Firstly, I would like to join millions of Nigerians at home and in the diaspora, to express my solidarity with Ms. Winifred Ekanem Oyo-Ita, Head of Nigeria Civil Service, for standing up to President Buhari Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, before the commencement of the Federal Executive meeting on Wednesday 1 November 2017.
As a seasoned bureaucrat, Ms. Oyo-Ita understands the characters and dark practices of members of President Buhari’s Kitchen cabinet. Because Civil Servants work in a political environment, they must create an effective zone of safety for their survival and avoid being used as a scapegoat. Ms. Oyo-Ita apparently developed an effective zone of safety that crystallized the contending issue and left Abba Kyari infuriated and resentful.
Speaking on the sticky issue of corruption, Mrs Lauretta Onochie, Personal Assistant to President Buhari on social media, said in Abuja, on Tuesday, at the 2nd Annual International Conference of the Progressive Solidarity Forum, PSF, that some people were yet to key into the policy of government of the day, a development she reiterated, was still responsible for corruption in the country despite efforts of the APC administration. She said, “Corruption is everywhere, it stinks and unless we all begin to fight it and join the president to fight it, corruption will kill this nation”.
Well, it seems Mrs. Onochie had been on sabbatical to cloud cuckoo land. Perhaps, a purview of some of the following corruption cases perpetrated under her Principal’s tutelage, may help fill her knowledge and information gap.
Alleged $26 billion illegal contracts awarded by the Group Managing Director of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), allegedly to fund President Buhari APC’s second term.
The North East grass cutting scandal that engulfed Barbachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Government (SGF) and President Buhari confidant.
The alleged Mother of all collusion between the Attorney General of the Federation, Ministry of Interior and the much fingered Chief of Staff, over Mainagate.
The mystery surrounding details of the Ikoyi cash pile and other recovered loots.
Skewed appointments in favor of Geo-Political Zones that delivered greater electoral votes to APC, thus sowing the seed for reversing community cohesion and tribal and religious equanimity.
Used INEC, State Security Services, and the Police for rigging the Edo state Governorship election as well as fresh elections in Rivers state, to mention but a few.
Mrs. Lauretta Onochie said:”Laws are meant to follow the smell of crimes. If crimes are being committed and these laws are not following them, it means that somebody is not doing his job somewhere. We have similar laws like the ones we have in the United Kingdom but the problem is that those who are in charge of ensuring that the law takes its cause, those rather in charge of enforcing the laws are not doing their jobs”.
Mrs. Onochie assertion suffers from very serious psychological oversight and selective perception. Of course, if it were in the United Kingdom, all those involved in perverting the course of justice would have resigned immediately from Her Majesty Government and arraigned before a judge in the crown court.
But Mrs. Onochie did not have the bottle to discuss her contention with her Principal or indeed raise her head above the parapet and advised the President to sack all those who were implicated in the Mainagate.
From the outset, however, the People Democratic Party (PDP) have insisted that the one-sided anti-corruption fight was designed and developed from a faulty foundation, a wrong premise as well as President Buhari’s APC’s innate politics of envy. Evidently, the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has lost over 95% of the corruption cases it has brought before the court. And as a partisan quango, the EFCC has become a national subject of ridicule and attack. As a result, the Vice President, Professor Osinbajo has called for tweaking of the anti-corruption fight thus, vindicating the PDP assertion.
The corruption Battle Bus has veered out of the road and finally parked on President Buhari APC’s Drive. The challenge for the People Democratic Party (PDP) therefore is not to relent but lead the opposition as a government in waiting. The coming elective Convention in December and in particular, the election of the National Chairman and National Publicity Secretary respectively, will be a critical litmus test.
Delegates should put the wider party interest above narrow selfish interest, and shun micro-zoning tendency and money politics. In fact for this purpose, a brilliantly written article on the impact of Micro-Zoning, written by a PDP youth member, Ms. Miete Briggs, and published on 6th October 2017 by Denton Newspaper would be a useful guide.
My suasion is that delegates should consider the best candidate with outstanding experience, knowledge, educational background, national recognition, and gravitas for every contested position.
Otherwise, our failure to do the right thing and at the right time will let in APC, and Mrs. Lauretta Onochie and her cronies will certainly have a good laugh.
Chairman and CEO, Denton Newspapers