Probe Obasanjo, Atiku, Tinubu, others, LP urges Buhari
• Organised labour backs President
IF any probe of those alleged to have looted the nation’s treasury is to have any meaning and not be seen as a selective witch-hunt, then President Muhammadu Buhari should start with all past civilian administrations beginning from 1999.
This was the position of the Chairman, Labour Party of Nigeria (LP), Abdulkadir Abdulsalam, who yesterday urged Buhari to be holistic by extending such probes to former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, erstwhile Vice President Abubakar Atiku, Senate President Bukola Saraki and other former state governors.
Meanwhile, members of the Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Committee on Peaceful Election yesterday met behind a closed door with Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Yakubu Dogara.
Bishop of the Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Hassan Kukah, who fielded questions from reporters on behalf of the panel after the parley, urged the Buhari administration to endeavour to remain focused in the task of delivering democracy dividends to Nigerians and not get distracted from the core business of governance on the account of too much talk about probe.
Frowning at speculations surrounding the resolve by Buhari to launch an investigation to ascertain those who pilfered public funds, Kukah acknowledged that corrupt practices over the years truly set the country backward.
Also, organised labour has thrown its weight behind the President’s determination to prosecute those who looted the nation’s treasury.
It, however, urged Buhari to expedite action in saving the nation’s manufacturing sector in order to generate more employment for Nigerian youths.
At a press conference in Kaduna yesterday, the Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Issa Aremu pointed out that since his inauguration on May 29, Buhari has made some significant moves in the direction of good governance in the areas of anti-corruption, security and economy.
Aremu explained that “Labour agrees with President Buhari that Nigeria has to break this vicious cycle of corruption, unemployment and insecurity in Nigeria before we can make progress,’’ stressing that “all Nigerians are therefore enjoined to support the government in this war against graft, which is the root of all woes including senseless violence engendered by poverty.”
He said: “Beyond recovering the stolen funds, we need institutional framework to prevent graft and public theft. To this extent, we commend the presidential directive on a Single Treasury Account (STA) for all federal revenues to ensure greater probity, transparency and accountability in the collection, disbursement and utilisation of national funds.”
The LP chairman told journalists that the Halliburton issue must also be probed to enable Nigerians know the true position.
“Firstly, I want to state that the President’s statement that trial of those who looted the nation’s finances is a welcome development in our fight against corruption. But the fundamental question is; what are the pragmatic mechanisms put in place by the Buhari administration and the All Progressives Congress (APC) to fight corruption? He has to evolve a special means of fighting this corruption because the corruption we are talking about involves many people in high places. Fighting corruption must be comprehensive, not selective, not discriminatory, not biased and must be total and holistic. Fighting corruption must involve former President Obasanjo, Vice President Atiku Abubakar and the former governors.’’
He said if former Governor James Ibori is still languishing in jail, in Great Britain, then governors who served and are known to have looted this country, in whatever political party, should not be spared.
“It is not proper that people would loot our money only to use the same money to recycle themselves and become our leaders again, it should not be allowed to happen,” Abdulsalam said.
Abdulsalam who noted that Buhari should know that Nigerians elected him because of his previous pedigree urged him to ensure that he retained that sincerity of purpose in his fight against corruption.
“At his age, he has nothing to fear. The corruption fight should involve Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Joshua Dariye, Bukola Saraki and all those governors now in the Senate who are found to have looted our resources must be prosecuted. He should not limit the fight to only the NNPC.’ ’
Kukah told reporters that the parley chaired by Abdulsalami was in conclusion of their consultations aimed at getting a feel from the stakeholders about what they feel concerning the National Peace Committee and its role.
His words: “There is no such thing as probe in a democratic setting like ours. What obtains is investigation, and once people lead and things are not right, investigation becomes necessary.
“However, in doing that we must never be distracted from the spectacular actions undertaken by former President Jonathan. He is an individual. I think this whole thing about probe can be ascertained once investigations are concluded. But we are saying that a lot of talks and speculations about this probe are distractions nobody need. So the most important thing is that we need a stable country first before we can talk about these things. And they would have happened down the line.”