Robert Obioha: The story of Buhari, Diezani and the oil cabal

by Robert Obioha

Diezani-Alison-MaduekeBut in fighting corruption, there is the need to avoid labeling and stereotyping of certain people, individuals or gender. The fight against corruption should be holistic and not selective.

It is expected that following the outcome of the March 28 presidential poll and the concession of defeat by President Goodluck Jonathan and congratulating Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, even before the final result was announced, that the winners and their supporters clubs should after the loud celebration of their victory settle down to the onerous business of how to fulfill their campaign promises to Nigerians.

One would have thought that the convivial mood that was witnessed as a result of Jonathan’s statesmanship that saved the nation from prophetic doom and anarchy ought to have guided the way they talk and portray persons that served Nigeria according to best of their abilities. While that is yet to be the case, there is one noticeable ugly trend in the polity that the new ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and their supporters should guard against; the overt media smear campaign and witch-hunting of their perceived political enemies, especially those that served in various capacities in President Jonathan’s administration. The ongoing media hysteria and villainous attacks designed to portray some ministers, especially the female ones that served in the outgoing administration, as devils and faces of corruption and other oddities.

The seeming trial on the pages of newspapers and the ubiquitous social media is very odious, reprehensible and out of sync with civilized bahaviour and principles of due process. It is also inconsistent with ‘change’, the mantra the new government rode to power. Such orchestrated and biased media attack is unnecessary intrusion into the private lives of the concerned individuals who will soon vacate the seat of power and to even say that some of them are already seeking for asylum when the contrary is actually the case is the height of such media opprobrium.

Let those behind these media attacks, especially on the person of the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, understand that while they have the right to comment on her tenure as the nation’s oil minister, that right does not include, in any way, outright dishing out of falsehood, distortion of facts, and attempts to malign and impugn her character and reputation simply because power has changed hands. In fact, power will continue to change hands in the country. So, let nobody gloat over its temporary hold on power.

They should also understand that she is not the only oil minister the country has produced and she is not the only minister in the Jonathan administration. Since power is transient and what goes round comes round as we say in our local parlance, let them and the oil cabals she might have stepped on their toes in her reforms in the oil sector, thread with caution and deal with facts and figures.

Above all, let them be guided by due process and act within the bounds of the laws of the land. We do not condone corruption and therefore we support any genuine move to curb corruption in our polity generally and not in oil industry alone, where at the moment all prying eyes have directed their gaze as if other cesspools of corruption do not exist.

But in fighting corruption, there is the need to avoid labeling and stereotyping of certain people, individuals or gender. The fight against corruption should be holistic and not selective. Initially, while the media hype was on, the president-elect, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari did not say when and how he will fight the anti-corruption war. But how Buhari will start the war emerged on Sunday when a delegation of Adamawa State chapter of APC visited him in Abuja. He told them that he would revisit the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) over the alleged missing $20 billion ostensibly because of the way he felt the whistle blower, and ex-CBN boss, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was removed from office. But now that Buhari has indicated his interest to probe the NNPC matter that has been closed, Nigerians are watching to see how it goes. While Buhari’s probe is being awaited, nobody should be deemed guilty already as some weavers of spurious narratives are doing.

Why is Buhari opening this matter that was forensically investigated by a reputable audit firm, PriceWaterhouseCoppers (PWC) and the highlights of its findings and recommendations were made public and government has started implementing them? Now that Buhari has signalled his intention to reopen the matter, President Jonathan has ordered the release of the full audit report to the public to demonstrate that he has nothing to hide.

But if Buhari is not satisfied with the earlier probe instituted by Jonathan, it is within his powers to do so. But before he embarks on that probe, he should be reminded that while Nigerians will like to know what happens in NNPC especially over the alleged missing money, they would like to also know what has happened to that corporation in the last 16 years. To carry out such forensic investigation on NNPC from 1999 till date will be deemed to be holistic and not selective.

Nigerians will like to know other forms of sleaze in other sectors of the economy as well. If it is possible, let him probe all Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) so that they should account for all the monies they have received in the past 16 years. He should probe the utilization of constituency allowances given to federal legislators and probe how some Nigerians, have become super rich overnight when the only business they have done is being in politics.

This crop of Nigerians can be found in PDP, APC and other political parties. If he cannot do all these, let him simply settle down to governance to which Nigerians elected him, study the books and situations to know actually what happened before he knows what to do and how to do it. That is the first thing he should do. He should talk less and act more. The era of electioneering campaign is over, it is time to work. He should not be carried away by the shout of malevolent and vindictive tale weavers.

He should beware of his new friends before he becomes hostage to willing Aso Rock praise singers and worshippers. The task he has set for himself is so enormous that he has little time to waste. He raised the hopes of Nigerians and the expectations are so high.

Let him not disappoint Nigerians by witch-hunting perceived political enemies or embark on selective justice. There is indeed no time for such trivia.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

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