Senator Shehu Sani representing Kaduna Central Senatorial district at the National Assembly has explained why President Muhammadu Buhari may not win his fight against corruption.
The outspoken senator, who recently identified some factors militating against the end of dreaded terror group, Boko Haram in Nigeria, noted that the president is posed with challenges which his predecessors faced, therefore, will need to go a step further than his predecessors.
In an exclusive chat with Vanguard, Sani revealed that President Buhari will also need to fight off stiff opposition that may arise from some interests which comprise of the forces that brought him to power, a situation he (Sani) believes, may put the Nigerian leader in a really difficult situation.
President Muhammadu Buhari may not win his fight against corruption in the country.
He said: “When you fight to defeat an enemy, you need all the support and solidarity as well as all the backing to achieve that. At that time, you are blind to realities and the character and content of those backing you. By the time you are on the seat of power, you have to battle entrenched interests who were part of the forces that brought you to power.
“One of the biggest undoing of people who came on a high moral high ground to power is having to detach themselves from entrenched interest and it is clear that what the entrenched interest do each time they study the possibility of a depth of government is that they jump ship and then become a liability.
“Why Obasanjo was not able to spark off his reform from the early time has to do with the fact that in his earlier years in power, he had to please and appease those very forces who aided him into power. When you embark on such policy of pleasing and appeasing, you will sacrifice a legacy and your opportunity to perform. “So, a leader has a choice either to be on the side of the people and not entrenched interest or to appease entrenched interests and sacrifice performance and delivery and this is the challenge before the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
“If you have found yourself in power, and faced with the problem of paucity of foreign exchange and then you have to deal with rice importers who were part of the contributors to the campaign, then, you will have your conscience to fight.”
Sani also suggested that the president needs to break away from the undoing of the government of the past and move forward, without which he does not believe the former military administrator will be able to handle his own administration properly.
“In all sense of the word, entrenched interest has been the undoing of the government of the past and also a big challenge to President Muhammadu Buhari to break away from them and move Nigeria forward.
“Nigeria’s history of anti corruption trial is a media and political war that begins in the media and end up in politics. That is why in all the 140 prisons in the nation today, you don’t find people who have looted billions and millions of dollars in the cells.
“When you visit the prisons in Nigeria today, most of those you see there are pick pockets, motor park touts, small scale advanced fee fraud persons who have no resource to get out, petty drug peddlers, prostitutes and miscreants in the society.
“We have reached a point in Nigeria where we have to depend on the judicial system of other countries to be able to able to recover our country and recover our money from those who looted our money. If we don’t exorcise politics out of our anti corruption crusade, it is most likely going to be polluted. We treat corruption in Nigeria with kid’s gloves. We pamper and glorify corrupt people.
“If there is any difference that President Muhammadu Buhari will make is to prove that he can do what other people could not do. The World Bank is telling us now that over $7 billion of Abacha loot is still in the custody of banks across the world. This is a nation where there are people who still see Abacha as a hero.
“We need to ask ourselves whether if Abacha was alive today, would we have heard the billions which he had stolen or are we are still in a country whereby the billions which you have stolen is only heard of or known when you have been arrested by the security forces of other countries or you must have died or fallen out of favour with the party or government in power?” he queried.
Senate president Bukola Saraki’s present trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) is seen as one of the ways the president is showing that he is ready to fight corruption in the country, but on the other hand many observers and commentators believe the prosecution of the former National Security Adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki, is a witch hunt.
But as a way of showing his zero tolerance for corruption in the country, the president, during the two-day retreat for the incoming ministers, warned them to shun impunity and waste in the country, as he has also insisted that he will not stop talking about the corruption of the immediate past administration.