By Clifford Ndujihe
IGBO Leaders on the banner of the Igbo Leaders of Thought (ILT), yesterday, insisted that President Muhammadu Buhari is being influenced by some former leaders in his anti-graft crusade and challenged him to prove otherwise by waging a holistic war against graft.
igboResponding to a paper by the ILT written by Professor Ben Nwabueze (SAN) that instead of limiting his searchlight to Dr Goodluck Jonathan administration, Buhari should also probe the General Ibrahim Babangida, Sani Abacha, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua regimes and that he was being influenced by some of these leaders, the President said he could not be tele-guided by anybody.
Speaking through Mallam Shehu Garba, his Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, President Buhari said he is not being tele-guided by anybody and that he would not a deaf ear to the looting of public treasury and crude oil theft. He also said he would not stop the anti-corruption agencies from doing their work.
However, the ILT in a statement by its Deputy Secretary, Evangelist Elliot Uko, yesterday, said that Mallam Shehu avoided the real points in his response.
His words: ”The anti corruption war and probe in order to recover our stolen common wealth is not only needful, but commendable. Nigerians know that the only pathway to restoring sanity, probity and accountability to governance in our much battered and so much abused nation is to carry out the exercise in a holistic manner without granting a clean bill of health on the 1999-2007 regime or any other regime since returning to civil rule in 1999.
” The insinuation that Mr. President is scared of probing the 1999-2007 is a by-product of the statement from the presidency that only the Jonathan regime is targeted for probe. Had the presidency announced that sordid affairs located within the 1999-2007 regime will also be looked into, Nigerians will not have formed the opinion that ex president Obasanjo is not only above the law, but that his larger than life image hovering over the Buhari presidency will obviously make it extremely difficult if not out-rightly impossible for president Buhari to be objective, unbiased and upright especially in the probe of corruption in our polity.
”Nigerians are wondering why the monumental fraud and sleaze that occurred between 1999-2007 is about to be swept under the carpet while our government’s only area of interest begins some where after 2009. Truth is bitter, and this truth is also obvious to all Nigerians over 20 years of age; that the 1999-2007 PDP led government laid the foundation for all the other regimes after it. Nigerians know that the sleaze under that regime stink to high heavens. Any fight against corruption and probe and recovery of stolen funds that exempts the 1999-2007 regime is tainted, selective, and a confirmation of the large influence of the “invisible government” in our polity.
”The Igbo Leaders of Thought did not say that president Buhari is teleguided. The Igbo Leaders of Thought identified the over-bearing influence, powers and connections of past heads of state who played very key roles in the emergence of President Buhari in March this year and wondered how he expects Nigerians to believe him when his aides point at “distraction” as the only reason he is avoiding probing the 1999-2007 POP government.
”Nobody believes that. Everybody knows that the rat cannot probe the cat. Some past Leaders’ shadows are hovering over president Buhari. He is clearly constrained by certain factors.
”This factors will certainly affect the credibility of the probe and recovery exercise if it is only targeted at the last regime. The issues raised by the Igbo Leaders of Thought represents the thought and views of millions of Nigerians who share the opinion that the only way sanity would be restored in our country is to make the exercise a holistic, unbiased and all-inclusive one. The very point Alhaji Garba Shehu cleverly avoided in his response. Nobody said Buhari is teleguided. Nigerians merely want the probe and recovery of stolen funds to date back to 1999. That is the only way Nigerians, the international community and indeed future generations will agree the exercise is not a witch -hunt.”