The confirmation of Rotimi Amaechi, the former governor of Rivers State, as a minister by the Nigerian Senate was the “wake up and smell the coffee” moment for any Nigerian that had lingering hopes that President Muhammadu Buhari was against corruption and his regime was a “change” from the one that he replaced.
Buhari campaigned on a platform of anti-corruption and change. This is why many Nigerians voted for him. It is now clear that he obtained power through false pretenses. While claiming he would fight corruption, Buhari knew very well that the campaign was being funded by Amaechi with money stolen from the people of Rivers State.
Amaechi’s “investment” was then repaid by being nominated as a minister, ostensibly to go and recoup his “investment” through further looting at a ministry.
Buhari’s con trick on Nigerians was turned into a sick joke by the charade they called “screening” at the Senate. Amaechi had corruption petitions and litigation dangling over him. In this light, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions recommended the suspension of his confirmation until he had cleared himself.
Then Nigerians had to put up with the stinking hypocrisy of Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), leading the PDP senators in walking out on the confirmation of Amaechi. Akpabio, alongside Amaechi, as two PDP governors of oil rich states (Akwa Ibom and Rivers), went on a looting spree in eight years of misrule that bankrupted their states.
Earlier this month, Akpabio was interviewed by the anti-graft agency as part of their investigation into the fraud he perpetrated on his state. He claimed that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were not sincere in their claims about fighting corruption. But Akpabio should be the last person to talk about fighting corruption or sincerity.
The APC senators cheered when Amaechi was confirmed in the absence of the PDP members. Those cheers were, in effect, taunts against the Nigerians that believed the APC and Buhari when they promised to tackle corruption.
Those cheers confirmed that Buhari is really a shameless hypocrite. The president claimed a few months ago that the delay in nominating ministers was due to fact that he was looking for people with unimpeachable credentials. His spokesman Garba Shehu reiterated this in June: “As he has said himself, he wants to scrutinise and make the right kind of appointment. He doesn’t want to appoint one today and make changes tomorrow. Given this war for the recovery of stolen funds, that will have implication for the people who are going to be appointed.”
Appointments of the Amaechi kind confirm that Nigeria, as ever, is being run by a bunch of jokers. Take them seriously at your own risk.