Monday, 8 December 2014



Since his exit from government, Buhari has been trying to project an image of himself as an honest, detribalised and incorruptible political leader deeply concerned about the deteriorating condition of life in the country. Unfortunately, over the years Buhari’s reputation has been sullied by inconsistencies and serious errors of judgment.
To begin with, Buhari was minister of petroleum in the military regime of Olusegun Obasanjo. While he was still serving, it was reported that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) could not account for $2.8 billion that accrued to the federal government from crude oil sales. Since then, Buhari had been trying to explain away the scandal.

However, his refusal to appear before the Oputa Panel to address the matter conclusively made discerning Nigerians to wonder whether the former military head of state was hiding a $2.8 billion-sized skeleton in his cupboard.
One would have expected Buhari, given his much talked about anti-corruption stance, to avail himself of the opportunity to state all he knew (and did not know) about the missing money, not the least because $2.8 billion is a gigantic sum that can make a positive difference in Nigeria’s economy.
To the best of my knowledge, Buhari has yet to give a satisfactory explanation of what transpired. Only die-hard Buharists like Tam David-West think that the former petroleum minister absolutely has no case to answer on the issue.
Again, Buhari seems not to realise that, by associating closely with prominent people of questionable character, he is invariably telling Nigerians that, in terms of character, he is not so different from them. The military dictatorship of Sani Abacha was undoubtedly corrupt. That much is clear from the hundreds of millions of dollars which have been identified by foreign countries and banks as funds stashed away by the late dictator.
An English adage says, “Birds of the same feather flock together.” In my view, Buhari accepted the post of chairman, Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) under Abacha probably for self rehabilitation, having been unceremoniously kicked out of office by Babangida and his cohorts about a decade earlier.
Having worked for Abacha, is it possible that Buhari was completely inoculated from the virus of corruption associated with the Abacha regime?
When Buhari was chairman, more PTF projects were executed in the north than in the south; moreover, of the six geopolitical zones in the country, the south east geopolitical zone got the least number of projects.
A detribalised Nigerian would not be so biased in distributing federal projects to favour his own region. A probe of the activities and accounts of the trust fund in 2000 revealed that billions of naira were stolen under Buhari’s watch. There is no evidence linking Buhari directly to the missing money.
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