Prior to the 2019 elections all attempts to refer to the anti-corruption war as anything other than a resounding success were dismissed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership as mere electioneering criticism not to be taken seriously. Now that elections are over and the APC sets itself for a second term, it’s important that the anti-corruption war be evaluated in true perspective and the truth be accepted so that progress can be made. While campaigning the APC projected their candidate President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) as “Mr Integrity” and touted a “successful” anti-corruption war as their major achievement in their first term. The impression was given that their Party has fought corruption unlike any previous government. This is far from the truth. For those who are weak in memory, thankfully records exist to show that long before the APC was elected into office former Governors, high ranking Party officials, Security Chiefs and top bank officials were being arrested and charged to Court for corrupt practices.
It’s an indisputable fact that both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) were created by the PDP in recognition of the dangers which corruption posed to national development. Indeed, until they were restrained by the Courts the Obasanjo administration sanctioned thieving Governors by orchestrating kangaroo impeachments. The truth is that unlike the APC administration previous governments demonstrated a degree of seriousness by charging their corrupt members to Court. Many examples exist to buttress this assertion. Former State Governors Jolly Nyame of Taraba; Aminu Turaki of Jigawa; Ayo Fayose of Ekiti; Orji Uzor Kalu of Abia; Boni Haruna of Adamawa; Lucky Igbinedion of Edo; James Ibori of Delta; Chimaroke Nnami of Enugu; Joshua Dariye and Botmang Botmang of Plateau; Attahiru Bafarwa of Sokoto; Adamu Abdullahi of Nassarawa; Rasheed Ladoja of Oyo; as well as Timipre Sylva and Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa were all PDP members who were arrested and put on trial for corruption while their party was in power.
The APC on the other hand has gained a reputation for trivializing corruption and engaging in cover-ups when it involves their members. As Bishop Matthew Kukah says “it would appear that under the APC the same standards are not held against all. Some can get away with anything…!” A case in point is the video evidence of Kano State Governor Ganduje allegedly collecting bribe in dollars. APC National Chairman Adams Oshiomhole who himself has weighty and well detailed unresolved corruption allegations against him even went as far as stating publicly that politicians joining the ruling Party would have their sins forgiven! Former Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio appears to fall into this category.
In addition to dealing with corrupt politicians, previous governments also had a record of dealing with errant bank Managing Directors and political appointees. Oceanic Bank’s Cecilia Ibru, Intercontinental Bank’s Akingbola, Finbank’s Okjey Nwosu, Afribank’s Sebastian Adigwe, Spring Bank’s Charles Ojo, Bank PHB’s Francois Atuche, and Union Bank’s Barth Ebong were all replaced, having been arrested and charged to Court. As for top Party officials and Security Chiefs, Bode George a former Vice-Chairman of the PDP was sentenced to two years in prison for contract splitting, and there was the unprecedented case of an Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tafa Balogun being forced to resign and being convicted of corruption. Conversely under the APC Abdulrasheed Maina the former Chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT) who was dismissed by the PDP and declared wanted by the EFCC for massive fraud was secretly re-instated and rewarded with double promotion! Also the former Secretary to Federal Government Babachir Lawal who was enmeshed in a grass cutting scandal was initially supported by President Buhari who even wrote a letter to the Senate defending him, before overwhelming evidence caused him to be eventually sacked and charged to Court!
There are also pending petitions of staggering large-scale corruption against APC National Leader Bola Tinubu as well as former Governor of Rivers State and current Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi, but for inexplicable reasons they along with petitions against other top APC members are gathering dust on the shelves of EFCC. Leaving aside the political coloration, the question remains – how effective has the APC anti-corruption war been since 2015? The US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor released a Country Report in 2018 which stated inter-alia “Massive, widespread and pervasive corruption affected all levels of Government and the Security Services”.
The World Bank recently released a report alluding to mind-boggling sums missing as a result of corruption in the fuel subsidy regime under the APC. It stated that “the calculations of fuel subsidy are based upon heavily inflated fuel consumption estimates with the fiscally constrained Nigerian government effectively subsidizing neighboring countries petrol consumption as fuel is informally re-exported through porous borders”. If the nation is truly positioning itself to get rid of the scourge of massive corruption it’s important that in his second term of office President Buhari follows previous PDP administrations in sanctioning members of his own Party, rather than continuing to cover up the fact that corruption has not abated in any way since he assumed office. Even under APC it’s very much still very much business as usual.
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