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Corruption: “I’m a saint” – Babangida distance self from Buhari, Obasanjo, others

Former head of state, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. [PHOTO CREDIT: PM News]

Former military dictator Ibrahim Babangida says his regime is more saintly when compared to democratic governments of President Muhammadu Buhari and his successors.

Mr Babangida, whose regime is blamed for internalising the culture of corruption (settlement) in Nigerian polity, made this statement in an interview published by Arise TV on Friday. 

Asked why his is perceived as corrupt, Mr Babangida said he is a saint when compared to democratically elected presidents like Mr Buhari and others who have led the country since 1999 when Nigeria returned to democratic rule.  

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“You cannot compare it with the fact on ground now,” Mr Babangida said. “From what I read, from analysis, I think we are saints when compared to what is happening under a democratic dispensation.” 

Mr Babangida, who led a junta that ruled Nigeria from 1985 to 1993 and annulled Nigeria’s most credible June 12, 1993 election, said he sacked a governor for misappropriation of less than N313,000 but today people steal billions are are walking freely in the country. 

“I sacked a governor for stealing less than N313,000. Today those who have stolen billions are in the court and parading themselves on the streets. So who else is in fighting corruption,” Mr Babangida said. 

In a related development, the senior pastor of Citadel Global Community Church, Tunde Bakare, had said corruption has become more deadly under the watch of Mr Buhari. 

“If because of insecurity and corruption, we voted Jonathan out and now insecurity is worse, corruption is much more deadly now, what do you think should happen?,” Mr Bakare, a former ally of Mr Buhari, asked in his sermon last Sunday.

Though Mr Buhari claims to be leading an anti-corruption war, his regime has been rocked by several corruption scandals, ranging from certificate forgery among his aides to theft and diversion of public funds. 

In 2017, Secretary to government of the federation Babachir David Lawal, was fingered in diversion of N544million fund meant to cater for Internally Displaced Persons in terrorism ravaged North-East. Mr Lawal was suspended after much pressure from then-Senate. He subsequent trial by the EFCC has effectively been inert. 

Peoples Gazette in December 2020 exclusively exposed how top operative in Mr Buhari’s kitchen cabinetIsa Funtua, got a N840 million windfall from the Federal Inland Revenue Service without any justifiable reason. The government has kept mum of the matter till date.

In April 2017, $43 millon slush fund belonging to the NIA was found in a residential apartment at Okoyi, Lagos by EFCC officials. The then NIA boss, Ayo Oke, was sacked with President Buhari vowing that those involved in the IkoyiGate scandal will not go unpunished. Nothing has been heard of the matter till date.

Former Nigerian Finance minister Kemi Adeosun was in July 2018 exposed by Premium Times to have skipped NYSC and forged a certificate to secure her appointment in Mr Buhari’s government. She later resigned from office but was not prosecuted for forgery.
Anti-graft agency boss Abdulrasheed Bawa was exposed by Peoples Gazette to have diverted recovered assets in September 2020 when serving as a zonal head of EFCC in Port Harcourt. Less than five months after the exposé, Mr Buhari appointed him to lead the anti-corruption agency.

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