Anti-graft war: Before Jonathan is crucified -By Ganiyu Rabo

Filed under: National Issues |
Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari

Goodluck Jonathan and President Muhammadu Buhari


THE recent visit by the National Peace Committee (NPC) led by the former Head of State, General Ab­dulsalami Abubakar to President Muhammadu Buhari has been mischievously interpreted by some media an­alysts and observers as an attempt by former President Goodluck Jonathan to mobilize support against the cur­rent attempt to probe members of his administration, and to seek protection for himself from being tried if found culpable of any official misdeed.

The fact that the Committee had earlier visited Dr. Jona­than fueled such misinterpretations. Apparently, the pro- APC media analysts are still in a campaign mood, and any effort by President Jonathan, or anybody not perceived to belong to their political school, to make constructive sug­gestions, based on experience and Nigeria’s history, is at­tacked without considering their merit. There seems to be a growing culture of intolerance of opposing views, and this is not good for our democracy.

It is unfortunate that distinguished members of the Peace Committee are publicly being derided, even by informed members of All Progressives Congress (APC) irrespective of their role in facilitating the recent peaceful transition, and the emergence of Buhari as Nigeria’s presi­dent. These Nigerian leaders deserve respect, not insults

Indeed, despite the statements made by Bishop Mat­thew Kukah that the former President never sought the intervention of the Committee to stop the probe of his ad­ministration, the media have thrown caution into the wind and recklessly called reputable members of the Commit­tee unbefitting names.

It seems that in the midst of the current cacophony of celebrating APC’s victory and installation of President Bu­hari, APC leaders are unreasonable, and are yet to under­stand that they are the ruling Party who needs everybody’s support. Certainly, they should not deliberately embark on any attempt to alienate any group or individuals especially those who had worked hard to earn their reputation. These are patriots who will not fail to provide alternative views in the management of our great country. This is dangerous, and a dis-incentive to patriotic leaders to make selfless contribution to the policy process. President Muhammadu Buhari needs this even more at this point, especially against the background of our history as a nation. He should note that the people who are currently gearing him to act irrespective of the law and our African culture, are the same people that may soon begin to condemn him. President Buhari had been Head of State before, and should not allow anyone in his employment to disrespect our leaders.Policy formulation and implementation process requires sober reflection and an inclusiveness in any democratic environment.

In any case, it is within the constitutional right of every Ni­gerian to make contribution to the process. Nigerians should not be intimidated from making contributions to the develop­ment of their country. The country belongs to all of us, and not a political party.

The conspiracy of silence from the Presidency as to the exact mission of that Committee is worrisome. Some keen observers are already insinuating that some elements in the Presidency may have deliberately misinformed the media as to the exact content of the discussion between the members of the Committee and President Buhari. This insinuation may have been encouraged because nobody in the Presidency has come out to provide official information on the meeting.

To be sure, the former president never at any point in his meeting with the Committee solicited for any protection for himself or members of his administration. He shares Presi­dent Buhari’s enthusiasm for anti-graft activities. He, how­ever, differs on approach. He does not believe in media hype as part of such an approach. More often, media hype around individuals accused of corruption tend to convict such people before the court of public opinion even when the person is ul­timately exonerated of any misdeeds by courts of competent authority. This is against the spirit of our Constitution, and cer­tainly not the reason for our sacrifice to ensure that democratic governance was made possible.

Former President Jonathan is a firm believer that state’s institutions should be allowed to function without individual showmanship and unnecessary interference. He stated this much during his meeting with the members of the Peace Committee. He told the Committee that he should not be spared if found culpable by any probe, after all, he had made an unprecedented sacrifice by conceding the 2015 Presiden­tial Election to President Buhari. Indeed, despite insinuations to the contrary, he ensured peaceful transition from a govern­ing party to an opposition party. What more can one expect from a patriot, and unarguably the hero of Nigeria’s democ­racy?

It is, therefore, uncharitable to interpret the engagement be­tween President Jonathan, and the subsequent meeting of the Peace Committee with the President, as an attempt to plead for people who are found to be corrupt in any form during their times as public office holders.The effect of the con­tinuous media engagement on superficialities of tri­als of corrupt public officials has thrown Nigerians into another round of debate once again on the ap­propriateness of making the person of the President as the focal point of governance. The era of charis­matic leaders should be over by now. Our Constitu­tion has ensured that this is so through the creation of State institutions.

Nigerians are watching the game play with appre­hension and as the ultimate decider of our democrat­ic journey. Those in positions today should note that Nigerians will one day demand for results of these efforts. The onus lies with the elected leadership of the APC led federal government to do what is right to all.