Move on Nigeria, a civic action group promoting good governance and the Transformation agenda of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration, has dismissed as a non- issue, the call by General Muhammadu Buhari for the president to publish the NNPC forensic audit report on alleged missing $20 billion.
Reacting to a statement credited to the spokesman of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Garba Shehu, the group noted that Buhari cannot morally speak of missing oil money as it was during his tenure as petroleum minister that $2.8 bn dollars of oil money was reportedly seized in a foreign country. Still under Buhari’s watch, NNPC was never audited, so he should give GEJ credit for probing the NNPC.
PriceWaterHouse Cooper (PWC)is a reputable firm. If $50 billion, $40 billion or $20 billion dollars was missing they would not have come out with a contrary report.
Following the allegation made by the immediate past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), now Emir of Kano, Sanusi, of the missing $50Bn from the NNPC account, the two Chambers of the National Assembly waded into the matter and found the allegation to be false.
President Goodluck Jonathan in the spirit of probity and accountability went further to direct that the NNPC account be audited.
It was on this basis that the Auditor General of the Federation commissioned Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), an Accounting Firm, to conduct an independent forensic Audit of the NNPC account. The firm having concluded its investigation submitted its report to the Auditor General of the Federation, who presented same to the President. Interestingly the accounting firm found the wild allegation of missing $50 billion to be false.
Therefore, if anyone or any office must be asked to publish the report, it is the Auditor General of the Federation who commissioned the report in the first instance, not the President and definitely not the NNPC or Minister of Petroleum. It is either General Buhari is demonstrating crass ignorance, being mischievous or playing to the gallery, otherwise if he or his party desperately needs the audit report he knows how to go about it, part of which is to apply under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act for a copy of the report from the Auditor General’s office.
The FOI was signed into law by President Jonathan as a huge contrast from the Decree 4 and Decree 2 enacted by Buhari as Head of State.
Recall that Decree 4 promoted official secrecy and forbade anyone from publishing any information that will embarrass a public officer even when the story is true and correct.
Two journalists, Nduka Irabor and Tunde Thompson were jailed by the military tribunal under the draconian decree for publishing the truth.
In a statement signed by the group’s National Coordinator, Mr. Clem Aguiyi, he urged Gen Buhari to face better issues such as the economy, restructuring, corruption and insecurity as Nigerians are desperate to know what he will do differently.
On the economy, the group said Buhari is bereft of ideas on how to grow the economy. At a time when it is no longer fashionable for governments to run businesses because government can’t run business better, Buhari is still talking of operating Nigerian Airways and equipping it with 20 fleets rather than how existing private airlines will be helped to flourish and compete with other international airlines.
According to the group ‘Buhari has neither changed nor improved from the disaster that he was 35 years ago.
It’s alarming that at the time when Communist Russia and China have since acknowledged that government has no business running businesses Buhari is still talking of big government and returning to a socialist economy. From Buhari’s proposition airlines like Arik, Dana, Aero and Medview will be strangulated, destroyed and forced to go under.
On corruption, the group said, ‘Buhari’s guns and decrees approach to fighting corruption had been tried and tested 35 years ago, and we saw the end of it. What is even more curious is what he will do if given the opportunity with the likes of Tinubu, Fashola, Saraki, Timipre Sylva, Amaechi and of course his latest godfather Olusegun Obasanjo who are funding his campaign with proceeds from corruption.
Will he spare his cronies and pursue political opponents or will every Nigerian be subjected to the same law and treatment.
Under President Jonathan, steady progress is being made to tackle corruption. Successes are being recorded with digital transformation of fertiliser distribution (E-WALLET) to elimination of ghost workers payment (E-PAYMENT). Except for APC, the world and even Transparency International corruption index 2014 confirmed the success of the GEJ anti-corruption fight by moving Nigeria from 144 in 2013 to 136 in 2014.
The Group in its statement urged Buhari to accept the challenge to debate President Jonathan on the issues of security and what he would have done differently because “when he Buhari told the world he would end Boko Haram in two months, we wondered how not because Boko Haram cannot be crushed but because he Buhari was against the use of force in containing the violent group. When our soldiers were dying in droves, rather than lend support Buhari joined those frustrating the military effort. He suggested to his gullible followers that the war on Boko Haram is targeted at the North. Such positioning from an elder statesman helped fuel the rank of Boko Haram fighters with northern Muslim youths. It will be a shame if Buhari does not pay a price for his past records and utterances.
Again, we wonder the kind of change the APC wants to bring when as a political party they have refused to debate or discuss the issues affecting us as a nation, which borders on restructuring of the nation for the common good of all. The change we need which Jonathan has promised to implement on the basis of the National Conference report.”