Looking at the number of times he tried to become a democratically elected President of Nigeria and his subsequent abysmal failures, it’s evident that what gave President Buhari the edge over others who contested against him in 2015, particularly the then incumbent President Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, was his fanatic cult of followers and consistent promise of fighting corruption if voted into power. It’s therefore disheartening that this same cult followership and what in hindsight amounts to empty talk has become the bane of Nigeria’s growth and economic development.
It is a celebrated fact that prior to the 2015 general election, Nigerians regardless of their class or creed, including some serving in the then PDP government were optimistic that Buhari would if voted into power, stem the tide of corruption and all forms of illicit financial engagements identified as the cancer that has been eating deeply into the garment of the Country’s aspirations. Luckily for him, he rode on that to win the hearts of Nigerians and subsequently won the election.
Perhaps, the cliche that further strengthened the expectations of the larger segment of Nigerians was the iconic line in his inaugural speech where he declared that ‘I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody’. At that point, it appeared as though this line is a justification for the eventual emergence of Buhari but it gave people the fickle hope that he was going to be persistent and impartial in his drive to fight the ugly menace of corruption.
Unfortunately, it didn’t take too long into the journey, for Nigerians to realise that they may have backed the wrong horse as Buhari’s entire anti-corruption crusade got draped in the toga of myth and mirage.
Nigerians soon realised that the expected anti-corruption czar was in reality an illusionist who was soon to be whitewashed with several unfolding cases of corruption, even more pungent than it was ever seen under the embattled former head of the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu. Other similar, yet glaring cases soon followed exposing the rot of corruption in this government.
They say corruption has too many faces. This is true of the Buhari administration as even the choices that the President and his party have made and are still making are somewhat laced with forms of corruption. For instance, it beats sane imagination why a serving governor will be appointed to head a political party. Well, that’s happening in Buhari’s Nigeria.
I can contend that if there’s any person in government who is doing more harm than good to the Buhari administration in the eyes of the public, it is the Yobe State Governor, Mai-Mala Buni who’s also the Caretaker Chairman of the All Progressive Congress, APC. But like a horse destined for death, the President and his party have been deafened to the reality unfolding right in front of them.
Although, its never my intention to use this article to dwell much on the implications and ripples effect of the visiting governor of Yobe states usurpation of the affairs of APC, but his link with corruption and explicit obsession with those whose images have been dented for dipping their hands into our shared patrimony is becoming too smelly even for APC faithfuls. Simply put, Buni is targeting tainted members of other parties, former Ministers of Aviation under the PDP regime, Femi Fani Kayode and Sen. Stella Odua whose name was mentioned in recent Pandora scandals – birds of the same feathers flock together.
Recently, an online media, Sahara Reporters published a damaging investigative story on how Mr. Buni was caught up in a Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) scandal. Using documents gleaned from the CCB and other sources including the Presidency according to the report to support their claims, Sahara Reporters alleged that, he was involved in what it referred to as “anticipatory declaration”, a criminal offence under the CCB law.
But for the immunity afforded him by the constitution, someone with that kind of serious baggage of corruption allegations following him around should not be going about as a free man. It becomes even unfathomable when one considers that this is happening in a government that claims to be fighting corruption.
Certainly, someone of Mr Buni alleged dirt should be not anywhere near his party’s affairs let alone presiding over it as the Chairman. Unfortunately, Buhari’s corruption crusade does not include holding people, especially his friends accountable for engaging in corrupt practices and that’s why Buni continues to parade himself as the APC national chairman. Sad!
But that’s not even the worst of it. In a bid to know and expose the truth, my curiosity compelled me to conduct a quick background check on Buni’s history, and it revealed that he’s neither from a rich family nor was he ever a successful businessman. So, if Buni never inherited huge wealth nor was he ever a successful businessman, where in the world did he acquire the wealth he’s brandishing? How did he accumulate the assets he has declared? Your guess is good as mine.
However, while I leave you to ponder, let me lay down some facts for you. First, Buni was only a former Ward Councilor, a Special Assistant to the former governor of Yobe State H.E. Ibrahim Gaidam from where he became the National Secretary of the APC in 2014, six years after he became the Governor of Yobe State in 2019. Yet, he declared huge assets including Houses, choice plots of land, Filling Stations, Farm landands, cars, huge amounts of cash in the banks that are clearly way more than he could have earned in his previous employment as a Special Assistant in the Government of Yobe State and it didn’t raise any suspicion? This can only happen in Nigeria and sadly, under the watch of President Buhari, the self acclaimed Mr Integrity.
The revelation by Sahara Reporters is too weighty and important to ignore or swept under the carpet. No individual should be bigger than this Nation and the extant laws of the land. Just like the former Senate President, Bukola Saraki was subjected to scrutiny by the CCB, Buni’s allegations too must be throughly investigated and if he’s found wanting, be made to face the appropriate sanctions. Buni’s case should not be like that of the APC leader, Bola Ahmed Tunibu who was also fingered in a case of assets declaration but the matter was made to just fizzle away into thin air. If this circle of high level cover up is allowed to fester, history will never forgive President Buhari and the reputation of the CCB will forever hang in balance.
Finally, while Nigerians are waiting to see the actions that government will take on the matter, let me invite you to watch out for my next article where I promise to provide; an extensive page by page analysis of Mr Buni’s Cash and assests as declared in his 27 page CCB assest declaration form as exposed by Sahara Reporters, write on Mr Buni’s educational qualifications and why he is going around cajoling and arm twisting those standing corruption trials to join the APC and possibly have their allegations quashed. Needless to say this has been compounding the existing problems of the party, especially since it has failed to properly work out a reconciliatory framework, and will also X-ray how Mr Buni has left Yobe State in the lurch, in spite the glaring and enormous security challenges state, we is always gallivanting other states and Abuja which has become his center of operation.
Kera, a journalist writes from Kaduna.
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