How desperate Jonathan is planning to escape probe

The deafening silence of Goodluck Jonathan For months now, the media has been saturated with reports of monumental fraud allegedly perpetuated by the Jonathan administration. The most prominent being the infamous Dasukigate scandal which involves a former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki, who is accused of diverting $2.1 billion arms money, and sharing same to politicians and cronies of former president, Goodluck Jonathan. As part of the arms probe, some retired and serving military men who served during the immediate past administration of Goodluck Jonathan are also being investigated by the Economic and Financial Commission (EFCC) for diverting and inflating monies meant for arms purchase. Prominent among the accused officers are the former chief of defence staff Alex Badeh, and the ex-chief of air staff A.N Amosu, from whom the EFCC recovered $1m dollars stashed in their residence and soak away pit respectively. As if that was not enough, another investigation by the EFCC on March 14, uncovered evidence showing how prominent politicians, mostly from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) allegedly shared N3.145 billion in the buildup to the 2015 presidential election. Among those indicted in the multi-billion naira graft are a former aviation minister and director of media for the Goodluck Jonathan campaign organization, Femi Fani-kayode and a former secretary to the government of the federation and leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Olu Falae; a former finance minister. Others are; Nenadi Usman; a former Imo state governor, Achike Udenwa; former minister of state for foreign affairs, Viola Onwuliri and politician Okey Ezenwa. While most of Jonathan’s men have remained tight lipped regarding the allegations, the few that have spoken out have named Jonathan as the one who ordered the alleged fraudulent activities. Among those who have indicted the former president include Dasuki who said he was authorized by Jonathan to release money for the nation’s security programmes, and for the 2015 presidential campaign and the spokesperson for the PDP, Olisa Metuh, who also said he received a N400m payment from Dasuki after carrying out some assignments for the former president. Does Jonathan have anything to hide? But Jonathan has conspicuously refused to comment on the weighty allegations leveled against his administration, saying it is not the right time to talk. However, the former president is unhappy that the administration of Buhari has been unearthing accounts of huge financial recklessness that allegedly occurred in during his reign. In reaction, Jonathan in August 31, 2015 held a meeting with ex-ministers who served under his administration at his Abuja home to strategise on how to reply Buhari’s administration on issues being raised. At the meeting, he explained how he met President Muhammadu Buhari for 20 minutes to voice his displeasure against subjecting his person and former cabinet members to a media trial on alleged corruption among others. Again on March 13, 2016, The Punch reported of another scheduled meeting Jonathan had with his ex-ministers who are jittery that President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-graft war was closing in on those who served under Jonathan. However, for someone who claims he has nothing to hide, it is surprising that Jonathan has resorted to making endless trips to Aso Rock to plead with Buhari to soft pedal on his anti-corruption war rather than toeing the honourable course of proving his innocence by opening himself to probe. Indications have it that the former president, for reasons best known to him, is desperately trying to avoid probe by having clandestine meetings with his ex-ministers and telling them that he “is not a thief”, when the record books left behind by him says otherwise. The PDP is also doing all it can to prevent any probe of the previous administration by selling the idea that probing Jonathan would violate a pact Buhari signed prior to his assumption of office to exempt Jonathan from probe. But the presidency has denied signing such a pact. The PDP has suggested that probing the ex-president will be a bad precedent, adding that doing so would humiliate the PDP leader. This was one off the views expressed by a member of the PDP board of trustees, Chief Ebenezer Babatope, who told The Punch in a report dated March 13, 2016 that those calling for the probe of Jonathan are enemies of the country. He said: “Whoever is spearheading the probe may be digging his political grave. Have they found him guilty? “All the noise we have been hearing is about the security vote. Buhari embarked on such a probe during his first coming as a military leader when he threw all manner of Nigerian leaders into jail.” He who comes to equity must come with clean hands In saner climes, a probe affords individuals the opportunity to prove their innocence and vindicate themselves of whatever allegation is leveled against them, but it appears Jonathan and the PDP are interpreting a probe to mean passing a guilty verdict on the PDP administration. If Jonathan who approved $2.1 billion for the purchase of arms turned back to give directive secretly that the money should be shared among his cronies, should he not be probed? A probe is an opportunity to account, anyone who holds public office must be prepared to submit to scrutiny, and to account for their deeds in service to the nation, but it seems the PDP and Jonathan have concluded plans to evade probe of the former administration at all cost by hiding under the tag that it is a move by Buhari to witch-hunt Jonathan.

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