Posted by News Express | 7 November 2015 | 2,892 times
Senator representing Kaduna Central Senatorial, Mallam Shehu Sani, has given reasons why President Muhammadu Buhari may lose the war against corruption, the main plank on which re ran for the March 28, 2015 election and was voted by Nigerians.
Sani, who, like Buhari, belongs to the All Progressives Congress (APC), said in an interview published today by Saturday Vanguard: “When you fight to defeat an enemy, you need all the support and solidarity as well as all the backing to achieve that. At that time, you are blind to realities and the character and content of those backing you. By the time you are on the seat of power, you have to battle entrenched interests who were part of the forces that brought you to power.
“One of the biggest undoing of people who came on a high moral high ground to power is having to detach themselves from entrenched interest and it is clear that what the entrenched interest do each time they study the possibility of a depth of government is that they jump ship and then become a liability.
“Why Obasanjo was not able to spark off his reform from the early time has to do with the fact that in his earlier years in power, he had to please and appease those very forces who aided him into power. When you embark on such policy of pleasing and appeasing, you will sacrifice a legacy and your opportunity to perform.
“So, a leader has a choice either to be on the side of the people and not entrenched interest or to appease entrenched interests and sacrifice performance and delivery and this is the challenge before the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“If you have found yourself in power, and faced with the problem of paucity of foreign exchange and then you have to deal with rice importers who were part of the contributors to the campaign, then, you will have your conscience to fight.
“In all sense of the word, entrenched interest has been the undoing of the government of the past and also a big challenge to President Muhammadu Buhari to break away from them and move Nigeria forward.
“Nigeria’s history of anti corruption trial is a media and political war that begins in the media and end up in politics. That is why in all the 140 prisons in the nation today, you don’t find people who have looted billions and millions of dollars in the cells.
“When you visit the prisons in Nigeria today, most of those you see there are pick pockets, motor park touts, small scale advanced fee fraud persons who have no resource to get out, petty drug peddlers, prostitutes and miscreants in the society.
“We have reached a point in Nigeria where we have to depend on the judicial system of other countries to be able to able to recover our country and recover our money from those who looted our money. If we don’t exorcise politics out of our anti corruption crusade, it is most likely going to be polluted. We treat corruption in Nigeria with kid’s gloves. We pamper and glorify corrupt people.
“If there is any difference that President Muhammadu Buhari will make is to prove that he can do what other people could not do. The World Bank is telling us now that over $7 billion of Abacha loot is still in the custody of banks across the world. This is a nation where there are people who still see Abacha as a hero.
“We need to ask ourselves whether if Abacha was alive today, would we have heard the billions which he had stolen or are we are still in a country whereby the billions which you have stolen is only heard of or known when you have been arrested by the security forces of other countries or you must have died or fallen out of favour with the party or government in power?”
Sani, a renowned rights activist before foraying into politics, made it clear that the country must tackle corruption headlong if it is to make any progress.
His words: “Well, there are people who have their own interpretations for whatever happens. But we need to define corruption and who are corrupt. If we have a proper definition of corruption, then we must go against everybody who is corrupt and not a few people. If we are interested in eradicating corruption, we cannot choose those to support and those to preserve.
“There are three kinds of thieves. The ones we arrest and prosecute the ones we choose to arrest and prosecute and the ones we dust, repackage and present them as respectable people in the society. So, if we are going to fight corruption, then we must tie corruption to everybody that is corrupt.
“A nation that is desirous of cleaning its past, thread the path of ethics and morality must not be selective in its prosecution of anti-corruption war. The Buhari administration is reputed to be antagonistic to corruption and corrupt people and it will continuously be probed for its own perception and image.
“If we can see corruption and cover it up in the name of partisanship, the international community is free from partisanship and will be able to correct us. So, we must ensure that our views and position on corruption do not in any way ensure prosecuting some and preserving others. The corrupt man of today is influenced by how you treat the corrupt man of yesterday.
“If people are corrupt and because they have joined a moral train, he is forgiven, we are simply deceiving ourselves. We must call corruption by its name. In Israel today, the former Prime Minister Ehud Omar, who played a leading role in the founding of Israel is in jail for corruption.
So, there is nothing like saying he has contributed or he has worked and should not be prosecuted. Rev. Allan Bulsaga was a leading anti- apartheid figure but he was tried for corruption. Helmot Khol, the German Chancellor who led the unification, was also tried for corruption. So, if we shield corruption simply because of political expediency, then we are not doing justice to the fight against corruption.
“We should not also forget that the future generations in Nigeria will be free from our political chase of partisanship and judge us based on the fact which they have on the ground. We inherited a nation that has been plundered over the years, with a pile of debt which our children and grand children will continue to pay. If we are going to take the first step, we must ensure that those who led our country to ruin are brought to book. If we don’t do that, we are simply wasting our time.”
•Photo shows Senator Shehu Sani.
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