Being one of those who appreciated and applauded the patriotic and states manly role members of the National Peace Committee played at ensuring a peaceful and hitch free general elections and subsequent transition, I am still struggling and finding it difficult to understand the real motive of their visit to Aso Rock, and to come to terms with the fact that the National Peace Committee could stoop so low to allowing themselves to be used by corrupt elements to unnecessarily distract the ongoing anti-corruption war that the Buhari administration seems to have been steadily winning.
According to Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah who has being speaking on behalf of the National Peace Committee “we elected a president not to look for scapegoats. We elected the president to get the job done. Only a foolish man will appreciate that going after the biggest thieves in Nigeria, is the biggest solution to our problems”. The National Peace Committee also said they were in Aso Rock to advice the President to concentrate on governance and that the talk about probe is unnecessarily distracting him from governance. What members of the National Peace Committee however got wrong is that the present administration cannot face governance or get the job done without money. The figure Mr. President is calling to have been stolen and looted from the government treasury is a horrendous 150 billion dollars! This money is needed to fix and address the human and infrastructural development needs of Nigerians like roads, electricity, health care, education, portable drinking water, create jobs for the massive unemployed, etc. This stolen money according to the presidency has already been traced to the different foreign banks and accounts.
In 2013, Bishop Kukah said “Corruption is the only thing that works in Nigeria; and until we do something about it, it will finish us as a people and as a country” One is now left to wonder what has changed between 2013 and now about Bishop Kukah’s perspective and submission as regards the wide spread corruption in Nigeria or has he and other members of the National Peace Committee, many of whom have also spoken against the alarming level of corruption in the past, been bought over by the corrupt cabal? Otherwise why would any responsible person or group of persons be angry that the president is fighting corruption? Or have some members of the Committee suddenly realized that they may also be affected and exposed in the ongoing anti-corruption war?
The submission by the National Peace Committee that “what we are concerned about is the process, it is no longer a military regime and under our existing laws, everybody is innocent until proven guilty” is not only reckless and irresponsible but also unfortunate and does not hold water, because as far as I know, neither former President Goodluck Jonathan, his ministers, personal aides or looting associates have been arrested or unlawfully jailed without being given a fair trial, it only shows the extent to which the integrity of members of the Committee have been compromised.
I wouldn’t have agreed less with members of the Committee on the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to soft-pedal on his anti corruption war, if the children of members of the National Peace Committee are among the teaming unemployed youth who have graduated for several years without a hope of ever getting a job, if members of the membersPeace Committee has challenge of feeding their families, paying their children’s school fees or paying their medical bills as a result of unpaid salaries for several months, if member of the Committee has to queue to buy fuel far above the approved price in filling stations, if members of the Committee has travelled by the dilapidated roads lately and if any member of the Committee has patronized the infrastructure defficient government owned hospitals in recent times.
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There is a saying that ‘He who wears a shoe knows exactly where it pinches’ so I am not surprised that members of the National Peace Committee have no slightest idea of the frustration of unemployed Nigerians, the pains of Nigerian workers whose salaries are not paid for several months, the agonies of pensioners and relatives who cannot access the pension and gratuity of their deceased bread-winners, the grief of Nigerians who lose their loved ones due to the non-equipment of hospitals and incessant strikes by medical personnel, the cries of the widows and orphans who should be catered for by a responsible government, the trauma being experienced by the people of North East Nigeria, and the anguish and sufferings of the tax payers whose money and resources have been looted and “shipped” into foreign accounts abroad.
It is therefore unacceptable, unfortunate and a crime against the Nigerian people for the members of the National Peace Committee to try to blackmail and intimidate President Buhari in their strong desire and determination to truncate what the APC promised Nigerians. It is immoral, irresponsible and anti-religion, for a Cleric of Bishop Kukah’s status to say “Even if Goodluck Jonathan stole all the monies, in the world” “Because he conceded defeat, let us move on”. Members of the Committee should stop holding Nigeria to ransom with the mere fact that the former President Jonathan conceded defeat in an election he was squarely defeated in four geopolitical zones of the six geopolitical zones that made up this country. The former President didn’t concede defeat because he wanted to do Nigeria a favour, he did so because he lost an election!
Now, it's time for members of the Peace Committee to like the prodigal son, thread the path of honour and dignity and apologize to Nigerians without delay. They should renounce their recent submissions and reverse their stance as far as the ongoing war against corruption is concerned, otherwise Nigerians would be forced to declare them ENEMIES OF THE NATION.
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