When the Maina scandal broke out few weeks ago, President Muhammadu Buhari acted swiftly in a manner that was considered to be in consonance with his acclaimed image of a man of high morals and integrity, by ordering that the fugitive be instantly disengaged from service. This timely intervention attracted accolades from across the land. Those who were already adjusting to the reality that this government’s anti-corruption agenda was electioneering chicanery , found justification once more to relax their scepticism.
But even before the ovation could die down that glimmer of hope had started deeming with a flurry of damning revelations directly implicating the president coming to light as the scandal was unraveling .
First was the Head of Service of Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita who in a leaked memo revealed that contrary to the innocent and righteous indignation exhibited by the president he was well aware of the dubious reinstatement of Maina long before the scandal exploded and did nothing.
More than one month after Oyo-Ita revelation, the central figure in the raging controversy, one Abdulrasheed Maina has also exposed the fact that the President actually personally approved his (Maina) dubious engagements with officials of government led by Attorney General and Minister of Justice. Abubakar Malami.
The imperiously reactive presidential media office has been strangely silent to this disclosures and Nigeria has carried on as if all is well. As a matter of fact Mr President defied all these to drop hint of his ambition to run for a second term in office!
Is it possible that Mr President, his entire team and even his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) do not consider explaining his role in this infamy an imperative as custodians of public trust? Or are they under the delusion that if they ignore this it will just fade into oblivion?
Whatever is their reason for the ominous silence they have succeeded in reducing Nigeria to a new low on the global corruption perception. But more importantly this silence is a tacit admission that Oyo-Ita and Maina were telling the truth when they said contrary to the impression that had been sold to the public, Mr President had been involved n the Mainagate all along.
Perhaps a little recap here will be apt. Maina along with some other person including the former Head of Service to the Federation, Mr Steve Oronsaye were indicted by the Senate , the EFCC and even the police for stealing pension funds in excess of over N100 Billion. These people were arraigned in court. But while all others complied and were charged with the offences, Maina jumped bail and fled the country since 2013. He was subsequently declared wanted by the EFCC and the Police . He was subsequently dismissed by the Federal Civil Service Commission. He remained in hiding and nothing was ever heard of him again until an online publication Premium Times published revealed that Maina had indeed been smuggled back into the country and reinstated to his former job with double promotion.
There was public outcry and outrage which quickly attracted the presidential directive that Maina should be immediately disengaged from service. Since then, the scandal has been unraveling and throwing mind boggling revelations.
Where else in the world will the president of a country knowingly participate in surreptitiously returning a fugitive to office in the garb of a hero with double promotion even while he’s still in hiding from the laws of the land? Worse, Mr President feigned ignorance of this obloquy and waded in to douse public outrage.
There’s no parallel incidence of dishonesty and corruption in high office that can be equated with this disgraceful deceit at anytime in the chequered history of our country, at least not in recent memory.
Should a President who was sold to citizens as a man of extreme integrity yet implicated in this moral calamity continue to keep silent while eroding and compromising our benchmark for probity, accountability, honesty and honour in the highest office of our land?
I think it’s time President Muhammadu Buhari apologise to Nigerians on his role in this malfeasance. In saner societies presidents would gladly tender their resignations to save the sanctity of the high office once dishonour of this magnitude becomes public. Our President therefore insults our collective patriotic allegiance by proceeding from this misconduct to hinting of his ambition for a second term. It’s confounding that a man whose only political capital, which his claim to integrity, has been so shamefully squandered is making preparations to seek again the people’s mandate!
Adejoh-Audu is a candidate for National Publicity Secretary of the Party.