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Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Presidential shield around Aso Rock thieves - President Buhari as the Chief clearance

It is sad that many people do not get it regarding President Buhari's letter to the Senate on Mr. Babachir Lawal. This isn't about whether the rules of engagement by the Senate and it's recommendations were fair or not. And it is not about whether the report was a minority report or otherwise.
It's about the integrity of the Presidency vis-a-vis the underpinning mission of the Administration itself to rid Nigeria of high level corruption. It is about the person, and inevitably the office, of the SGF having conducted itself in such a manner that, first and foremost, it could be accused of that "grass cutter" heist in the first place. It is about the propriety of key state officials and/or organs of state being found with fingers soiled in oil, even if legally explicable. Not all legal validation amounts to moral solidity. That is where the President misstepped. Much has been preached to the Presidency about symbolism and optics. If your sole mission is to fight corruption, then the mere appearance of possible corruption should be offensive to your office. Your credo should be that "there would be no corruption and there would be no appearance of corruption".
The President has gone on medical leave thrice since he assumed office and the nation did not evaporate. If Mr. Babachir Lawal were to proceed on a 30-day compulsory leave to enable the matter be properly investigated, Nigeria's bureaucracy will continue to roll. The President need not be involved yet at this level. Only the relevant organ charged with investigation of crimes and malfeasances of this nature needed to do a swift job and decide if there was a case to answer. And if Baba Buhari wanted to be involved for the symbolic reason of this touching on the core of his administration, a three man judicial panel would do a quick job with strict terms of reference.

And in any case, how come Pastor / Engineer / Grasscutter Lawal did not have that moral compass to step down on his own accord for a brief period to enable him clear his name or actually sue the Senate if he felt his integrity unnecessarily impugned by the claims of the Upper House? Let's get it clear, a minority report of the Senate Committee is no less a weighty accusation of graft than one coming from its full Plenary session. The last time I checked, it is within the powers of the Senate to adopt a minority report and consign a majority report to the dustbin if it felt like doing so. The Senate could even temporarily override it's own rules provided it had a majority of members sitting. What is clear is that there is the report of the appearance of a breach of a criminal nature right there in the public domain. Deal with that first because it calls to question the integrity of the Administration.

The more you look at it, the more you see a presidential shield around Aso Rock thieves. Now that the President has returned the gauntlet back to the Senate, let's see who has enough balls to go further on the matter. And some clever guys say this is not "clearance"! Tell me what it is in ijesha dialect.

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