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RIGHTSView, By EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO: Cleaning PDP’ or Nigerians’ Augean stables?

By News Express on 08/07/2015

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Femi Adesina is a gentleman by all standards. He is also a believing Christian whose family history is adorable. Professionally, he is accomplished.  To attain the peak of one's professional career in a country immensely blessed with profoundly endowed intellectuals of all ramifications is no mean feat. Adesina can be rightly rated as one of the few Nigerian writers who put professional excellence first before pecuniary gains. While he held sway as Managing Director of one of Nigeria's best read tabloids – Sun Group of Newspapers – Femi often accepted and ran our media statements and had never for once expected us to bring returns in kind. So, when his chi (personal god) decided to smile on him with a famous appointment as a cabinet level presidential aide, it never came as a shock because, by merit, he is immensely qualified to work for a president who came to the saddle with an unassailable pedigree as a no-nonsense disciplinarian who, over time, has consistently voiced his disapproval of anything untoward, especially in the area of appointments.

With the appointment of Mr Adesina as Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, most Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief that, at last, the President may keep to his reputation. And as the waiting game for political appointees to be unveiled continues, it is not out of place to remind Mr President that he has a historic opportunity to write his name in gold by not bowing to the pressures of ethnic irredentists in Arewa Consultative Forum in making his high profile political appointments. Let the President respect the Federal Character principle in making all appointments, especially in the security sector.

Femi hit the ground running soon after the Senate of the Federal Republic confirmed his appointment. One of his earliest interventions was a piece he poetically authored in reaction to the rabid criticism by the Peoples Democratic Party's (PDP’s) National Publicity Secretary, Mr Olisa Metuh, who carpeted President Buhari for being unnecessarily slow and, indeed, slower than tortoise. Adesina craftily titled his piece, ‘Cleaning the PDP’s Augean stables’. He is of the considered opinion that President Buhari isn’t in a hurry to take populist political decisions that may backfire, simply because the last government made up of PDP completely bastardised the treasury of Nigeria and left it empty. 

But my main query is not to say if Adesina is right or wrong: but to say that what should be cleaned up totally is the Nigerians’ Augean stable, since our economic crises caused by corruption and looting on the part of political office holders weren't caused exclusively by PDP. In Imo is it not the All Progressives Congress (APC) governor that has held sway in the last four years; and has allegedly looted Imo State treasury and set up a palatial private mansion in Owerri, the state capital? Again, are Yobe, Borno, Sokoto and Osun not APC states? What are the balance sheets in those states that can hardly pay their civil servants’ salaries and allowances? By the way, who are the principal promoters of APC and what is their political antecedence? Were they not by-products of this same PDP that they are demonising? Let's look at the piece by Femi Adesina who is regarded as a good prose writer.

Adesina submitted that it is amusing to read what the National Publicity Secretary of the defeated Peoples Democratic Party, Olisa Metuh, considers a 30-day appraisal of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration. The President’s media expert further reflected: “He (Metuh) wants Nigerians to join hands in prayers for the government, so that things would begin to move. What he does not know is that Nigerians had long formed such coalition. They are hands-in-hands, and that was what gave victory to President Buhari in the March 28, 2015 poll.” Adesina affirmed that indeed Nigerians had teamed up to uproot an administration that had brought the country to her knees, and was about to tip her off the precipice. And Nigerians have resolved that never would they allow any government to divide them along regional, religious and ethnic fault lines again. The Buhari administration, he boasted, is naturally contemplative because there was absolutely no rhyme or reason to the way PDP ran the country, particularly in the immediate past dispensation. That is why the Augean stable is being cleaned now, and it requires scrupulous and painstaking planning. Across all sectors, our national life was devalued, and it takes meticulousness and sure-footedness to repair all the breaches. This, the Buhari administration will deliver, he solemnly promised.

Metuh, he stated, talks of people round the President conniving with bureaucrats to siphon money from the treasury. This must be deja vu, as it was the pastime of the immediate past administration, and the enormity of the sleaze will be evident when stolen money, to the tune of billions of dollars, is recovered and returned to the national treasury soon. In the process of time, after all that is being planned by the current administration has matured, and bearing fruits, Nigerians will be able to determine who is serving them acceptably, and who has taken them for a ride. It is just a matter of time, Adesina asserted.
Meanwhile, Metuh and his masters can only rue the missed opportunities to make salutary impact on the lives of Nigerians. They have a long road of regrets to travel, Adesina averred. 

Come to think of it, Nigerians are sick and tired of reading and watching the brickbats and political acrobatic warfare from our politicians.  We want action, not rhetoric. As the saying goes, na words we go chop? These were exactly how PDP and APC converted presidential campaigns to market place exchange of verbal brickbats on nonsensical issues that bore no links as to how our multi-dimensional economic problems can best be reformed and remedied. These two political contraptions concentrated on pouring invectives and abuses on their respective opponents and didn't market their agenda to the reading public. Sadly, Nigerians bought hook, line and sinker these soft lies from both political divides.

For the avoidance of doubt, these are what should be cleaned up; not just by Buhari, but by all political office-holders and the civil populace. We must have a clean sweep of the anti-graft machinery. Let Buhari use the biggest and strongest of his ‘brooms’ to sweep away the slumbering leaderships of ICPC and EFCC. Let not tribal or religious consideration stop Buhari from achieving this all-important anti-corruption revolution. I know that EFCC chairman and majority of the so-called directors are Fulani, same as President Buhari, but this institution hasn't discharged its duties creditably, which is the reason why Nigeria is on her knees and virtually surviving on life support.

Let us have a unified institution, strong enough to wage an all-out war against economic crimes and corruption. The moment Buhari wins the war against corruption most other things would take shape naturally, because corruption is the tap-root of almost 65 per cent of our socio-economic afflictions.  Let Buhari clean up corruption that is destroying procurement mechanisms in the Defence and Police sectors. Let Buhari begin and achieve a clean sweep of Customs and Immigration.  Let Buhari clean up the health and educational sectors, because the lives of all Nigerians, especially millions of the poor, depend on these two platforms. Let Buhari recover our humongous financial resources stolen from the public roads sector over the last two decades.

Let Buhari have a clean sweep of the top echelons of federal bureaucrats most of whom are the real owners of massive housing assets in Abuja. Let Buhari clean up FCT, which became a gold-mine in the last few years, whereby big-time senators got free landed property from the corrupt political hierarchy in FCT administration. These are the clean sweeps we expect, and not just a clean sweep of the PDP’s Augean stables which, in any case, must and should be swept clean.

RIGHTSVIEW appears on Wednesdays and Saturdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, popular activist Emmanuel Onwubiko, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA).

Source News Express

Posted 08/07/2015 7:49:01 PM





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