2face insists Protests will hold in Lagos, Abuja
10—SATURDAY Vanguard, FEBRUARY 4, 2017 •Mike Adeniy •Gogo Bright •Joseph Edionwele •Babatunde Kolawole •Samson Okwu By Emman Ovuakporie and Johnbosco Agbakwuru Given the high sensitivity the All Progressives Congress, APC-led administration brought to bear in its war against graft; it is not surprising that Nigerians of all shadows would scrutinise the actions and inactions of the administration where issues of corruption are alleged. The champion of the war is President Muhammadu Buhari, a man who has so far endeared himself to many across national and international boundaries for living above graft even when exposed to the kind of lucre that have entrapped fellow Nigerians. President Buhari’s distaste for graft is well summarised in the popular saying that the easiest way to get him to shut out anybody is to say that the person is corrupt. It is against this background that Nigerians have now taken the presidency to task over the president’s dithering procrastination in dealing with matters of alleged corruption concerning closest members of his administration. While some allegations have been allowed to pass, critical members of the public have, however, continued to question the presidency’s decision to prevaricate on the report of the Senate Ad-Hoc Committee on Humanitarian Crisis in the Northeast which indicted the administration’s top bureaucrat, Mr. Babachir Lawal. The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF was indicted by the Senator Shehu Sani led panel in its report presented to the Senate and adopted by the legislative body last December. The president in his response to the indictment, however, chose the path of procedure in faulting the Senate’s adoption of a report which he claimed was signed by only three of the eight members. However, investigations by Vanguard, published last Thursday, showed that contrary to the president’s assertion that only three members signed the document, the chairman of the committee and six members signed the report. Critics were quick to latch on to the presidency’s attachment to procedure which they claimed was a deviation from the president’s well-known aversion to such issues. The real issue of whether the man was found wanting appeared not to matter to the President. Nigerians have also taken the president Buhari’s anticorruption war at crossroads: Reps speak Is it that there is no other person that is qualified to do exactly that job? He should have been removed to task for his decision to, on his own, resubmit Mr. Ibrahim Magu as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC despite the allegations raised against him by the Department of State Services, DSS which affirmed in a report that he would be a distraction to the president’s war against corruption. Though the allegations raised against Magu were alleged to in some quarters to have been cooked, the president’s seeming cavalier dismissal of the allegations, however, unsettled many. It is against the background of the seeming contradictions in the fight against corruption that members of the House of Representatives expressed mixed reactions to the issue. We are not fighting corruption — Rep Gogo Bright (Okrika: Rivers) This is the worst thing that has happened to the fight against corruption because if the entire Senate sat on the issue after a committee of the Senate turned in its report after doing a thorough investigation which indicated that the SGF who awarded contract to his company; only for at the end of the day somebody will sit in the convenience of his office to clear the person, it means then we are not fighting corruption. On the issue of Magu, the DSS indicted him; and it is the same DSS on the basis of whose report judges were harassed in this country, and now you are saying the DSS this time around did not do a good work. So, my dear, there is problem in the land. President is encouraging corruption —Rep Joseph Eghoghon Edionwele; Edo State If the president whose major slogan is anti -corruption would react in this way, as Senator Shehu Sani rightly said, that is the end of the fight against corruption. If not for anything the indictment is enough to remove the SGF and in good conscience, even the SGF should have on his own resigned. That his company was mentioned is enough for him to have resigned or enough for the president to have removed him. Is it that there is no other person that is qualified to do exactly that job? He should have been removed. To insist that he is cleared, cleared of what? That his company is not the one that was involved? Is it that he is no longer the owner of the company? The fact that his company was given that contract alone means he must have influenced the job to himself. For the president to say they have cleared him is not encouraging. What the president has done is to encourage corruption. SGF is morally guilty —Mike Adeniyi Omogbehin, Ondo State It simply means that the anticorruption war has been finally declared over. I agree with Senator Sani intoto when he says that corruption is fought within the opposition and other arms of government with insecticides and within the presidency, it is fought with deodorants. For the singular fact that the Senate Committee was able to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the Secretary to the Federal Government has interest in a particular company, that he never resigned his directorship until after that contract ultra vires of the Memoranda of the Article of that Company; he stands guilty in court of moral justice, he stands guilty in court of common sense and he should have excused himself even before the hue and cry got to this level. I am surprised that President Buhari is taking this action. Some of us in opposition never knew that President Buhari was going to so soon discard his anti-corruption war. Only the courts can find him guilty – Rep. Babatunde Gabriel Kolawole; Ondo State The issue of governance is a very complex issue, and most of the time, you don’t do governance with sentiment. It is very important we look at issues holistically and get to the bottom of issues we are trying to push Continues on page 11
SATURDAY Vanguard, FEBRUARY 4, 2017—11 •Prof Biodun Ogunyemi •Samson Ugwoke •Yusuf Dutse Labour leaders blast FG over Magu, Lawal By Victor Ahiuma-Young & Johnbosco Agbakwuru Reacting, President of United Labour Congress of Nigeria, ULC, Mr. Joe Ajaero, said: “If the President has re-forwarded the name of the EFCC acting chairman for confirmation after he was rejected by the Senate, and he has allegedly cleared the Secretary to the Government of the Federal, SGF, Mr. Babachir Lawal, of corruption, he may have his reasons. “For the EFFC chairman, the President is not forcing the senate to confirm him. He probably reforwaded his name to the senate based on information at his disposal. The senate has a duty to equally look into it and take a position. If it maintains its earlier position, the senate should say so and make its finding public. Members should do their jobs with utmost patriotism, putting the interest of the nation above personal interest.” Buhari should not use double standard—ASUU On his part, President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, told the Federal Government not to use double standard in the fight against corruption in the country. According to him: “Obviously, anybody that hears this kind of reaction from the president will think he is shielding public officers. We think there should not be double standard. Where prima facie case has been established, it is expected that the person should step aside. “He said the senate didn’t give him fair hearing but Senator Shehu Sani said he was given opportunity to come and defend himself. My candid advise is that government should act in a way that will not water down public perception of its seriousness on anti corruption war. Government should not give impression that it has double standard; one for perceived enemies, the other one for those in government.” It’s wrong for Buhari to clear SGF—SSANU Similarly, President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, Samson Chijioke Ugwoke, faulted President Muhammadu Buhari’s alleged clearance of the Secretary to the Government of the Federal, SGF, over corruption allegations. Ugwoke contended that it was not the responsibility of the presidency to investigate the SGF who is directly under him, rather the duty of the anti-corruption agencies like the EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offence Commission, ICPC, and other bodies to probe the allegations. He said: “It is wrong for Buhari to come and say that the SGF has been cleared. There is no smoke without fire. He should tell us how he was cleared. People have been complaining that those working with the president are spared of the anti-corruption fight. There have been cases of corruption against some ministers around him, he says nothing and went ahead to send their names to the senate. To me, it is improper and it goes to show that the President is not serious with the fight against corruption. “Look at what is happening in a university where a Vice Chancellor was accused of corruption with evidence and he was investigated, yet he is still in office. The President should come out clear and start with his own people and not his perceived enemies or those he feels are in the opposition party. This is an assumption people are having and the way he is handling the corruption fight shows he is not serious. “See the case of Magu, see a very strong DSS report which investigated his past, life style as Buhari’s anti-corruption war at crossroads: Reps speak Continues from page 10 across. The president is sitting at a strategic seat, and there are some actions he cannot take in a hurry, he needs to consult widely, he needs to look at the legal implications so that he doesn’t make mistakes. So for the fact that there are allegations against the SGF, it has to be proven beyond reasonable doubts and not until these allegations are proven, and the SGF is found guilty, not by the President but by a competent court of law, the President cannot take any action. It suggests very strongly that we don’t apply sentiments in coming to a conclusion on issues that have a national coverage and that has the interest of people. Anti-Corruption war is a ruse - Rep. T.J Yusuf; a police officer. A person living above his earning and living a flamboyant life, see the report of the senate which many feel was correct and see the position of the President on the matter.” Buhari should restore confidence in his anticorruption fight —ASUP Also reacting, the President of Academic Staff a Union of Polytechnics, ASUP, Yusuf Dutse, said President Buhari before his election in 2015, had promised not to spare anybody in his fight against corruption but the reverse appeared to be the case. Dutse said the President should provide a level play ground where reports and issues are fairly treated, adding, “But when people are covered, the intention will be eroded.” He claimed the senate committee had come up with its report that indicted the SGF and the president had also said that a committee was set up to look into the allegations and that it was proper to put the two reports side by side to know the veracity of the allegations. According to him: “When President Buhari assumed office, he said he was not going to spare anybody. But today, it appears the corruption fight has been eroded. He should do more to restore the confidence that he is really fighting corruption.” Kogi State This has just exposed the fact that ab initio, the anti-corruption crusade was a white-wash. What has happened to Gen. Tukur Burutai, what has happened to Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazzau’s case? What about the dollar swapping? Nobody in his right senses will say Nigeria does not need to tackle the issue of corruption. It must be holistic it must not be seen as being partisan Re-presenting Magu is an indictment on Buhari —Rep Samson Okwu, PDP, Benue Is he trying to say that Magu is the most genuine Nigerian that can occupy that office? Are there no other corrupt free Nigerians that can conveniently occupy the position?