SECOND Republic Politician, Dr. Tunji Braithwaite is not happy over the deep rot in the polity occasioned by mindless graft especially among the leadership class. This was the reason he made eradication of corruption (clearing rats, mosquitoes and cockroaches) the fulcrum of his presidential campaign in 1983 when he ran on the platform of the Nigeria Advance Party (NAP) which he founded. Currently, Braithwaite says President Muhammadu Buhari has not started fighting corruption despite claims to the contrary.
He said the arraignment of Senate President Bukola Saraki before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) is a misstep that will make Saraki a free man soon in spite of the criminal charges slammed against him. Braithwaite, who has been practising law since 1961, in this interview at his Victoria Island, Lagos home, fears that Nigeria is not completely free of military opportunism and its influence in the polity. Going down memory lane, he disclosed why Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Malam Aminu Kano could form an alliance in 1979 and why he ran against Awolowo in 1983 in spite of their closeness.
By Clifford Ndujihe, Deputy Political Editor
His assessment of President Muhammadu Buhari administration so far
I spoke on a TV programme where people asked me questions on the latest appointments that he made – chief of staff, secretary to the government of the federation, etc, whether they were not slanted to the North.
I said may be so but I have other insight to the latest appointments because I know Buhari very well and he knows me. I said forget about the northern slant and look at other more significant things. The date of the announcement of those appointments was significant. The announcement was made on August 27, which was the anniversary of the Babangida coup that toppled Buhari in 1985.
I said people should think about that. Why would he make such pivotal announcement on such an anniversary? People should think. We should not take things on face value. So, it is clear to me that, Buhari for the moment, is not thinking about North and South. My analysis is that Buhari is thinking of the military. He wants to do something about the Nigerian military. If you looked at his latest appointments, two of the appointments were his former military colleagues. It shows that Nigeria is not yet out of the woods when it comes to military opportunism and he wants to clear his backyard first.
Much noise, no action against graft
We have heard a lot of noise being made about attacking corruption. What has he done about attacking corruption four months after he was sworn in? The fact that we are having better electricity supply and the refineries are working cannot be what he has done.
His body language, may be. But what we got all this time is military news. To me, he wants to make sure that military opportunists, military looters, who are still very much around in the control and administration of this country directly or through their proxies are adequately handled.
How many people have been charged for corruption? Nobody. One military fellow, Sambo Dasuki, the former NSA has been taken to a Magistrates’ Court. Put your two and two together if you are a thinker.
What about Senate President Bukola Saraki being taken to the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT?
That is what I am saying. Saraki’s arraignment before the CCT will die a natural death. The charges that I heard read against Saraki were criminal, why take him to the CCT, which is like a bull dog without teeth? The CCT has not got criminal power.
Where should Saraki have been taken to?
He should have been taken to a court with criminal power to send people to jail if found guilty. The CCT cannot jail. You will find that this circus show will die a natural death.
Read full interview on Monday Vanguard.