Sentiments apart, some things are just not adding up at all in the manner the present administration is running. Which week passed at least in the last few months that we did not hear mind-blowing rape of our common wealth by people working with, or rather around, the president? And the only thing that keeps coming from our president is that “I am not aware.”
Whosoever that has observed this government closely since its inception can rightly liken President Buhari to Ali Baba. The present administration’s all round misconduct is so brazen, so primitive and outright insulting. Can the president also claim not to be aware that a common denominator in all the alleged fraud and corruption scandals in his government involving the NNPC has been the man working with him as his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari?
At the wake of the revelation of Baru’s $25 billion secret oil contracts, it was argued that powerful people at the corridors of power were tacitly involved in this. And as said, “If the President’s powerful Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, could sit on the NNPC board and such a calamity is taking place without an eyelid being blinked, we are forced to believe that the stealing is being done to the advantage of the President who has shown by his body language that the only thing that matter most to him for now, is his second term ambition.”
Unless politics has given us a new and completely different Buhari, the one we voted for in 2015, will not entertain Maina’s case and behave as if what has been revealed does not matter; he cannot be silent on fraud/corruption at National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Security and Exchange Commission (SEC); and Baru’s NNPC $25 billion secret contract awards; and now another N50 billion NNPC’s money stashed in what could best be described as private accounts outside the Single Treasury Account (TSA) policy of the administration.
What do you call Maina’s explosive testimony on Channels Television: a smear campaign or obfuscation of facts? Why is a president who armored himself as a warrior against corruption displaying such an odd reluctance in this fight? Why is he giving the impression that he is a likely accomplice in the spate of malfeasance that has become the defining characteristic of his administration?
The question is: why is the president so nonchalant about all these shameful disclosures? Is he shielding some powerful people or are some powerful people around him shielding him from knowing the truth?
Is it not very disheartening that despite the loudly trumpeted efforts at enthroning transparency in the conduct of government business, full disclosure in the administration of crude sales still remains an issue at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)?
The House of Representatives last week raised questions over a “purported” presidential approval withholding some special NNPC accounts from being transferred to the Treasury Single Account. The accounts, with funds worth over N50billion, are still being kept by commercial banks in breach of the TSA policy, which provides that all accounts belonging to Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government should be transferred to the TSA. The TSA, a centralized Federal Government revenue account, is kept by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The CBN confirmed to the House Committee that it was aware of the excluded accounts, pointing to a document tendered by the NNPC saying that there was a presidential approval. The said approval was a memo written by the Chief Staff to the President, Mr. Abba Kyari, authorizing the NNPC to exclude the accounts from the TSA.
Curiously, the memo didn’t say much other than opening with the line, “I have been directed.” Which made the Kyari’s memo appeared to be an Executive Order.
Hear the explanation of the NNPC boss, Maikanti Baru: “By virtue of the operations of the NNPC, the Corporation had made series of compelling cases to the Presidency and the Central Bank of Nigeria to allow certain categories of accounts operate outside the TSA, as they contain co-mingled funds governed by detailed agreements with local and international implications.”
In essence the NNPC boss inferred that President Buhari was fully aware that the corporation has accounts holding billions of both Naira and Dollars outside the TSA. So how do you reconcile this?
As aptly remarked by the minister of state for Petroleum in his memo to the president exposing the $25 billion Baru and Kyari’s secret oil contract, “There are many more Your Excellency. In most of these activities, the explanation of the GMD is that you are the minister of petroleum and your approvals were obtained.”
Truth be told, our president is the problem. He continues to violate the constitution, rule of law and government policies including those he instituted and some people keep telling us he means well for the country. Is this not an absurdity? The Buhari we thought will put a good system foundation in place is now so weak and incapacitated allowing his regime to be completely hijacked and turned into a house of commotion. Walai this thing is becoming more serious than anyone may want to explain it. God bless Nigeria o!
Ifeanyi Izeze writes from Abuja and can be reached at [email protected].