of corruption and make a mockery of the war against graft
Every appearance of evil must be rejected and shot down. Let the searchlight of the nation’s anti-corruption agencies be beamed the way of the broom, the umbrella and all those whose hands are soiled, no matter whose ox is gored.
Ladelokun writes from Ogun State