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Wednesday, 12 August 2015

As Nigeria's Peace Committee Resurrects.

By Hamisu Salihu

The 2015 general elections Peace committee headed by former president Abdulsalami Abubakar must be commended for the roles they played towards the successful or peaceful conduct of the hotly contested 2015 presidential elections. They worked both on and behind the scenes to trigger and influence events that later culminated in the historic handing over from the ruling PDP to the opposition APC. We give kudos to them for that!
With the achievement of their primary objective therefore, one had thought the Peace committee would naturally disband and give the newly elected government space to do for Nigerians what it has promised them at the campaign trail. Alas, that appeared not be the case; as the Peace committee on Tuesday 11/08/2015 suddenly resurrected and abruptly paid President Muhammadu Buhari a visit many Nigerians found unusual and unexpected.
Speaking after ‘the closed door’ meeting, Mr Mathew Hassan Kukah while responding to a question about their mission which appeared to be on Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade, said: ‘I think what we are concerned about is process. It is no longer a military regime, and under our existing laws, everybody is innocent until proven guilty.’ Connecting the dots of events occurring prior to the peace committee’s meeting with Baba Mai Gaskiya such as the visit to Villa by two former heads of state, it won’t require any political expert to decipher the code and conclude that the Peace committee met with PMB purposely to intercede on behalf of certain interests or individuals likely to come under the loop of President Buhari’s anti-corruption or loot recovery crusade.
Unless we, ordinary Nigerians, were kept in the dark about the entire terms of what was called Abuja Accord signed on January 14, 2015, which the Peace committee mid-wifed, I do not think that allowing officials who stole from public treasury to escape justice was part of the agreement signed in the event of Buhari defeating the then incumbent Goodluck. But I stand to be corrected though! Thus, for the peace committee’s spokesperson to make the scathing innuendo and remark that Nigeria was ‘no longer a military regime’ is uncalled for as it all sounded like someone was wailing on behalf of the bereaved. For goodness’ sake, since when has it become the peace committee’s responsibility to hold forte for those suspected of looting our commonwealth in billions? Which is the import of the entire message of Mr Kukah and his committee!
The last time I checked Nigeria was not operating a caste system; we are all said to be equal before the law irrespective of class and status. And, as an enthusiastic follower of events and happenings in Nigeria, I have heard and read of how some ordinary folks involved in or suspected of theft of items not worth a million Naira were set on fire by angry mobs. And that is still the unofficial penalty for theft in many places in Nigeria! While I am not a subscriber to or a believer in jungle justice, the import of this is that majority of Nigerians are seriously averse to anything to do with theft or corruption. And, so far, I have never heard of a committee set up either by Mr Kukah or any of his Peace committee members purposely to fight such jungle justice meted out on ordinary oles or barawos! So what PMB’s anti-corruption fight style or ‘process’ typical of ‘military regime’ is Mr Kukah and his committee ‘concerned about’ that is worse than setting suspects ablaze?!
For avoidance of doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari was voted into power by Nigerians to specifically fight the cancer of corruption. In fact it has been said by someone that should Buhari fail in all areas but succeed in killing official corruption, Nigerians will ultimately be happy for it and with him. And I agree with this. In essence, the whole pedestal upon which the charismatic statute of PMB rests is his anti-corruption credential; hence any individual or group who arm-twists, cajoles, intimidates or blackmails PMB into soft-pedalling or jettisoning entirely his anti-corruption campaign does PMB and Nigerians a great disservice and disfavour. And, history and posterity will not forgive that individual or group for setting corruption free from the hands of Nigerians after it was chased, caught, wrestled to the ground, tamed and handed over to the only alpha/Mallam Nigerians believe knows best how to slaughter the monster–That is President Muhammadu Buhari!
Salihu is of the department of economics, University of Surrey, UK

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