CSOs Accuse Jonathan Of sponsoring Campaign Against Buhari’s Corruption War, Insist Ex-President Must Be Probed

Buhari-GEJA coalition of civil society groups have accused former president Goodluck Jonathan of ‎launching a campaign designed to frustrate the anti-corruption drive of President Muhammadu Buhari.
At an interactive session in Lagos, Tuesday, the groups alleged that the former president had started a campaign pushing for the current government to begin its anti-corruption war from Nigeria’s independence and encompass all former federal, regional, and state governments.
“Our response to this demand and opinion, unfortunately being led by former president Jonathan, is that it is a recipe for a do-nothing agenda against corruption”, the groups said in a joint statement read by Olanrewaju Suraju, Chairman, Civil Society Network Against Corruption.
“A serious nation must start corruption fight from somewhere concretely. Instead of running after dead leaders’ record of service, a serious government must commence its probe with the‎ records of service of its immediate predecessor and in the course of this: findings from such probe may ultimately lead to further probes of other previous administrations.
“That is common sense. Meanwhile, there are ongoing cases of corruption that cannot be side-tracked, like the Halliburton probe, by the current government”.
The groups noted that no nation develops when high profile thieves are parading as leaders and are prowling the political space with impunity.
Other civil society representatives at the event include‎ Adeola Soetan, Democracy Vanguard; Debo Adeniran, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders; Wale Adeoye, Journalists for Democratic Rights; and Sina Odugbemi, Value and Integrity Group.
“It is expected that many powerful rogues who have had their hands, beards, robes and names soiled or perceived to be tainted will obviously feel the intensity of the anti-corruption war and definitely fight back by all legitimate and illegitimate means possible under any subterfuge in order to frustrate the ethical revolution to sanitize governance in Nigeria”.
On the recent visit of the Abdulsalami Abubakar-led National Peace Committee to the Presidential Villa, where it was alleged that they attempted to lobby President Buhari to shun the probe of his predecessor’s administration, the civil society activists described the committee members as “emergency apostles of peace and due process”.
“The president’s actions so far in this corruption crusade have justified his assurance and the court is there for anyone who feels his right to fair trial has been or about to be abridged”, the groups said.
“We consider this pre-emptive cry as self-preservation and a subtle blackmail against corruption trial and an attempt to confer immunity against investigation and prosecution of suspected corrupt officials of the immediate past regime of which some of them are beneficiaries of the huge mismanagement under Jonathan.
“Instead of limiting their ‘due process crusade’ to cover only the corrupt, politically-exposed persons who are yet to be arrested or even prosecuted, we appeal to these ‘due process apostles’ to take their due process concern to various prisons in Nigeria to help free petty thieves and suspects who are languishing in jail, many of them victims of ‘undue process’ of the warped justice system.
“Due process should not be the exclusive privilege of the privilege class”.
On the claims by members of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party that the current fight against corruption is selective‎, the activists stated that with the PDP having been in power for 16 years, it was only natural that its members would form the bulk of those to be probed.
“We agree that in any genuine fight against corruption, there should not be friend or foe, and no selectivity or privilege of association”, the groups said.
“But it is just natural that since the PDP was in power for sixteen years at the federal and most state governments, the preponderance of suspected corrupt government officials being investigated or about to be investigated and prosecuted will most likely come from PDP based on the ruinous ways they ran the country when the party was in power.
“We hasten to add that beyond calling for the investigation and prosecution of past and present government officials from the ruling APC, the PDP should tender tangible, tenable, and indicting documents against suspected APC or any other party stalwarts.
“The ‘my son is not the only thief’ approach of the party is unhelpful of corruption fight”, they maintained.

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