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Buhari’s Blunt Avowal


Mahmoon Baba-Ahmed
The humorous nickname or sobriquet given to President Muhammadu Buhari of ‘Go Slow’ was apt and appropriate especially as it has originated from his caution and guardedness in taking more time than is usually expected before engaging in actions that will impact positively on the lives of all Nigerians.

He is extremely reticent, always weighing his words carefully before uttering them to ensure they are sincere, truthful and fair to all. In fact President Buhari has demonstrated how he had actually changed from a military authoritarian to full-blooded democrat during his second coming and is now a true advocate of the rule of law. He acts and behaves in accordance with the terms of the provisions or principles of the constitution he had sworn to uphold.

No wonder, therefore, those opposing President Buhari’s stance on the rule of law and constitutionality find it simple to severely criticise his anti-corruption drive which he had embarked soon after his inauguration at the end of May. The war against dishonesty and venality among senior public figures was intended to sanitise the country and it is proper that Nigerians should give him unalloyed support in his bold determination to bring to book the perpetrators of these evils which had wrecked the nation’s economy and to ensure that treasury looters and their accomplices are tried as soon as practicable.
His efforts regarding the realisation of that laudable objective of rendering Nigeria corrupt-free nation received a major boost last week with General Abdussalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee for 2015 General Elections endorsing it. Members of the committee met with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa and indicated that the ongoing action against corruption and fraudulent elements was in order and should be prosecuted to logical conclusion. Despite the nationwide interest and anxiety the current probe of former President Goodluck Jonathan was generating, the committee noted that it was “not overheating the polity” as it was in harmony with public expectations and desires. The Committee’s spokesman, Bishop Mathew Hassan Kukah, however, cautioned against what he called abuse of due process which he said was the committee’s main concern because Nigeria is no longer under a military regime and that very Nigerian is innocent until
proven guilty.
That was obviously a veiled reference to the on-going probe of the oil industry, the military contracts which run into trillions of Naira and the prevalent corruption allegedly perpetrated by ex-ministers under Goodluck Jonathan even though he had not been officially accused of any offence. In that connexion, the committee denied speculations that it was on a mission to plead for former President Jonathan who was also in Aso Villa last Thursday to meet with President Buhari and discussed wide-ranging issues whose details were not disclosed. However, unconfirmed reports had it that Dr. Jonathan had approached the Abubakar-led panel to plead with President Buhari as his government had beamed its searchlight on the activities of those who held public office under him. But, Bishop Kukah noted that Jonathan never sought his committee’s intercession.
On the other hand, it was widely believed that General Abubakar had actually led members of the so-called Peace Committee, which included the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar III and the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, in yet another mission, to plead with President Buhari not to probe the administration of ex-President Jonathan. Those present at the extraordinary meeting pointed out that President Buhari remained inflexible and made no secret of his determination to proceed with the probe. Without mincing words he indicated that those found guilty or responsible would not only be made to refund their loots but would be arraigned before the courts in a matter of weeks.
As it is now no Nigerian is in favour of corruption and that nobody is also against President Buhari’s commitment to ensure that Nigeria turns a new leaf. Bishop Kukah pointed, the commitment of his committee was not to intimidate or fight anybody; he had also reckoned that former President Goodluck Jonathan’s devotion and what he did for Nigeria still remained spectacular. Of course Goodluck Jonathan has actually contributed in no small measure in moving Nigeria forward and President Buhari is fully aware of that, but that should not dissuade him from going extra length to ensure that his administration is thoroughly investigated.
Undoubtedly the meeting between President Buhari and the so-called Peace Committee, whether to plead for ex-president Jonathan or not, must have convinced its members that President Buhari’s actions and disposition are with emphasis on liberal values and not tyrannical. He is completely committed to the rule of law and allows due process to prevail. It is said that justice delayed is justice denied, so President Buhari will not be slow in dispensing it; he will do so with utmost dispatch this time around