President Buhari has mastered the sly art of clinging to power by turning a blind eye to the shortcomings of the men and tin gods that made him.
Recently, President Buhari has come under severe attack and criticism for prosecuting a highly selective and suspicious anti-corruption campaign. The president is accused of deploying the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to persecute perceived political detractors and opposition. Although most of the culprits – mostly members of former ruling People’s Democratic Party – being investigated by the EFCC can muster no defence to the evidences furnished against them, pundits are of the opinion that, the president has chosen to ignore the corrupt elements in his party to persecute corrupt politicians and ex-public officers in the PDP.
One week after the United Kingdom (UK)’s Daily Mail Online questioned President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption credentials, saying he is wealthy and that his family lives large, the paper has again hit the Nigerian leader.
A recent article by Paul Cahalan titled, “Is Nigerian leader’s pal ‘fantastically corrupt’? Friend of African president accused of stealing £500million,” insinuated that although President Buhari is seen by some as leading the battle against corruption, worrying allegations twirl around one of his close allies and Minister of Transport, Rotimi Amaechi.
Cahalan noted that the former governor of Rivers State who travelled with the president to the summit on corruption in London, actually bankrolled Buhari’s presidential campaign.
It reads in part: “In the Nigerian press he has been dubbed ‘ATM’ – the American term for cash machine – because of his ability to produce vast sums of money at short notice. He remains in his post despite being accused of misappropriating £338million by a commission investigating the sale of state assets.
“Separately, Amaechi is accused of diverting £140million of state funds into Buhari’s presidential campaign, with reports he paid for media, consultants and private jets. The allegations come as the president stands accused of enjoying a lavish lifestyle while many millions suffer in poverty. There was also a request for £13million for building a VIP wing at a hospital used by families of the president and his ministerial team.
“Mr Amaechi has denied the allegations against him.”
It would be recalled that the integrity of the Transport Minister was recently called to question by his successor in the Rivers State Government House, Nyesom Wike.
Wike, who used to be very chummy with Amaechi, set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the sale of value assets of the state by Amaechi’s administration. The commission, which was presided over by Justice George Omereji, indicted the ex-governor. The commission, in its report made in October 2015, accused Amaechi of selling valuable Rivers’ assets including four gas turbines without due process.
In defense of Amaechi, who was a ministerial nominee at that time, the All Progressives Congress (APC) publicity secretary in Rivers, Chris Finebone described the release of the government white paper as “nothing worth more than the decrepit paperweight and putrefying character of its mastermind and authors.”
The grievous allegations against Amaechi were eventually ignored by President Buhari as he went on to appoint him as a minister in his cabinet with approval from the National Assembly.