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  •  Probes targeted at Jonathan’s men, say Fayose, PDP

SOLA SHITTU, ABUJA

Recently, Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State asked President Muhammadu Buhari to beam his searchlight, not only on his predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, but also on past Nigerian leaders such as former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Ibrahim Babangida, among others, if he was serious about the ongoing probe and recovery of stolen wealth of the nation.

Fayose, a Peoples Democratic Party governor, has been very critical of Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress government. Unlike other PDP governors, he has maintained a critical stance against the present administration, making foes and friends for himself in the process.

Already, the gale of probe is spreading like wildfire, even against the earlier promise of the APC that it would not engage in ‘such a distraction.’ The party’s former National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who is now the Minister of Information, had said that “Buhari will not probe Jonathan because he will not be “bogged down by endless probes” even though Jonathan while leaving office had said he was ready for probe.

On the other hand, the opposition party had called on the President to look inwards and ensure the probes were within the ambit of the law and not an attempt to witch-hunt the party or Jonathan’s administration.

‘I MET AN EMPTY TREASURY’

President Buhari, speaking through his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said he met a near empty treasury on assumption of office and revealed his decision to probe the Jonathan government to recover the billions of dollars that had not been properly accounted for.

The ruling APC had also asked the President to probe the immediate past administration over the $5.5bn dividends said to have been paid to the Federal Government by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited. Taxes and dividends recorded through the NLNG during the Jonathan administration are expected to be looked into.

But the National Publicity Secretary, PDP, Chief Olisa Metuh, said, “The investigation must be within the ambit of the law and respect for fundamental human rights of citizens. A government must plan for the future and not necessarily spend its energy looking into the past.

“It is the right thing to probe and investigate but there must be respect for fundamental human rights of the people. It must be carried out within the confines of the law; there must be no witch-hunt. There must be plans for the future; the government can go ahead with the probe, but must put forward those things that will move the country forward because very soon, Nigerians will be asking questions on insecurity, incessant arrests and the state of the dollar, among others.”

JONATHAN’S POSITION

When the issue of probe was first mentioned, Jonathan had urged President Buhari not to focus only on his administration, maintaining that it would amount to a witch-hunt if only his administration was probed. He had said, “I think in Nigeria, there are a lot of things that will be probed, very many things, even debts owed by states and debts owed by this country from 1960 up to this time. They say it is Jonathan’s administration that owed these debts…

“I believe that anybody that is coming for probe must also ensure that this probe is extended beyond the Jonathan administration. Otherwise, to me, it will be witch-hunt. If we are very sincere, it is not only the Jonathan administration that should be probed.”

The National President of the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum, Alhaji Yerima Usman Shettima, also argued that the probe should be all-inclusive and not limited to the past PDP administration alone. He said, “Nobody is opposed to probing anybody that is found wanting but the probe should not be lopsided. We are all aware that if Buhari wants to probe, he will be totally committed.

“The probe should not be a witch-hunt; it must be all-inclusive. There are some people who are close to him. They should also be probed; it should be a fight against corruption and not a selected few.”

‘BUHARI’S PROBES SELECTIVE’

Already, the Federal Government has commenced the probe of a former National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, over a $2billion arms deal. Dasuki and some others linked to the deal like Attahiru Bafarawa and Raymond Dokpesi, among others, have been charged to court by both the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The EFCC has also started probing the immediate past Delta State Government, led by Emmanuel Uduaghan, and former governors Godswill Akpabio and Sule Lamido of Akwa Ibom and Jigawa states, respectively. Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State has, however, accused the Buhari administration of being selective in the fight against corruption. Fayose asked Buhari to be bold

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