President Buhari And Abacha’s Loots
Nigeria News takes a look at the Abacha loots and the thought of Buhari on the former maximum ruler.
Today, the former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha is regarded as one of those who looted Nigeria’s treasury. Since the return of democracy in 1999, all successive governments had recovered part of the funds looted by the late dictator.
The present government of President Muhammadu Buhari has also recovered parts of the Abacha loots and there are indications that more of it will be recovered before the end of Buhari’s tenure, whose ultimate goal is a fight against corruption.
And if Buhari has the grace to win in 2019, his government will still recover the Abacha loots.
But in June 2008, Muhammadu Buhari who had just lost the election as a presidential candidate of the All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) gave Abacha a clean bill of health in Kano after the remembrance prayers marking 10 years of his death. He said there was no basis for accusing Abacha of corruption.
As Buhari put it then,
"Ten years without the late Abacha, the said allegations remain silent because there are no facts. All the allegations levelled against the personality of the late Gen Sanni Abacha will remain allegations. It is 10 years now, things should be over by now,”
To, Buhari, the late Abacha should be immortalized for his role in stabilizing Nigeria and implementation of some developmental projects.
Buhari’s statement was corroborated by his successor, another slippery ruler who never saw anything bad in Abacha but a fine soldier.
But Abacha has been accused of stealing almost £5 billion while in office, out of which more than $1 billion has reportedly been recovered from various sources around the world.
To me, those opposed to Buhari because their friends or political associates have been implicated in corruption cases are less than 10% of those currently involved in campaigns to vote him out. Majority of those in the current unorganized anti-Buhari campaign was deeply involved in bringing the president to office. And they have genuine reasons for going against him despite working for his success at the polls in 2015.
Quality strategists would have paused to ask questions. Buhari became president on the crest of a hope by many that things would change. Yes, former President Goodluck Jonathan's administration looted the treasury silly. But the lootings by Generals Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Sanni Abacha and Abdulsalami Abubakar were of Guinness Book of World Records proportions when compared with Jonathan's administration.
Buhari and his associates have not mentioned these lootings once, despite the fact that Abacha’s loots are still being recovered several years after his death. If it is not abused galore against the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today, it is Jonathan and his wife, Patience, being taken to the cleaners. To Buhari’s handlers, the false narrative that corruption started and ended with either PDP or Jonathan remains the major item.
Yet, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who got into office shortly after the lootings by IBB, Abacha and Abdulsalami initiated policies that are still being followed by successive presidents till date.
The Universal Basic Education (UBE) programme was initiated by Obasanjo barely six months of becoming president. It made education free and compulsory for Nigerian pupils up to JSS3. Obasanjo built Primary Health Care Centres in Nigeria’s 774 Local Governments with generating sets, well-equipped laboratories, boreholes and secured each building with a fence.
It was Obasanjo that brought EFCC and ICPC. He freed the Telecoms sector from Government monopoly thus allowing MTN and the rest into our world instead of the old NITEL. He made Nigeria proud on the international scene, where he also worked to secure our economy through debt forgiveness among others. He appeared well-prepared for his job, despite having just left prison.
Perhaps Buhari has forgotten all he said about Abacha, the president must be reminded that he served under one the most corrupt regimes in Nigeria. And even at that, President Muhammadu Buhari has failed to bring creativity to the fight against corruption.
At least, if the present government cannot bring better education to the fight against corruption, it is expected to make the EFCC, ICPC created by Obasanjo work better. This is where Obasanjo is far better than all his peers. He has always updated his knowledge on how to move the country forward.