Buhari: Prince of Thieves
President Buhari has searched and decided. The Department of State Services (DSS) has done its screening and clearing of candidates. Furthermore, and the Nigerian Senate has accepted and announced the candidates for a long-awaited “ministerial list.” Alas, its leader, Buhari, has deceived the Nigerian nation and spat upon them. Habit or rhetoric is not “CHANGE”.
In a nation full of decent competent technocrats and those with clean records, we must ask a question. Why has President Buhari, the self-styled “Grand Sherriff of Anti-Corruption” chosen the most corrupt ministerial cabinet Nigeria has ever seen for a first-term presidential tenure? Thus, Buhari’s ministerial list shows Nigerians concrete evidence that to be a long-standing or born again democrat, you have to be pragmatic, be a thief. It is the wrong message for Nigeria’s democracy. Therefore, Buhari is now the “Prince of Thieves”. Thieves did not capture Buhari’s politics, Buhari’s politics has captured the thieves.
Nonetheless, Buhari’s anti-corruption message through his “ministerial list” to Nigerians is alarming. It says with clarity, those elected or appointed politicians, especially governors. They can steal as much as they can and secure their career futures. Even the best of men, the “Prince”, will accept anyone’s money to win the elections. And protect you with his reputation and power once in the office.
Moreover, the “ministerial list” of Buhari has the rare technocrat. The rest are politicians, gubernatocrats and gubernatorial candidates. The current biggest and aspiring biggest thieves within the Nigerian political economy. It reads minister by the state of origin;
- Chris Ngige – Anambra
- Kayode Fayemi – Ekiti
- Rotimi Amaechi – Rivers
- Babatunde Fashola – Lagos
- Abdulrahman Danbazau – Kano
- Aisha Alhassan – Taraba
- Ogbonaya Onu – Abia
- Kemi Adeosun –Ogun
- Abubakar Malami – Kebbi
- Hadi Sirika – Katsina
- Adebayo Shittu – Oyo
- Suleiman Adam–Jigawa
- Solomon Dalong–Plateau
- Ibe Kachikwu –Delta
- Osagie Ehanire –Edo
- Audu Ogbeh – Benue
- Lai Mohammed –Kwara
- Ahmed Isa Ibeto –Niger
- Amina Mohammed – Kaduna
- More to be appointed.
Nigeria’s four months wait for Buhari to appoint ministers now makes good strategic sense. Buhari and his team imposed “inevitability” on Nigerians. He did so in the same way Nigerian TV evangelists make miracle seekers give false testimonies before, not after, their “miracles” occur. Countless postponements delay the start of the miracle process long enough to make Nigerian desperate. Then, the evangelists get false testimony, and they perform the miracle. When nothing happens, you leave and internalise your anger. That is Buhari’s tactic.
Furthermore, several members of his cabinet, especially the thieving gubernatocrats, used vast stolen public monies to install Buhari as president. We are discussing vast monies intended for the people’s need and livelihoods were used to finance Buhari’s presidential ambition. In return, the thieves were to secure impunity under the Man, Buhari. Who else is he going to prosecute? Sambo Dasuki, an old enemy of Buhari, is now under prosecution. We may see several individuals begrudge and take revenge on Buhari for the witch hunts, that are not instances of thoroughgoing anti-corruption.
Buhari will limit even the witchhunts and investigations to politicians whose stealing do not link to those thieves Buhari is “princing”. Hence, if you stole with Fashola, Amaechi, Fayemi, Ogbeh and other thieving cronies, it is time to thank your stars that Buhari is in power; impunity is yours.
To see a man who in just 18 months of military rule creates great hope for Nigeria’s “Better Society.” Then backslide into a ‘Prince of Thieves’ in old age is without doubt heart-breaking. Buhari, as a military ruler, refused to give rents to special interest groups to stay in power. Notwithstanding, as a democratic president, he has opted to give the most corrupt type of rents to achieve and stay in power. The man loves power for power’s sake, more than Nigerians could imagine hitherto.
Imagine the enduring torment and despair Buhari must have suffered when General Ibrahim Babangida overthrew him by coup d’état in 1985. The impact on him is something Nigerians have underestimated or not even thought about. However, it is now clear that the coup of 1985 broke Buhari in bad and irreparable ways. A careful examination of his recent actions would, with little effort, reveal Buhari had backslid on everything good he stood for as military ruler.
The anti-corruption campaign under Buhari at the election was a persuasive illusion that has ended with a foul taste. Corruption in Nigeria is there to stay. Nevertheless, if men can steal to influence elections to win Buhari’s favour and power in his cabinet, what more? They will steal to win political favour with whoever succeeds Buhari. Buhari cannot stop corruption anywhere in his government. Not in his cabinet, nor the legislature from stealing, nor the judiciary protecting their thefts.
Africans often say “the best protector of a treasure is a thief.”, However, that is just a native sense that fails time and time again in the modern world. Buhari’s “princing” of thieves is an egregious move, but without the money of thieving gubernatocrats, Buhari would never have gotten into power. Thief by proxy.
Astonishingly, Nigeria’s Faust is Buhari. Buhari’s compromises and cooptions with the Devil have set political damnation upon him. Buhari has squandered his past legacy. Most will forget the days of excellence of the Buhari-Idiagbon duo that sought to fix Nigeria with actions. People will now remember him as a man who condemned himself to rogue success, and depends on the rapacious and damaging proceeds of corruption. Therefore, we can now understand why many insist Buhari was nothing without Idiagbon. But we will not speculate on counterfactuals.
The anti-climax of an anti-corruption campaign has never been so bad so soon, at least in Nigeria.
Sai Baba! Sai Buhari! O Prince of Thieves!