President Buhari, we must recall, has been consistent in his declaration to limit his probe of activities of past government to that of his immediate predecessor. Even before being sworn into power, President Buhari had maintained that, he would not waste his administration’s precious time on probing every past administration before his as doing so would only amount to sheer distraction which, at the end of the day, would have left the very core of governance unattended to.
Former President Jonathan, on the eve of his leaving office had once stated that limiting such probe to his administration would be a witch-hunting exercise; a position his party, the PDP, has also taken. The PDP, through its spokesman, Olisa Metuh, though expressed its support for the anti-corruption stance of the president, has urged him not to limit the probe to only the immediate past president but to all others before his.
CACOL, in its own contribution to series of reactions that had so far greeted President Buhari’s stand on this issue, lends support to the president’s position. Commenting through its executive chairman, Debo Adeniran, sees the stance of those calling for the extension of the probe to other past administrations as self-defeatist, self-condemning and an obvious product of a guilty conscience. According to him, “these people seemed to now being haunted by their past and it’s like the case of a drowning man looking for others to drag along”. He questioned the rationale behind such call and asked, “from where and how does he begin; from Balewa’s government or that of Shagari? He then went ahead to enumerate the following factors to counter such postulations which he described as unreasonable and shallow:
- Since President Buhari has just taken over directly from Jonathan, all facts, be it documented, oral or circumstantial, could be more easily accessible than having to begin to dissipate energy into digging into the far past which would no doubt be so time-consuming that little or no time at all would be left for actual governance, all through his tenure.
- There is certainly the possibility that many of the sources of probe may have either been deliberately altered or obliterated outright to cover the tracks of perpetrators of many corrupt acts in time past.
- Indisputably, a good number of the very relevant actors in corrupt cases and whose evidences would prove to be vital to the exercise may have died thus truncating its progression in the process.
- And worse-still, such process, obviously, would prove to be so complex and cumbersome that, at a point, members of the public, quite naturally, would begin to lose interest and consequently render the entire exercise unpopular.
Debo Adeniran concluded by imploring President Buhari to disregard such distractions and concentrate on pursuing his anti-corruption crusade with all his vigor and ensuring that the thieves of our common wealth are exposed and punished. “Nigerians expect no less from him”, he stressed. He reminded the president that the generality of Nigerians, having identified the monster called corruption as the arch-enemy that has overtime being warring against the progress of this nation, are impatiently waiting for him to wrestle it to submission as promised by him. He expressed his confidence in the common people of this nation giving their unalloyed support in every way they can, to the president, in the onerous task of sanitizing the polity through this crusade. “He just must deliver; no excuse will be good enough”, he concluded.