The frequency of scandals bedeviling the Muhammadu Buhari administration in recent times would require an app to keep track of them. It certainly is beyond human capacity to do so.
While Nigerians were yet to grapple with the dirty details coming from the $25bn NNPC saga and the obvious crass lack of corporate governance that reigns there, the putrefying news came of Abdulrasheed Maina’s reabsorption and double promotion to the grade of a director after absconding from duty for four years and being on the wanted list of security agencies for alleged embezzlement of pension funds running into billions of naira.
Sadly, President Muhammadu Buhari was not only aware of the whole mess but also ignored warnings against such moves.
The question Nigerians are asking is how did a wanted man who absconded from duty and fled the country four years ago under the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan in a bid to evade our laws not only find his way back into the country but also got reabsorbed and rewarded with double promotion by the Buhari government?
The blame trade between the Buhari government officials over who was responsible only further exposes the fact that this administration is peopled by “fugithieves” who are willing, eager, ready and able to conspire with criminals to dupe us of our scarce commonwealth, subvert our laws and ridicule our system while blaming others for their self-inflicted woes and audacious criminal activities.
The revelation by Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs Eyo-Itta, that she warned the president about the implications of recalling and reabsorbing Maina into the civil service but that the president paid no attention, confirms to the whole world what many doubters have always known about Buhari: a pretender in the avowed fight against corruption!
This also confirms what Maina’s family said earlier on that it was the presidency that actually invited Maina to come help them in their “Change Agenda”. It is only a government of fugitives that would surreptitiously invite a fugitive to come help them achieve their pre-election campaign promises.
What this means is that APC’s pre-election anti-corruption campaign promises that were flaunted and announced at every given opportunity with pomp and circumstance were conceived in deceit, packaged in sophistry, sold in fallacy and delivered in treachery!
To add salt to the injuries their deceitful acts have caused Nigerians, they deliberately allowed the man to escape a second time after he was exposed by the media and the rage of Nigerians that followed, only for the EFCC to embark on a charade of sealing the fugitive’s properties shortly after they made way for him to go underground. The evil machinations and cover-ups of these set of “executhieves” will leave even the devil speechless!
Before his recent sack necessitated by the Maina saga, Babachir Lawal, the immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation had asked, “which presidency?” in response to a question by journalists on reports of sanctions against him following his “grass-cutting” scandal. That rhetoric simply implied that no one in the presidency could sanction him since, it was assumed, they were all working in cahoots to defraud the IDPs. Although he has just been sacked, he is yet to be arrested by any of the relevant agencies and may remain free until Nigerians embark on another round of outrage.
Let us not forget that the Senate had investigated him and declared that he had a case to answer. But as usual, the presidency covered up for him until they cracked under pressure from both the senate and the generality of Nigerians as they were forced to set up an investigative panel headed by another “fugithief”, the minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, who is known in almost all quarters to have had a knack for using his exalted office to clear criminal friends and associates of the presidency but persecute with hateful venom innocent opposition voices.
That panel, as expected, cleared Babachir Lawal, claiming he had done nothing wrong. Buhari subsequently gave the clearance a presidential seal and also put same in writing to the senate. But outrage from Nigerians greeted the clearance which led to the formation of another committee whose report obviously found Lawal guilty and the president was subsequently forced to suspend and sack him long after.
But for the insistence of Nigerians, one of Buhari’s “fugithieves”, the minister of Justice, would have used, yet, his office to clear a “co-fugithief” in government.
Such clearance of Buhari’s criminal friends in government is true to type.
Buhari once said that the late General Sani Abacha never looted the nation’s treasury, yet, the Buhari administration is not only aggressively pursuing the return of Abacha’s loots in foreign lands but is also actually receiving same from Switzerland and other places. It takes a “fugithief” to clear a “fugithief”!
So, rather than the EFCC or other relevant security agencies arrest and prosecute Lawal, he insults our sensibilities by frolicking around as if he is a candidate for canonization because he enjoys the president’s protection.
When the president ordered the probe of arms procurement in the military from 2007 to 2015, reports had it that Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau, current minister of interior, was among the former officers indicted in the probe. But in order to protect one of their own, the presidency quickly reduced the period of the probe report to 2010 – 2015, as Dambazau, one of the nation’s chief “fugithieves” was chief of army staff between 2008 – 2010.
Another “fugithief” in the Buhari presidency is Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of EFCC. Recall that the DSS had written a damning detailed report with incontrovertible evidence incriminating him in several shady deals on whose strength the senate refused to confirm him. But as usual, Magu is still at his job because he enjoys the protection of Mr President. Today, the EFCC is accusing the cabal in the presidency of trying to buy properties in foreign lands in Magu’s name in order to implicate him.
The DSS, the EFCC, Magu, and “the cabal” all belong to the same presidency. That is how inchoate, incoherent, rudderless and dirty this presidency is!
However, the same presidency has turned around to point accusing fingers at the PDP in all of this mess as if the ministers of justice, and interior are PDP members; or, as if the police, the immigration and similar security agencies are under the control of PDP; or, as if Babachir Lawal has not been a long time ally of Buhari; or, as if Ibrahim Magu is not an appointee of the current president.
No matter how much Buahri and his co-travellers of “fugithieves” try to cover their tracks, they have been exposed for who they really are: hypocrites who “are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean”.
Surely, this Buhari presidency stinks. Sadly, for Nigerians, it is not yet uhuru!
Jude Ndukwe is a political analyst who lives and works in Abuja, Nigeria. He is a member of The Trent’s Elite Columnists. His column is published every Friday. He tweets from @stjudendukwe.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.