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Friday, 31 July 2015

Anti-graft war:Many people are now scared of Buhari – Gbagi

Former Minister of State for Education and Delta State governorship aspirant, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi is a lawyer, criminologist, industrialist and one of the founders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He is unhappy with the level of stealing among elected and appointed public officers, especially in recent times and wants President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that those found guilty of graft are logically prosecuted or his regime will be at the mercy of justice-thirsty Nigerians. He shared this view in an interview with Vanguard where he also spoke on why former President Goodluck Jonathan lost the last presidential election and Buhari’s performance so far among others.
By Clifford Ndujihe
Gbagi, Minister of State,Education
Gbagi, Minister of State,Education
On why Jonathan lost the presidential polls to Buhari
I am one of the founders of the PDP, a lawyer and a criminologist, which means that I have friends and brothers across the nation. What I did was to get to the nooks and crannies of the country to find the true situation. At the end, my finding was, it was certain that Jonathan was not going to return.
This dates back to when Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s fight started. It is sad that that situation was allowed to play out the way it did.
I tried my best to ensure that the situation was nipped in the bud because Obasanjo and I had a meeting where I saw a clip of what was going to come out and it turned out to be that permutation that Jonathan would lose.
Then, I called my father, Chief EK Clark, and said this is what is going to happen. He was in Delta State that day and he was quickly going to meet President Jonathan and said there was need for us to have a quick meeting.
It is one of the things I respect Obasanjo for. I said to him at the end of our meeting that day, ‘please send for Jonathan to come to this house and talk to him.’
Obasanjo responded, ‘Kenneth, Jonathan is the president of this country. I am not going to send for him, I will go and look for him.’
That was what happened. Why didn’t they give him access? Why didn’t they allow him to do what he needed to do? In any case, certain persons in the entire Jonathan administration constituted an embarrassment because Jonathan did not speak to any of his ministers.
We were the ministers, who did the ground job that brought Jonathan to power. Soon after that election, Jonathan was held hostage. And he rather picked people of questionable character at the expense of those of us who built the house and the government was hijacked by criminals. That was the beginning of the catastrophe and downfall, that was how we dissipated. We used our own money to fight in our various localities for Jonathan to be elected as president. At the end of it, people who had nothing to do with it became the owners of the government and friends of government. It was prediction foretold. The government was not allowed to breathe. Merit was not the basis of it and so we lost direction and everything.
So, when I predicted that Jonathan was not going to win, it is because I was stating the fact. People were deceiving him. Thank God, he finally accepted that he was caged by the criminals. With the benefit of hindsight, I think if Jonathan were president today, he would think differently.
On allegations that the elections were rigged
The election of Buhari was done three, four years before the actual election. The persons that worked Buhari’s case out were mainly the journalists in Nigeria. They had moulded the peoples’ mind and thinking and made Jonathan to look like total and complete failure. So, the country and people were yearning for change because their mind had been so driven in such a direction that Jonathan was no longer the president even though he was there.
Take for instance, a very stupid publication about a northern president dying in office. That was the rudest shock I had. And that Buhari was going to die in office. That was very rude.
The press won the election for Buhari. They started digging Jonathan’s loss. It got to a stage when Jonathan was not the president but persons in his cabinet and persons around him. He was just like a prime minister in a presidential system of government. He was not a politician. How he allowed himself to be taken over by some miscreants was a very painful situation.
On the implication of Jonathan’s loss to the South-South
Jonathan has ended the slot. Given the geo-political structure of governance in Nigeria today, Jonathan has taken a shot at our slot. Regrettably, the way it all ended is very sad. A lot is yet to come out. I am a proponent of we must get it right.
It is sad that people who have no business eating breakfast in Nigeria are eating breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time. When such a situation occurs, the country is not encouraged, the youths are restless, the people don’t want to go to school because they rather believe that mediocrity, lies, theft, forgery, etc, is a way of life. It is very sad that in the months ahead of us we are going to see a lot of embarrassing revelations. No nation thrives in the way and manner these criminals who held Jonathan to ransom ran the country.
On Buhari’s decision to limit his probe of past governments to Jonathan’s regime
Whatever was done in 1999, there was a president before this president. It was the duty of Jonathan to have probed the government that he took over from. Buhari has no business going to a government which is not back-to-back with him. The Jonathan administration is back-to-back with him.


Whatever negativity there was with regards to the Jonathan’s government will have effect on the Buhari government. Buhari cannot be going to the 1999 regime. What concerns him by law and every fact of life is this one.
On Buhari’s perceived go-slow approach
People made a lot of assumptions that are wrong. When Buhari became president people expected that as soon as he gets in he will retire everybody and send them away. He didn’t do that. I think he took the right step. He did not do anything before he changed the Department of State Services (DSS) director. As soon as he changed the DSS director it means he has a grip on the security and information gathering system of the nation and has got the head and the neck of the country in his hand. It would have been senseless going to take a lot of steps when the DSS director is not with him.
After that, he has moved to change the service chiefs. He is looking at what happened. People are giving him information and briefing him as to where they are with affairs. So he has facts as to how to handle issues.
Having grabbed those issues, is he a feared man? A lot of people in the country are quite scared because they don’t know where we are going. You can’t go to Buhari and say you want to offer him money as it used to be in the past. All those impunity has gone to the dust. Auditing has started. All the world leaders have pledged that they will support and repatriate Nigeria’s money.
Nigeria is in a state of coma. I pity the president. I pity some of the governors, like the governor of my state (Delta). Government was run with reckless irresponsibility.
The only thing that will give us and the greater majority of Nigerians succour is that these persons are brought to book. Not the cosmetic arrangement of just taking people to court, they get lawyers to bail them and they start branding in our eyes the looted wealth. If such arrangement happens under the Buhari government there will be catastrophe. We must see a logical trial. We don’t want to see monkey trials by the EFCC and ICPC. They themselves will have themselves to blame. The Nigerian populace will this time haunt them and the Buhari government will be cut short if we do not come to logical conclusion with the trials. Anybody, who has held public office and has stolen money must be made to return the money.
On comments that President Buhari is being selective in his anti-graft war by going after PDP people and leaving those in his All Progressives Congress, APC
That is not correct. His party was not in government at the centre. We are a federation with federating units. Buhari is the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which means his area is that of government of the federation not the states or the local councils.
However, when you from Anambra or any other state have issues with facts, you take it to the relevant agencies for prosecution and such governors or local council chairmen will be prosecuted.
So it is the governors that should go back to their predecessors in office and say you committed so, so and so offence and take it up.
On impressions that the fight against Boko Haram is waning under Buhari
Let us give Buhari and the service chiefs, DSS Director three months, in my reckoning, given the fact that a lot of people who are prosecuting this war, who are now Boko Haram, are ex-soldiers, ex-policemen, ex-navy, ex-air force. Their sponsors have become so spread all over the country that it requires tact and strategy to achieve.

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