THE anti-corruption agenda of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari has been reduced to an object of ridicule. This is very unfortunate and regrettable. The nation had hoped that this top priority of the regime would be driven to a logical conclusion by Buhari, who rode to power three years ago as an incorruptible knight in shining armour.
The APC Federal Government has focused great attention on sustaining the tag of corruption on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which it dethroned from power in 2015. PDP ruled Nigeria for 16 years and left behind its share of the good, the bad and the ugly. But, typical of politicians, when the party lost power, a large tranche of its leaders and beneficiaries flocked to the new ruling APC. Many of these people occupied ministerial, governorship and other forms of elective and appointive positions. Some of them are still facing corruption charges or were indicted by the anti-graft agencies.
Yet, when the Federal Government, through the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, finally took the bait and unveiled what it called a list of “looters”, it contained only names of politicians who are still in the PDP. Totally excluded from the list were names of scores of APC stalwarts who decamped from the PDP, including those facing corruption charges. It also excluded the leaders in the core APC legacy political parties who are also facing corruption charges or were indicted for allegedly looting their states’ treasuries and funding the emergence of the new ruling party.
Not to be outdone; the PDP also published the names of alleged APC “corrupt” leaders, including those who decamped from their party. In the process of these politically-motivated exchanges, the stigma of corruption, which is chiefly responsible for Nigeria’s backwardness, has been demystified on the altar of politicisation.
The APC Federal Government created this problem from Day One by its discriminatory pursuit of the anti-graft war, focusing only on recovery of alleged looted funds from current PDP members who occupied offices under the former President Jonathan regime. When the long-expected “looters’ list” came out, it left out APC members.
We agree with the Head of Transparency in Nigeria (TI), Mr Awwal Rafsanjani, that the publication of a partial list by the Federal Government was a political blunder which did great disservice to the anti-graft war. Most of these cases are sub-judice and liable to be further mired interminably by so many libel suits. Genuine offenders may escape justice. By commission or omission, the Federal Government has almost derailed its anti-graft war.
It is not too late for the Federal Government to amend the list and ensure that all indicted offenders are exposed, irrespective of their current political leanings.