By Ado Adamu
The general election is just weeks away and campaigning by political parties and their candidates are in full swing. The presidential election is undoubtedly between the incumbent, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC). The election boils down to the choice between continuity in office, thus, consolidating on the gains and achievements made while in office by the incumbent or the “supposed” change the opposition candidate and his party is currently preaching.
Among all his campaign promises, a salient issue which has bedeviled our nation over the years, and has been consistent with Gen. Buhari, is the issue of corruption. Since the beginning of his campaign, the presidential candidate of the APC has consistently stated that he will fight corruption, all corrupt practices and abuse of public offices if he becomes the President. This anti-corruption stance has undoubtedly garnered him some followers. one of his personal attribute is his famous “uncorrupt” posture and astuteness. However, without undue sentiments and prejudice, let’s objectively examine if the former General can indeed fight corruption as he passionately states during his campaigns:
• Anti-corruption being the core of his manifesto, GMB is yet to explain the methodology he is going to employ in this seeming arduous fight against corruption. How is he going to achieve this ?. Thus far, GMB hasn’t shown us any blue print On how he is going to tackle corruption and he sure does not have any magic wand that can perform the much desired magic as is done in fairy tales.
• Being the presidential candidate of the APC, it is very obvious that GMB would find it difficult to fight corruption. We all know that most of his party members and closest allies are known to be endemically corrupt and are believed to have stolen public funds while in office. A former Lagos state governor, who is touted as one of the linchpin and “moneybags” of the party, was listed by the former EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu, as one of the most corrupt governors in Nigeria between 1999-2007. Another APC chieftain and anchor of the party, also one of the major financiers of the party who is currently a governor in one of the oil-rich south-south states and the campaign director for GMB, is also known to be notoriously corrupt to the extent of hobnobbing across the country in a private jet. With such bedfellows, surely Buhari knows that he cannot fight corruption by being the presidential candidate of the APC.
How does he intend to probe his corrupt party-members who used their ill-gotten wealth to finance the APC ticket for him and are currently using corruptly acquired proceeds to fund his campaign? Has he made them understand he would be coming after them once elected? By promising the masses that he is going to fight corruption, is that his public undertaking that he will start cleaning the stables from within? If he has, does he really expect them to help him get elected so he can retrieve their stolen loot and send them off to jail? Anything short of that, renders General Buhari’s promise to fight and completely stamp out corruption handicapped.
• He who seeks equity must come with clean hands. Under the law or in a court of law, by associating with such bedfellows, Gen. Buhari is guilty by association. Under the law, one doesn’t have to participate in stealing or corrupt practices before one can also be culpable. As long as he associates and identifies himself with such corrupt people, and aware of their corrupt tendencies and crimes without reporting them, then under the law and even morally, he is also culpable of those crimes. He will have to have a capable team around him to implement the anti corruption policies that he has been promising. If the current team of looters are the team he intends to position in his administration, then, the promise of fighting corruption is one that Nigerians need to understand will not be practicable. As long as General Buhari’s team consists of the corrupt individuals currently surrounding him, then his fight against corruption will not be a thorough or earnest one.
• Charity, they say, begins at home. If Buhari is truly a proponent for anti-corruption like he says he is, he should begin his crusade in the APC. The 27.5 million presidential nomination form for a party that styles itself as progressives is indeed preposterous. This is definitely a bad omen, as it has become an open invitation for the winner, if he actually manages to secure election to the presidency, to recoup this extortionate fee from public coffers.
Also, the former General “supposedly” took out a bank loan to obtain the form. Now the question that begs for an answer is that how is he financing his presidential campaign? To our knowledge, he hasn’t declared such funds publicly (as is supposed to be done for a genuine and transparent anti-corruption crusader as was done by the late Umaru Yaradu’a) and we all know the financial burden a presidential aspirant will incur, campaigning in every state, nooks and cranny of this great nation of ours.
If GMB sincerely wants to tackle corruption, a strategy may have been for him to have kept quiet on the issue until he gets elected and then catch his corrupt associates by surprise. No reasonable corrupt associate of his, whose hands has been soiled by the cookie jar, would be willing to accept the General’s anti corruption stance, except it is well known to them that the General’s anti-corruption stance is a farce and merely a rhetoric for public consumption. It is not surprising, therefore, that despite all the noise about anti corruption coming from the former General and his cohorts; he has failed to fight corruption within his party.
His deafening silence over the cynical nomination fee of 27.5 million naira for his party’s presidential primaries and his acquiescent to the requirement, his unashamedly association and frolicking with well known corrupt individuals, his culpability by association, are all indication that the self appointed czar of an anti-corruption crusade is nothing but a sham. One would have expected a truly anti-corruption crusader to make the point that the ludicrous amount of his party’s nomination fee is unacceptable and his campaign is funded in a transparent manner, devoid of corrupt funds and details made available to the public. From all inclinations, the former General has thrown caution to the wind in order to safeguard and ensure his all-important presidential ambition. In essence, it is apparent that Buhari has no magic wand to stop and cannot even fight corruption when he is surrounded by corruption and corrupt entities.
He is also enjoying corrupt money from such entities that are bankrolling his campaign in an effort to get him elected President, his ambition since 2003. Now I ask you this fellow Nigerians, would you vote for someone who is seemingly uncorrupt and preaches anti-corruption, yet he fails to voice out against corrupt practices as long as it benefits him? Would you vote for someone who preaches anti corruption, yet surrounds himself with well known corrupt individuals and entities that have depleted our great nation of huge resources? Would you vote for someone who is not proud to show his common secondary school certificates?.
We must think and think hard because we cannot vote for GMB who would put the nation in the reverse gear.
Kakuri Kaduna State.