Columnist and academic, Farooq Kperogi, has faulted President Muhammadu Buhari-led government’s anti-corruption war.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, the journalism professor said the government’s anti-corruption war was driven largely by propaganda as none of those alleged to have embezzled public funds in the president’s cabinet had been investigated.
Reacting to the recovery of N3.04 billion loot at the residence of Andrew Yakubu, a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, in Kaduna by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr. Kperogi noted that even though the effort was commendable, Nigerians need to exercise caution on the discovery.
An operation conducted by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on February 3 on a building belonging to a Mr. Yakubu yielded $9,772,800 (Nine Million, Seven Hundred and Seventy Two Thousand, Eight Hundred United States Dollars) and another sum of £74,000 (Seventy Four Thousand Pound Sterling) cash.
In his reaction, Mr. Kperogi said, indeed, enormous theft of public funds took place in the last administration.
“Most people who have deep emotional investment in Nigeria know that unbelievably enormous and conscienceless theft of the public treasury took place in the Goodluck Jonathan administration. So this doesn’t surprise me.”
He, however, said Nigerians should exercise caution, adding that the EFCC has become a propaganda machinery of the Nigerian government and the ruling APC.
“But we need to be a little circumspect here. Given that the EFCC has become the poodle of the president and the most potent propaganda arm of the APC, I take anything from it with a pinch of salt,” he said.
“The president has nine media aides and a vast, well-oiled propaganda centre. They are now working day and night to distract the attention of the Nigerian people from the crying incompetence of the administration and from the profound hurt the incompetence, clannishness and unpreparedness of the administration are wreaking on Nigeria.
“The more nakedly transparent the cluelessness and ineptitude of the administration becomes, the more propaganda will be unleashed to the Nigerian people to absolve of it of responsibility for its own incompetent choices or lack thereof.”
He noted further that none of the corrupt officials in the government of President Buhari has so far been investigated, adding that it is so because such would have little propaganda value.
“More millions and billions in raw cash will be discovered in the houses of past government officials in the coming days. Of course, none of the insanely corrupt officials of the Buhari administration will be investigated, much less found guilty of hoarding large sums of money, by the EFCC. That has zero propaganda value,” he noted.
Commenting further, Mr. Kperogi asserted that there is no difference between the ruling APC and the ousted PDP, noting that both parties are peopled by corrupt politicians.
“But the truth is that APC and PDP are indistinguishable. They are both peopled by the same thieving, opportunistic leeches. The narrative that these EFCC ‘discoveries’ want to give fresh life to is the idea that it is Jonathan, not Buhari, who is responsible for the current terrible state of Nigeria’s economy.
“It’s a narrative that seeks to conceal the fact that Buhari’s ill-advised decision to increase petrol prices is the immediate trigger for the current hyperinflation in the country, that Buhari’s choice to travel the world for months while leaving Nigeria basically ungoverned during that period contributed to our current state, and that the government’s lack of any blueprint to turn the economic fortunes of the country is also blameworthy.”
He, however, disclosed that the government does not have an economic team, noting that a diplomat posted to the office of the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, had been acting as ‘economic adviser’.
“The administration doesn’t even have a well-defined economic team; it only has a diplomat that it calls an economic adviser to the president—who is posted to the Vice President’s office. Go figure.”