Conscience is a virtue with a potency to save, deliver and cause true repentance from deadly endeavours. It was conscience that delivered those Pharisees from the wrath of God. If they had stubbornly refused to listen to voice of their conscience and cast a stone at the woman, perhaps there would have been an instant justice from Heaven. Who knows, fire and brimstones would have rained on them from the Heavenly cherubs. Conscience plays a role in the every day life of man to steer him to safety. Many times, we intend doing something wrong and conscience dissuades us. However, an average Nigerian still seems to damn this vital virtue when it comes to ego trip. We pay deaf ears to the voice of our conscience, plunder the national treasury and resultantly send the innocent to an early grave.
This is why everyone in positions obeys the loud and destructive voice of graft, thievery and oppression. Everyone knows that corruption is bad and retards a nation’s development; at least the still silent voice within us always says so but because we are terribly worse than Pharisees.
Many Nigerians daily seek antidotes to permanently counteract the menace of corruption. The visible and seemingly antidote is probe, prosecute and retrieve stolen monies from culprits. It is a laudable idea for any new administration, to attempt these deterrents, but fears are predicated on the attendant danger. Is there any Nigerian, honest and not tainted with corruption to probe, prosecute and retrieve stolen monies from others? Truth is that there is none? So the latest exercise is an exercise in hypocrisy and political brigandry.
A judge who committed robbery yesterday and comes to court the next day to convict another robber is a hypocrite shrouded in legal gown and wig. In addition, any Nigerian leader who wants to probe, prosecute and retrieve stolen monies must first account for past deeds, especially when rumours of corruption are surrounding him. As a matter of integrity, President Muhammadu Buhari must first prove that what people are saying of corruption about him is not true.
Major General Muhammadu Buhari first came to public attention in 1976 when he became the Minister for Petroleum and Natural Resources under General Olusegun Obasanjo. The first dent to his public office career came in 1977 when $2.8 billion Nigerian oil money disappeared from account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Cooperation, (NNPC) Midland Bank, London under his watch.
After pressure from civil society groups, the press and musicians, for thorough investigation into the disappearance of the oil money, the Senate, appointed Late Dr. Olusola Saraki to head the Committee to trace the money. The money was traced to Midland Bank, London branch, not in NNPC account but in the account of Major General Muhammadu Buhari, who was head of NNPC at the time. The Committee’s report was presented to the Senate and Presidency. The Senate decided to deal with the matter and expose the rogue head of the NNPC after the 1983 elections. Unfortunately, the Shagari’s administration did not live beyond December 1983 to deal with the matter. General Muhammadu Buhari overthrew the government and became Head of State.
According to the online Nairaland Forum of February 23, 2011, “the late head of State, General Sani Abacha invited Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari to serve as head of the newly created Petroleum (Special) Trust Fund (PTF) in 1994. Buhari agreed on condition the he must be Executive Chairman, and must have a free hand to run the Fund as he deem fit. without any interference from anyone. Buhari got his way and immediately and unilaterally appointed a a consultant, Afri-Projects Consortium (APC), as the sole adviser to the Fund. Afri-Projects Consortium was given the exclusive power to initiate projects, assess their cost, approve the costs, execute the projects, and assess the quality of execution.
Till date billions of naira siphoned from the Petroleum Trust Fund conduit pipes – all under the watch of Major General Muhammadu Buhari has been swept under the carpet. Nigerians need to know more on the PTF deals to ensure that their leader is coming to equity with clean hands.