President Muhammadu Buhari rode into power claiming he was going to fight corruption and “if we don’t kill corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria”.
Many Nigerians were swayed by this message, despite the fact that several members of Buhari’s own party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and his backers were covered with the stench of corruption.
But Buhari’s posturing meant he had to be seen to act. So he decided to investigate the misdeeds of past administrations. The first issue he was forced to face was the $182m Halliburton bribery scandal. The US government was reported to have insisted that Buhari prosecute all those involved and that they would not return to Nigeria about $140m recovered from the scandal if the perpetrators were not indicted.
Three ex rulers were said to have received bribes from Halliburton. They are Ibrahim Babangida, Abdulsalaam Abubakar and Olusegun Obasanjo. Other beneficiaries of the Halliburton bribes include former vice president Atiku Abubakar, M.D. Yusuf, former Inspector General of Police, Abdullahi Dominic Bello, ex Chief of Air Staff and former managing director of Nigeria Airways, Donald Etiebet, a former petroleum minister, Dan Etete, a former petroleum minister, Gaius Obaseki, former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Funso Kupolokun, former Group Managing Director of NNPC, Ibrahim Aliyu, a former permanent secretary, Bodunde Adeyanju, a former Personal Assistant to President Olusegun Obasanjo, and several others.
Once word got around that the president was looking at the bribery case, the three former rulers, Obasanjo, Babangida and Abubakar swung into action. They decided on a plan to embarrass the president with information about his own corruption and that of members of his family, dating from the president’s tenure as a federal commissioner for petroleum under Obasanjo’s military regime in the late 1970s. 2.8bn naira was reported to have disappeared from the Midland Bank account of the NNPC in London. They also threatened to expose the president’s dodgy deals as Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) in which about 2.5bn naira could not be accounted for, and a lot of business was shoved in the direction of Buhari’s brother-in-law, who was acting as a front for Buhari.
Buhari is said to have backed down once he got wind of the plottng of the former generals. He then released a message stating that any corruption probe will now be restricted to just the last adminstration of Goodluck Jonathan.
A source close to Jonathan informed us that the former president is lying low to see things play out, and that Buhari would be mistaken if he thought Jonathan did not have intelligence on Buhari’s corruption.
So expect Buhari’s dirty laundry to be aired if his investigators start coming near the dodgy deals of Jonathan.