Re: Presidency in Dilemma Over Emerging Corruption Cases, By Gidado Ibrahim

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It was the conviction of the Venerable Mahatma Ghandi that the newspaper press is like a two edged sword. While it is a great influence for social transformation in the hands of merchants of falsehood and charlatans, journalism can become a tool for mudslinging, character assassination and the propagation of outright falsehood and lies against extant ethics of the profession.

I agree with late Prof Chinua Achebe that “when things are not going right, it is the duty of a writer to point it out”, but that does not provide excuses for misinformation, twisting of facts to soothe their pedestal and parochial interests.

This is the low the Desert Herald newspaper took journalism to, all in a desperate attempt to drum home an orchestrated mischief. In the ill-fated news report with the banner headline: “Presidency in Dilemma over Emerging Corruption Cases”. The writer frantically tried to insinuate that the Muhammadu Buhari-led presidency is bedeviled by corruption. He also alluded to the fact that the administration has lost its anti-corruption image.

What a way to lie? It is on record that in Nigeria’s modern history it is only the Buhari administration that has the courage and guts to carry out house cleaning exercise, which is normal with every responsible government. How else do these merchants of mischief want President Buhari to demonstrate his avowed commitment to rid our system of corrupt practices? Perhaps, Desert Herald is hallucinating to know that Buhari’s presidency has no sacred cow.

Needless to remind these armchair critics of the unwavering efforts the Buhari-led government is making to recover the two billion dollars ($2billion) ‘arms gate’. It should be noted that it is a deliberate tactic by the Buhari-led government not to publicise the probe of the arms deal so as not to jeopardise investigation. By the time the government closes in on the perpetrators, heads will roll and many will be jailed.

There is no gainsaying President Buhari’s relentless efforts at ensuring that the humongous amount involved is recovered demonstrates the fact that Nigeria is in a new era for good. Like many that have been jailed, those who diverted the arms money and by so doing subjected Nigerians to ripple effects of insecurity will not go unpunished.

For the records, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NNDC) has been a held down ‘fat cow’ for elites from the Niger Delta Region. It was until we got to President Buhari’s era that we are getting to know the truth about what is going on at the NNDC. Like the swift leader that he is, President Buhari immediately ordered thorough investigation into the contending issues by the relevant authorities. To say the administration is trying to cover up or prevent Madam Joy Nunieh from testifying is the highest of mischief and provocation.

It is important to drum into the numb skulls of these renegade pessimists that President Buhari’s government has demonstrated enough responsibility to uphold the fundamental human rights of Nigeria and in openness and accountability in the governance process. We were here when the government released retired Col Ibrahim Dasuki despite his heinous crimes against the Nigerian State. As we speak, there is no single political prisoner in Nigeria. How else do detractors want President Buhari to show commitment to adherence to the Rule of Law?

For the umpteenth time, President Buhari has demonstrated that he is like a father who spares not his own children. We all know how he vehemently opposed the 8th Senate in their subtle moves to truncate the appointment of Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). But when the president found reason to probe Magu, he did not hesitate because he will not tolerate anyone with a stained record working with him. In the Buhari anti-corrupt fight regime, no one is too powerful to be touched. I think that is what Desert Herald should commend President Buhari for instead falling cheaply for orchestrated antics of enemies of Nigeria who are angry that they can no longer loot. We know their target is pulling down the administration.

It is clear from the distortions and lies spewed in the write up that Desert Herald seems to be comfortable with junk journalism. In utter desperation, they forgot so soon that Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, the chairman of the defunct Special Presidential Investigation Panel was arrested on March 20, 2020 by the commission after many months of his refusal to honour the invitations of the commission requesting him to appear for investigation on the allegations of sundry breaches of the corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and other allied criminal statutes.

If not for their desperate attempt to give a dog a bad name in order to hang it, how else should an administration demonstrate total commitment to the ongoing war against corruption?

The paper even went to the extent of insinuating that no one within the administration appears to have the standing to be able to intervene in a manner that would assure Nigerians on the legitimacy of state institutions and their capacity to sustain the Rule of Law. This allegation also has portrayed their desperation to achieve premeditated motives. If not, why the persistent angst from the enemies of Nigeria against an administration that has proven its disdain for corruption and has demonstrated such to the admiration of the rest of Africa and the world at large?

It would be recalled that the African Union (AU), in recognition of President Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts, named him the Champion of African Union anti-corruption. What else do despicable liars want?

Journalism is for development and not for the pull-him-down (PHD) syndrome. Desert Herald and their sponsors should know that gone are the days when they could manipulate and swing Nigerians against their leaders through smear campaign and sheer falsehood. Nigerians know better now, and are ready to continue in their support for President Buhari in his Next Level Agenda for Nigeria.

– Ibrahim is director of communication and strategic planning of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC).

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