By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA – Presidency has again stated that the administration of president Mohammadu Buhari will not shelve the probing of the past government of former President Goodluck Jonathan in the face of monumental fraud and corruption.
It however revealed that no one is under probe at the moment, saying that the government is only taking briefings and gathering evidences to prosecute corrupt officials of the past government.
The presidency’s reiteration followed an accusation of selective probe by a prominent Northern leader, Tanko Yakassai.
Speaking exclusively to Vanguard on Sunday in reaction to the accusation, the Senior Special Adviser to president Buhari on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu said that there are sensitive matters arising from briefings and officials engagements which the president cannot overlook.
Shehu described as laughable the allegation that Buhari has excluded other former presidents like chief Olusegun Obasanjo due to his affinity with him.
“Let me say that officially, nobody is under probe even Dr. Jonathan. People should not make mistakes about the fact that what is going on are routine investigations. These are matters that the president has found on the table.
“So, there is nothing like a probe. If Jonathan will be probed, you would have heard of, may be, an administrative panel of enquiry or Judicial Panel of Enquiry. But it hasn’t come to that. These are matters of routine engagements of due process of law and order.
“I am talking about probe now. As I said, President Buhari in his campaign said this government is not going to probe into the past. We are not probing but as a responsible government, you cannot bring to the table matters such as we are dealing with and then, the president will wave them off.
“The office of the president may be powerful but it is controlled, regulated by due process and the constitution of the country. The president cannot wave away the matters that are arising from either handing over or the routine briefings that he is into.
“How can anybody say he was part of the Obasanjo military regime. That’s why he’s not probing them?
Speaking further, the presidential spokesman queried why the allied of former president Jonathan would wait until now to Champoin the cause of probing past government before Jonathan.
He stated that it was Jonathan’s responsibility to probe the governments of Obasanjo and Umoru Musa Yar’Adua.
“Let me tell you, if Obsanjo and Yar”Adua and all of the past governments before Jonathan needed to have been probed, why did Mr. Jonathan shy away from his responsibility? Why didn’t he probe him why he was in office? Why didn’t Mr. Tanko Yakkassai ask Jonathan to probe Yar’Adua, Babangida, Obasanjo? Why do they have to wait for Buhari to come to do what he should have done then?
“It is common sense. So, if he didn’t probe them, why should his people ask some other person to come and probe them? If they felt it was desirable, as a party, PDP, if it was desirable to probe the past administration, why didn’t they do it themselves? Why do they have to wait for President Buhari to come?
“No, this is not a government of probes. It is a government of due process and law and order. President Buhari is dealing with the matters he has found on the table and he has no power under the constitution to wave them. If someobody had stolen Nigeria’s one billion dollars of oil, President Buhari is not authorized to wave it off under the law. He should ask questions. There is no probe going on now. People who are creating the spectre of probes in the country just want to create unnecessary fear”, he said.
Asked to say assuredly when the probes would actually begin, Shehu said it was the prerogative of President Buhari to say.
“I don’t know if there will be probe eventually. The president will determine that. I am not permitted to say that now. But as it is now, matters are rising from the briefings the president is getting, from handing over, matters he met on the table. The president has the right to ask questions and that is what he is doing”, he said.
On the issue of running a unilateral government having not appointed Ministers, Shehu said that the allegation was unfounded.
According to him, the government is running well and it’s Ministries and Agencies were competently manned by the Permanent Secretaries.
Shehu however assured that president Buhari would form his cabinet soon.
“It is not correct. The constitution is very clear about the powers of the State. Legislatives powers are there under the parliament. The President has not interfered with the powers of the parliament even when the clamoir for him was there to save the parliament from the crisis of leadership, he stayed out of it.
“The power of the Judiciary resides in that arm of government. President Buhari is not interfering and the Executive powers of the government are there and the Executive Arm of government is the first arm which he had under him, there is no vacancy now as we speak now. All the Ministries of the government are been competently run under the supervision of the Permanent Secretaries.
“They consult the President and the President consults them. He consults the party and the party consults him. So, if anybody is not in the room when these matters are being discussed, don’t go out there telling people that there is no consultation going on. You cannot be an adviser to PDP president and also be an Adviser to the APC government at the same time.
“I hope so. He didn’t say September 1 though. The president will appoint Ministers. There is no question about that. I don’t know. The president will decide when he will appoint his Ministers. If it is auspicious for him to appoint them in September, he will”, he said.