By Kalu Nwokoro
No, President Mohammed Buhari, the conviction of the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, is not a victory for the Anti Corruption War of your government. That your government overlooked the stipulated process stated in the 1999 constitution of how a CJN should be removed from office, and did what it thought best and strategic is enough corruption. Why is your government suffused with negative energy? Why is your administration laced with egoism partisanship? Your government is fighting corruption, good. That’s what a progressive administration ought to do. But when the fight is not about good against evil, but between navel-gazing against the supposed selfless nature of a leader, then it could be convincingly said that your anti corruption war is a fight against your political enemies. I don’t understand the rationale behind the War when there are selected targets in a pool of targets scattered all over the federation. There are individuals presently fraternising with your government who looted either the state or federal coffers one time or the other. Why are they walking freely without any form of harassment from the Judiciary and security agencies? Are they above the law? Or is the law meant to punish some thieves and let others go scot free because of their political and religious affiliation?
I am making it bold that there is nothing like Anti Corruption War. Such misleading lie should stop henceforth. If really there is, why is Lawal Babachir, the former secretary to the federal government of Nigeria not answering for the 544 million naira he looted in the name of cutting grass in IDP camps (internally displaced Persons) in the North East? Abba kyari, your chief of staff allegedly took the bribe of 500 million naira from MTN operators just to help the telecommunication giant mitigate the fine imposed on it by your government? Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi is your minister of Transportation. Why is he not accounting for the billions he stole from Rivers treasury despite an independent panel that investigated and indicted him for financial malfeasance? Ganduje is the governor of Kano State, he was caught twice on camera collecting bundles of dollars as a kick back from a contractor. You never deployed your Anti Corruption protocol to question Ganduje, a public official, on why he was stashing millions of dollars into his agbada. There are a lot of crooks hibernating within the presidency who benefited from the fuel subsidy fraud. What is stopping your government from taking them to Golgotha?
Come to think of it, Walter Onnoghen is not the first to commit the sin he was nailed for. Majority of the public officials that served Nigeria beginning from 1999 till date disregarded this part of the law. President Buhari did not declare his asset. Tanko Mohammed, the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria (who I see as an usurper) never declared his asset too. Many public officials today in Nigeria did not declare their assets and even the ones that attempted it ended up giving false declaration. The law in Nigeria is designed in a way that if one has a strong religious and political affiliations, one can loot every kobo in the national treasury and go scot free. Onnoghen was not a smart cricket and that was why the fire from the presidency caught him.
What happened to Walter was a well calculated legal maneuvering. The APC government just used him as a sacrificial lamb to reignite a fragmented Anti Corruption war that lost it’s ingredients from the day one it was launched. Until APC government is ready to fight this Anti Corruption War from a holistic angle, for now, the war against Corruption is a figment. It does not exist.
The presidency cannot continue to fool Nigerians again that the war against corruption is being fought with full political and religious neutrality. There are hundreds of unrepentant looters from the Northern part of Nigeria moving freely while their counterparts from the South unfortunately are facing all manner of intimidation from the power that be. Is that the way the war against corruption should be fought? War against corruption means, fighting every tom, dick and harry caught in corrupt practices to a stand still, not minding the persons religious and political allegiance.
When a war against corruption tends to be selective, it’s essence will be defeated to a zero level. The presidency should not rejoice over the kangaroo process that convicted Onnoghen. I will rather suggest they reflect over the bad precedence the whole charade is setting. If the Anti Corruption War is a sincere war, I want to see all the criminals that cross carpeted from PDP to APC facing the corruption charges hanging on their neck. Anything short of that is nothing but noise making.
Kalu Nwokoro Idika is a political analyst. You can reach him via email at [email protected]