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THE 'SAINTS' IN APC (IV)

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By Elias Osaghae 02/06/2014

Yours sincerely will continue to maintain that war against corruption is not the sole responsibility of who ever rules Nigeria or which political party is in power. This position is predicated on the facts that corruption has eaten deep into the fabrics of both public and private sectors of the Nigerian society. It is also pertinent to know that, because corruption has taken many decades to germinate, nurture and over grow its size, it is not possible for any president to eradicate corruption within a term or two of his/her tenure of office. There are those who feast on corruption within every political party in Nigeria and these people, who are at the corridors of power, would always be cogs on the wheel of progress in the war against corruption. And the fervent fear of this writer is that such people can hardly be
filtered out of this and many generations to come, because from the corrupt accounts of some public office holders in the past and present republics, investigations have revealed that corruption has become inheritance that passes from parents to off- springs. Albeit, we should not despair, for there is hope. The hope lies on every ordinary Nigerian, who forms the buck of the electorates, to stand up against corruption. If you ask me, this present democratic dispensation is the opportuned time to take a stand by scrutinizing all political candidates at Local, State and Federal levels, and weeding out any that had been found corrupt or linked to any tendency of corruption. That the courts have not found any of them guilty and convicted is not enough to exonerate them. We all know that the judiciary is also corrupt. Now, this democratic dispensation and the forth-coming general election should subject the past and present office holders to face the 'People's Court' and the electorates have the 'judicial' prerogative to sentence them to political oblivion. This action of the 'People's Court' can go along way to teach anyone in public office, how not to soil his or her political career with corruption and thereby compromise his or her future. This also can have relative effects on the activities of corrupt partners-in-crime from the private sector.

In a way to sensitize the electorates and to neutralize the deceits of the politically self acclaimed puritanism in the All Progressives Congress (APC), this piece, 'The Saints in APC' has been x-raying and beaming lights on the past corrupt practices of some of its leaders. In parts I, II and III, the corrupt practices or relative tendencies to corruption of Alhaji Abubakar Atiku, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Senator Bukola Saraki, were articulated and sent to the press. In this part IV, the light is beaming on the  former Commissioner of Petroleum and Natural Resources, ex-Military Governor, North-Eastern State (Bornu State), former Chairman Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), former Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund and former Head of State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari.

Retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari was born in Katsina, in Katsina State on December 17, 1942. He had his military education in the Nigerian Military College, Kaduna, Mons Cadet School, Aldershot, UK, and Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India. After his commissioning as SecondLieutenant, 1963, he had the following postings in his army career: Platoon Commander 2nd Infantry Brigade, Abeokuta; Commander 2nd Infantry Battalion 1965-67; appointed Brigade Major, 2 Sector, 1st Infantry Division, April 1967; Brigade Major and Commander, 31st Infantry Brigade, 1970-71; Assistant Adjutant-General 1st Infantry Division Headquarters, 1971-72; and Military Governor North-Eastern State (Borno State) and General Officer Commanding (GOC), 3rd Armoured Division, Jos, a position he held when he planned and toppled the democratic government of former President Shehu Shagari, on December 31, 1983.

Major General Muhammadu Buhari first came to widespread public attention in 1976 when he became the Minister (or "Federal Commissioner") for Petroleum and Natural Resources under the then Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo. The first dent to his public office career had a serious impact in 1977 when $2.8 billions Nigerian oil money grew wings and disappeared from the Midland Bank, London account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation, (NNPC) to nowhere under his watch as the then Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources.

After over three years of clamour by members of the civil society, comprised of social critics, human rights activists, the press and musicians, for a thorough investigation into the disappearance of the oil money, the Senate, under Shagari's administration in 1982, appointed Dr. Olusola Saraki who was the majority party leader of the Senate at the time, to head the Senate Committee set up to trace the stolen money. The money was traced to the same Midland Bank London branch, although not the NNPC account but the fixed account of Major General Muhammadu Buhari, the military head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company. The Committee's report was presented to the Senate and both the Executive and the House of Senate decided to deal with the matter and expose the rogue military head of the NNPC soon after the 1983 general elections.

According to Naiwu Osahon, a renowned social critic, and from well informed grapevine, it was affirmed that Major General Muhammadu Buhari struck on the 31st December, 1983 to stop attempts by NPN government of former President Shehu Shagari and the Legislature, from digging deep into the missing $2.8 billions and preempted their resolve to expose the thief of $2.8 billions oil money. He was rumoured to have staged the military coup under the cover of the political commotion that trailed the presidential election results. Naiwu added: “Buhari generally had no agenda for leadership but vendetta against those he called critics and rabble-rousers. Buhari did not see any moral wrong in his conversion of our oil money into his personal use. Rather he railed at the press and what he described as the self-righteous sections of the country for making a big deal out of the issue. He locked up without trial, politicians and critics including Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, who was notorious of clamouring for the exposure of the oil money rogue.  All our military heads of state were largely insensitive, corrupt, almost illiterate, self-appointed tyrants who seized their stripes of honour (dishonour is probably more appropriate) through coups rather than the rigours of formal training, experience or war. Each one of the military heads of state simply got up from bed one chosen morning, pistol on the hip, jackboots on the ready to besmear our constitution and to loot our treasury to their hearts content. Of course, they soon made up on the job for their lack of proper war or soldiering experience by detaining, tear gassing, shooting and bombing citizens protesting against their high-handedness and misrule. Everyone of our coup Generals aspired to be the richest lazy fool in the world sitting like an over-fed baboon atop the tallest tree in our devastated and rotting vineyard, savouring their exploits amidst squalor, hunger and decaying corpses. General Muhammadu Buhari was one of such military heads of state”.

To corroborate the above facts about the stolen $2.8 billions oil money, Alonge Michael reported on the website of Nigeriafilms.com of Monday June 17, 2013 that former Military President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida was set to expose Major General Buhari of corruption when he was Minister of Petroleum and chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund, respectively. The full report: “A complex situation that may be too hot to handle may soon erupt between two former heads of states, General Buhari and General Babangida over political differences. Babagida, we gathered, has threatened to bring up an issue that seems likely to create conflicts if not quenched now. On Gen. Buhari, it is not in IBB’s tradition to take up issues with his colleague former President. But for the purpose of record, we are conversant with Gen. Buhari’s so-called holier-than-thou attitude. He is a one-time Minister of Petroleum and we have good records of his tenure as minister. Secondly, he also presided over the Petroleum Trust Fund ( PTF) which records we also have. We challenge him to come out with clean hands in those two portfolios he headed. Or, we will help him to expose his “records of performance during those periods. Those who live in glass houses do not throw stones. Gen. Buhari should be properly guided. The above statement was issued by the former military president, General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida through his media adviser, Prince Kassim Afegbua. The gap toothed retired military officer has threatened to expose the shady deals his colleague, General Buhari did while in office as Petroleum Minister. If you remember, Buhari once held that mouthwatering position during the Murtala/Obasanjo regime in 1976. No fraud was recorded then except the missing $2.8 billions conspicuously missing from the NNPC account in Midlands Bank, U.K. Never knew this country was this rich until this expose came up. So, the honey and milk of this country, which the masses are deprived of, have been audaciously milked with impunity. Who then is the Messiah? God, let thy Kingdom come” the reporter concluded.

According to the online Nairaland Forum of February 23, 2011, “the late head of state General Sani Abacha had invited former Head of State, Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to serve as head of the newly created Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF) in 1994. Major General Muhammadu Buhari was said to give condition for his acceptance: He must be given the title of Executive Chairman, and he must have a free hand to run the Fund as he saw fit, without any interference from anyone. Buhari, who was often referred to as Mai Gaskiya (the honest one) was apparently considered for the job mainly because of the “qualities” he possessed, with the Abacha led government feeling that would douse the tension generated by the increase in fuel prices. With time however, allegations started flying that the PTF was no more than another avenue for the Abacha administration to siphon funds”.

The PTF was itself a child of controversy. Abacha had, in 1994, increased the price which Nigerians had to pay for petrol, diesel and kerosene. The Nigerian populace vehemently opposed the hike, both because the increase was exorbitant, and because most Nigerians were certain that the windfall from the price hike would find its way into the hands of a few highly placed Nigerians. To assuage this fear, Abacha summoned Gen. Buhari from retirement, to administer a new Trust Fund into which all excess income from the price increase would be paid, and from which the Trust Fund would intervene in critical areas of the economy in such a manner as to directly benefit ordinary Nigerians. Buhari's main qualification, as an average Nigerian thought, was that he was considered to be both a strict disciplinarian and an incorruptible man. And he was for this reason expected to ensure that the fund was properly used, and that it would not become another avenue from which public funds were simply carted away by a handful of well-placed Nigerians. That was the expectation. But the reality, in the end, was a story of massive and cynical looting of the public treasury.

The management structure of the Fund was so capricious from the start,  as the executive chairman was far more impressed by his position as an alternate Head of State, an Interventionist Czar who was answerable to no one, not even to the Head of State himself, than anything else. First, he unilaterally appointed a single consultant, Afri-Projects Consortium, as the sole adviser to the Fund. Then he delegated virtually all his powers to this agency. Afri-Projects Consortium was given the exclusive power to initiate projects, assess their probable cost, approve the costs, execute the projects, and assess the quality of execution, all alone. The Consortium's decisions could not be questioned by anyone outside the Fund. Even the statutory members of the Fund's Board of Trustees found themselves helplessly watching as huge sums of money were paid out for questionable projects. And not surprisingly, the three professional management firms recruited by the Interim Management Committee to audit the performance of Afri-Projects Consortium came up with the unanimous conclusion that APC had over-charged the Fund for its services to the tune of over N2 billion.

For instance, under the supervision of the omnipotent APC, PTF purchased large quantities of spectacle frames which were at the time costing only N800 a piece locally, for N1,900 a piece. This cost the public treasury over N45 million in inflated charges. Ambulances whose going price at the time was N3 million each were found to have been purchased for N13 million each, leading to a loss to the treasury of N900 million. Findings by the Interim Management Committee's consultants later set up by former President Olusegun Obasanjo concluded that the PTF had been cheated by as much as billions of naira through inflated contracts, fees and charges. It was also discovered that PTF had gone out of scope and decided, without approval from the government, to build a residential estate in Wuse, Abuja. The project purportedly cost PTF N703 million. But the consultants concluded that a realistic valuation of the project could not exceed N328 million. The project cost was inflated by more than 100 per cent, at N375 million.

At an under-estimated findings, President Obasanjo found that over 2.5 billion naira had not been properly accounted for in the PTF and that there was not much on the ground to show for the colossal expenditure the agency was claiming. On the day Obasanjo announced the scrapping of the PTF, a non-staff brother-in-law of the boss, allegedly serving as his conduit on some PTF projects, died suddenly from what appeared to be heart failure. Most of what he was able to achieve in the PTF, was focused in his backyard and a palatial hotel in Katsina. Haruna Adamu, who was appointed by Obasanjo to investigate the PTF before finally consigning it to the dung heap, quickly pocketed one hundred million naira of PTF's money before operating table could be set up for him, thus forcing Obasanjo to hurriedly close the place down without further investigations. Till date nothing had been
heard of the stolen $2.8 billions Nigeria's oil money and the billions of naira siphoned from the Petroleum Trust Fund conduit pipes – all under the watch of Major General Muhammadu Buhari, now the leading presidential aspirant of the All Progressives Congress (APC). The only thing Nigerians know is that Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), has been trying desperately to return to power, perhaps to get a chance to shred the PTF documents.

In the report of New Telegraph compiled by Ayodele Ojo and published on February 24, 2014 and titled: “How donation to Buhari landed Sanusi in trouble” it was exposed how Major General Muhammadu Buhari has been siphoning Nigerians tax payers earnings to pursue his personal aspirations to become president of the nation. Read more of the report: “A source in the Presidency told New Telegraph that President Goodluck Jonathan was miffed over Sanusi’s activities with the opposition. The source noted that in the build up to the 2011 presidential election, Sanusi made donation to the presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Major- General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd). Jonathan was said to have invited Sanusi to the Villa to explain the motive behind the donation to Buhari’s presidential campaign. It was learnt that Sanusi admitted that he only made a N20 million donation to Buhari to advance his course because of the relationship the former Head of State had with his family, especially his uncle. But a source said the President had evidence of Sanusi donating more than N100 million to Buhari’s campaign”. Is somebody still claiming that Major General Muhammadu Buhari is incorruptible?, such somebody needs his/her head examined. Recent newspapers reports show ample proofs that Sanusi was funding the opposition cabal through curious donations or by award of “heavy contracts.” He is believed to be one of the biggest financiers of the defunct Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), and its presidential candidate, Major- General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd). It was through him that the love was transferred to the APC, Buhari’s present party which has so far received elaborate funds from the suspended Emperor of the Nigeria’s financial institutions.

Here is a man who benefited from the tax payers fund, attending a non-fees paying military institutions in Nigeria and abroad that enabled him to get to the zenith of his career and all that the nation gets in return is short-changing. Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), from this writer's opinion, is one of the sacred cows of Nigeria, who can help himself from the coffers of the nation at will. Can this “disciplinarian and incorruptible” retired army general honestly justify the donations he received from former governor of

CBN, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi at the expense of the down-trodden poor fellow Nigerians? How long should the national cake be divided under the table by cabal of Northern leaders while millions are dying of impoverished health care around the same table? It's a shame that some Nigerians are still scheming for the return of this “War Against Indiscipline” commander.

Major General Muhammadu Buhari has indulged in the worst type of corruption by using his public office to sell Nigeria to Organization of Islamic Conference in 1983 without regards to millions of non-Muslim Nigerians. What follows below are excerpts from various weighty articles from academia on Buhari and the Islamasation Project for Nigeria:

“It is part of the history of Nigeria, that General Olusegun Obasanjo, as the successor of General Murtala had problems with pushing through, the Islamization Plan of Murtala. The believers in Murtala's Islamization Plan in the Supreme Military Council, Shehu Yar'Adua, Babangida and Buhari were not powerful enough to push the plan through. They had problems with the avid defenders of the secularism in the Supreme Military Council led by the Service Chiefs {General TY Danjunma (Army), Commodore Isa Doko (Airforce) and Rear Admiral Adelanwa (Navy)}. Tinkling with what the Constituent Assembly approved was what General Obasanjo's regime could do and it did precisely that. - Late Prof. Omo Omoruyi

Although Babangida took the rap for Nigeria's sneaky upgrade to full membership of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), according to a study on Nigeria funded by the US Defense Department in the early 1990s, it was actually Buhari who without any regard whatsoever for the sensibilities of Nigerians of other faiths, submitted the application to upgrade Nigeria's membership from the observer status it had enjoyed since the Gowon regime to full membership. The OIC's review of the application was concluded after Babangida's palace coup. Rather than reverse Buhari's action, Babangida quietly allowed Nigeria's new status as a full-fledged member of the OIC to stand. Buhari's OIC action exposed him as a religious zealot, who will have no qualms in rousing and ginning up Sharia issues, quiescent for several years now, following its aggressive unveiling in Zamfara, where Buba Bello Jangebe's wrist was amputated for stealing a cow, and Safiya Husseini was sentenced to die by stoning for adultery while her co-participant in the act was not prosecuted because he was male.-Matthew Uzukwu, Ph.D
The move by Nigeria to join the Organization of Islamic Conference (O.I.C), initiated by Buhari and amplified by Babangida, also almost tore the nation apart. General Babangida, whose regime was welcomed because of his restoration of the freedom of speech after the days of Buhari/Idiagbon, shocked many Nigerians with this development. It was ironic that many of the key members of his government who were Christians claimed to be ignorant of such move. - Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Besides smuggling Nigeria into OIC, Major General Muhammadu Buhari is the most northernization fore-runner and the most Muslim zealot. He displayed this in the defunct Supreme Military Council he headed between 1983 and 1985. The make up of Buhari’s SMC also troubled southerners. Virtually all of the senior positions in the SMC were occupied by northern Muslims: only five of the SMC’s fourteen members were from the south. Additionally, there has always been an unwritten rule that the Nigerian Head of State and his deputy cannot be from the same religion or part of the country. Buhari broke this unwritten rule when he appointed Tunde Idiagbon (who although Yoruba, was from the north and was also a Muslim). The other influential pro-Buhari figure in the regime was the Minister for Internal Affairs: Major-General Mohammed Magoro, who was a Muslim from Buhari’s home state of Sokoto. The lopsided ethno-religious composition of the SMC, coupled with the fact that Buhari’s ascension to power pre-empted the zoning of the presidency to the south prompted some mischievous southerners to claim that the New Year’s Eve coup was a deliberate plan to prevent the south from gaining political control of the country, and was nothing more than an orchestrated preservation of the north’s political control of Nigeria by transferring power from northern civilians to northern soldiers. I personally think that the personal ambition of the primary actors in the coup such as Babangida and Dogonyaro played the primary motivating role for the coup rather than any Machiavellian plot to thwart the south (or any altruistic motives to benefit Nigeria as a whole). Nevertheless, southerners were irked by the perceived northern bias of Buhari’s regime. And the retired army general is at again, look at the interim executive of APC.

DO YOU STILL WANT MAJOR GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI AS YOUR NEXT PRESIDENT? GOOD LUCK IF YOU DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Elias Osaghae via osaghae.pastorelias@gmail.com

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