By Sonia O’Abbah
Heavens hath no fury than a woman scorned; so goes that saying. And when such fierce feminine fury is swelled by the rage of an equally furious group of men who are at risk of losing the billions they had allegedly looted, the result is predictable: an all – out baying for blood akin to a group of wounded lions fighting for their dear lives.
And so it has been with ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and members of his cabinet who are accused of industrial- scale stealing of our common wealth in the past five years. As the anti- corruption war of the Muhammedu Buhari administration gathers steam just as revelations of mind- boggling looting under Jonathan’s watch continue to shock the land, the ex-president and his corrupt ministers have apparently resolved to come out fighting in a bid to turn the heat on Buhari. Recall that this medium had reported in the past couple of weeks that Jonathan and his camp have been sponsoring all sorts of clandestine efforts to demolish President Buhari. Their objective, as noted in our recent exclusive reports, was to put the government on the defensive so that it would hopefully soft-pedal on its single-minded determination to prosecute these who had pillaged the nation’s treasury in recent years. The favorite tactic of this Buhari- demonization campaign
is to tar him with the brushes of so- called “witch- hunt” and “targeting of only PDP and Jonathan guys” among others.
But apparently having realized that Buhari has remained unfazed by their campaign of calumny and demonization, the Jonathan camp at long last decided to unmask themselves and come out swinging punches. This exactly they did early last week by issuing a trenchant statement in which they stopped short of declaring an all- out war on the Buhari administrating for daring to sustaining its anti- graft crusade without fear or Favor.
In a statement signed on their behalf by the ex-National Planning Minister, Abubakar Suleiman, they threw tantrum at both the APC-led government and all Nigerians who have had the temerity to be calling them to account. “We the ministers who served under the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration, have watched with increasing alarm and concern the concerted effort by the Buhari administration and members of the all progressives congress (APC) to condemn, ridicule and undermine the efforts of that administrating, in addition to impugning the integrity of its individual member” part of their statement said.
Sounding a note of warning, they added that: “in the name – calling of member of the Jonathan administration and the trial by news media should also stop…… We are constrained to speak up in defense of the legacy of the Jonathan administration, and shall do so again, for as long as those who are determined to rubbish that legacy, are unrelenting in their usual deployment of blackmail, persecution, and similar tactics.”
Instructively, no mention was made of the multi- trillion looting that pervaded the immediate past administration, in that lengthy . Aside from the billions of dollars that were either not remitted to the federal government treasury or were plundered through various means (outlandishly inflated contracts, fictitious and and/or non- executed contracts, etc.),disclosures have been made about mind- numbering amounts of dollars stashed in the foreign bank accounts of some of Jonathan’s ex- ministers. But the ex- national planning minister and co were conveniently silent on such and other pertinent issues bordering on financial and economic crimes. Instead, they opted to target those who have been exposing the rot that characterizes the Goodluck Jonathan era.
This medium gathered that the Jonathan camp decided to use that gambit following the decision by the presidency to set up a high- power panel to probe the series of the arms deals which have been raising eyebrows over the years. Although the ongoing probe also covers the arms contracts of the Obasanjo and Yar’Adua administrations, Jonathan and his ministers were said to be worried that majority of these deals were forged during their administration. In particular, the multi- trillion naira contracts awarded in the past few years when Boko Haram’s insurgency was at its zenith are believed to be of particular concern to top officials of the Jonathan government.
Consider, for example, the controversial $6.9 million scam involving Jonathan, ex- Petroleum minister DIEZANI ALISON-MADUEKE and the then president chief security officer, GORDON OBUAH. The contract, which was supposedly for the purchase of six mobile stages apparently for the president security, was allegedly never executed. This was deposit the fact that the entire $6.9 million had been paid into a private bank account (5000026593) domiciled at the Maitama, Abuja branch of a new generation bank. The account said to have been opened by Obuah, is believed to be a front which DIEZANI and Jonathan allegedly often used to siphon public funds over various guises
D/HERALD reliably that when it dawned on Jonathan and his embattled former lieutenants that the Buhari administration is gradually zeroing in on such and many other bare- faced plundering of Nigeria’s treasury, they hurriedly convened a meeting at one of the ex- president’s houses in Abuja. At the meeting which was reportedly attended by nearly 20 ex- ministers, the motley group was said to have resolved to mobilize all forces at their disposal with their view to not only countering what they branded “Buhari’s anti Jonathan campaign and undo persecution but to also launching “periodic counter- attacks’’ against the presidents persons and government.
Going by Buhari’s no-nonsense posture and unbending principles, however, the political analysts are of the view that such tactics are unlikely to sway the retired General. His spokesman, Garba Shehu has pointedly declared that the wolf-crying by officials of the immediate past administration wouldn’t deter the president from soldiering on with his anti-graft crusade.
“President Buhari will not be deterred or blackmailed into retreat and surrender,” Shehu stated. “NO one in the PDP can accuse president Buhari of undermining the economy when all they handed over to him, at best, was a tottering economy hobbled by corruption and the absence of due process…..President Buhari does not need this type of distraction presented by the 50 called association of former ministers”.
With the Presidents firm resolved vis-à-vis the Jonathan camp’s desperate antics, one obviously doesn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that a truly titanic showdown looms large. Will Buhari’s anti-graft crusade emerge victorious, or will the Jonathan camp’s suave shuffles and muscle- flexing overcome all and sundry? Time will tell.
By Sonia O’Abbah