Several months after the scandals baptised #BabachirGate and #IkoyiGate hit the news media Nigerians are beginning to demand action from President Buhari especially with the latest #BaruGate.
Despite several run-ins with lawmakers suspended SGF Babachir Lawal retained his position because of his alleged closeness to President Buhari. But with overwhelming pressure which prompted the famous “deodorant and insecticide” from Senator Shehu Sani, Buhari had to act. Lawal and the Director-General of NIA Mr Ayodele Oke were suspended and an investigation into the allegations of violations of the law and due process made against the SGF in the award of contracts under the Presidential Initiative on the North East, PINE commenced immediately.
It is now over 6 weeks after the investigative panel headed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo submitted its report yet nothing has been heard from the presidency. Speculations have been rife that the matter will be swept under the carpet.
With the recent allegations by the Minister of State Petroleum on insubordination and unauthorised contract awards at the NNPC, many Nigerians have renewed the calls for Buhari to act on various allegations of corruption that has ridiculed his administration.
Leading the pack is the opposition PDP, which has sensationally alleged that Baru may be stockpiling funds to execute the 2nd tenure re-election campaign of the President. In a statement issued by its spokesman Dayo Adeyeye the party queried :
“Powerful people at the corridors of power are tacitly involved in this. If the president’s powerful Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari could sit on the NNPC board and such a calamity is taking place without an eyelid being blinked, we are forced to believe that the stealing is being done to the advantage of the president who has shown by his body language that the only thing that matters most to him, for now, is his second term ambition.
“Will it be considered a ‘hate speech’ if we say the money being stolen by President Buhari’s men is being kept aside into a special pool for the prosecution of his second term ambition?”
Fiery Lagos lawyer and rights activist Femi Falana (SAN), advised the President to relinquish his position as the substantive petroleum minister and investigate the matter thoroughly. Falana was reported to have said:
“Having regard to the enormous responsibilities of the office of the minister of petroleum resources and chairman of the NNPC board, President Buhar is advised to relinquish the ministerial position in view of his busy schedule and appoint another Nigerian of proven integrity and competence to superintend the affairs of the ministry.
“If this advice is accepted in good faith and acted upon without any delay it would remove undue pressure on the health of the president and allow him to attend to urgent matters of the state.”
“Apart from sanctioning the officers responsible for creating the wide gulf between Dr. Kachukwu and the president, the allegation of the unilateral award of contracts worth $25 billion by Dr Baru ought to be investigated in line with the anti-corruption policy of the Buhari administration,”
Then just yesterday Buhari’s chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay who recently castigated the NASS and APC joined the queue of those demanding results from Mr President. Speaking on a Channels TV programme on Sunday, 8th October 2017, Sagay said:
“I have no doubt in my mind that the present government is actually fighting corruption in accordance with its mandate and promises. There is no question about that,” he said.
“But on the specific issue of the suspended secretary to the federal government and the director-general of the NIA, I would agree that action has been much too slow and there should be an immediate decision on this matter so that we can put it to rest and move on. I agree with that.”
Even if President Buhari does not give a hoot about the opposition PDP, will he ignore the calls from reputable anti-corruption crusaders like Falana and Sagay who have thrown their weight behind his fight against corruption? Surely its time to act.
I believe all well-meaning Nigerians irrespective of party affiliation wants the government to reduce if not stamp out corruption which has burdened this nation for so long. It is time for President Buhari to treat these allegations with exigency like he did with Dasuki, Metuh and other allegedly corrupt persons.
Mr President, it is time to bring out the insecticide!