•Recalls How Similar Scenario Led To His 1985 Ouster •Calls For Govt Of National Unity
Former Governor of Kaduna State and National Chairman of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), Balarabe Musa, on Thursday, said President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari should expect a fight from his political associates in the All Progressives Congress (APC), if he decides to beam the searchlight on them in his fight against corruption.
Musa, in a telephone interview with this paper said there is no way Buhari can wage a successful war against corruption and corrupt practices in Nigeria, given the fact that majority of those who funded his electioneering campaign are people with corruption tags hanging on their necks. These elements, combined with former members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who decamped to the APC, he continued, are already more than enough forces to confront in the days ahead.
Going down memory lane, Musa likened the present situation to what happened in 1983 when the military toppled the Shehu Shagari administration in a coup d’etat and Buhari was made Head of State. According to him, principal officers, like Ibrahim Babangida, who assisted Buhari to power also removed him when he decided to probe them for corrupt practices and reposition the military; which obviously ran against entrenched interests.
He said those who supported Buhari to power, in the APC’s change campaign, will move against him if he decides to take any action against them for corrupt acts, because there is not much difference between the characters that constitute the PDP and APC.
“There is no way he (Buhari) can wage a war on corruption against the party leaders in APC, because they campaigned for him. They also ensured his election victory. There is no way he can deal with them successfully.”
Musa interrelated the present scenario with what obtained in 1984/85 and warned: “If he tries to deal with them, they will do to him what Babangida did to him… He and Babangida overthrew the Shehu Shagari’s administration and the main issue was corruption. So, when Buhari as Head of State started taking steps to fight corruption, and those who assisted him to power knew they will be affected… it is this same set of people who overthrew Shagari that overthrew him.
“So, the same thing will happen to Buhari now, because 80 per cent of those PDP decampees supported the APC to do what they did. Now that they are with him, they are definitely going to do everything possible to reduce his anti-corruption crusade. If he insists on going ahead, they will deal with him just exactly the way Babagida dealt with him”.
Musa however advised that the only way the President-elect can effectively wage a war against corruption and still remain in power is to form a Government of National Unity that will accommodate all the political parties. He equally believes that such position will be a hard sell to the leadership of the APC. More so, as politics in Nigeria is a game of ‘winner takes all.’
He stressed that the GNU would “make it extremely difficult for these (corrupt) people to deal with him.”
Buhari and his party rode to power on the back of a pledge to fight the endemic corruption that has held the country down over the years.
The President-elect had after receiving his certificate of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Abuja, on being declared winner of the March 28 poll, vowed that his administration would not tolerate corruption.
According to him, “we shall strongly battle another form of evil that is even worse than terrorism—the evil of corruption. Corruption attacks and seeks to destroy our national institutions and character. By misdirecting into selfish hands funds intended for the public purpose, corruption distorts the economy and worsens income inequality. It creates a class of unjustly-enriched people.
“Such an illegal yet powerful force soon comes to undermine democracy because its conspirators have amassed so much money that they believe they can buy government. We shall end this threat to our economic development and democratic survival. I repeat that corruption will not be tolerated by this administration; and it shall no longer be allowed to stand as if it is a respected monument in this nation.”
The president-elect asked Nigerians to join him in resolving all the challenges Nigeria is confronted with, noting that along the way there would be victories but there may also be setbacks.
Also, he assured at a campaign rally in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State in January that all corrupt politicians will end up in jail if he was elected into power.
“When we come to power, anyone who steals Nigeria’s money will end up in KiriKiri Maximum Prisons. We are going to make sure that Nigeria’s wealth belongs only to Nigerians,” he said.
The Buhari administration had during his anti-corruption crusade between 1983 and 1985, jailed several Second Republic politicians.
Flagging off his South East zonal campaign rally at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium in Enugu on January 10, for example, President Jonathan reminded the people of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo of how ‘’Chief Alex Ekwueme (then Vice President) and Sam Mbakwe (governor of old Imo State) were all thrown into jail by Buhari… Chief Jim Nwobodo (of old Anambra State) was jailed 301 years before the successive administration released him.”