By Dr. SKC Ogbonnia
Former 2019 APC Presidential Aspirant
I support war against corruption, without minding whose ox is gored. I am on record to have strongly supported President Muhammadu Buhari when, at the beginning of his regime, he authorized the prosecution of the head of the Legislature, President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, on corruption allegations, believing that we have to start somewhere. In the process, I authored and published controversial opinions, such as “Time To Impeach Saraki”, “Buhari Hitting Saraki With Kid Gloves”, “Why Buhari Must Jail Corrupt Politicians Now”, and “PDP’s Charge Against Buhari Is of Non Compos Mentis”, to name just a few. As at then, Buhari’s storied anticorruption profile appeared stainless.
It is true that the judiciary has become a clog in the wheel of the anticorruption vehicle and, ordinarily, I would have equally endorsed Buhari’s current move to prosecute the head of the third arm of government, the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen for failing to declare his assets. But I cannot in good conscience do so. “He who comes into equity must come with clean hands.” Buhari’s war against corruption has become dangerously selective.
The Executive arm of the government, for instance, appears to have become a safe haven for notorious corrupt kingpins in the country. Consider that the pace and content of Buhari’s second term bid is being dictated by a team featuring a bevy of notorious politicians facing serious corruption charges. For example, it is shameful that the first outing by President Buhari–after suspending the Chief Justice of the Federation on corruption charges–is presided by Godswill Akpabio who was indicted for looting over N100 billions of public money while in the opposition camp but, upon switching to the ruling party, has emerged an affectionate poster boy for Buhari’s presidential campaign. Conspicuous in Buhari’s campaign is the National Chairman of the party, Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole, who has a strong string of graft allegations hanging on his neck. Needless to mention Buhari’s shameless praise, instead of condemnation, of his close ally and Kano State governor, Umar Ganduje, who was caught on multiple video tapes receiving bribes from a contractor, among many others.
In the eye of the Executive arm of the government, members of the ruling party are innocent until proven guilty while members of the opposition or other arms of the government are guilty until proven innocent just as headship of vital national agencies has become the sole province of people from a section of the country.
This pattern of partiality or injustice is indefensible. In short, President Muhammadu Buhari has wittingly declared war against Nigeria, by attempting to rubbish the concept of justice, a sole principle in which the country can stand and prosper. Accordingly, this pattern must be resisted by all Nigerians, regardless of political, religious or tribal affiliations. This calls for other patriotic leaders from the ruling APC to join to condemn the action of the president. The fundamental principles of equity and justice are universal. “Equity will not grant relief from a self-created hardship.”