By Farooq Kperogi
The minions at the Buhari Media Center have caused this factually inaccurate, propagandistic photo on the left to circulate on Nigerian cyberspace in the past few hours. They are pushing the rhetorical boundaries of the false but unravelling narrative of Buhari’s putative “integrity” preparatory to the 2019 elections.
We should never allow ourselves to be suckered again by the rhetorical duplicity of the well-oiled Buhari lying machine.
So, let’s start. Accusation is not conviction. Being accused of something isn’t synonymous with being guilty of it. No past Nigerian president or head of state has ever been convicted of corruption. Not even the late General Sani Abacha whom Buhari said never stole any money from Nigeria (but whose recovered “loot” is being perennially repatriated by the Swiss government to Nigerian governments, including to Buhari’s government) has been convicted of corruption.
But this man of “integrity” who wants you to vote for him again in 2019 had said that the accusation that Abacha stole money was “baseless.” “Ten years after Abacha, those allegations remain unproven because of lack of facts,” he said during a “special prayer session” in honor of Abacha on June 8, 2008 in Kano. (Note that the Swiss government started repatriating Abacha loot to Nigeria in 2007.
A year later, “Mr. Integrity” said there were no “facts” to substantiate the accusation that Abacha stole Nigeria’s money. Maybe lying is part of the definition of “integrity” in Buharism. Recall the lies he told last year to defend corrupt Babachir David Lawal whom he was later compelled to fire but whom he has not prosecuted up to now?)
Well, Buhari, too, has been accused of corruption. He was accused of stealing 2.8 billion naira of NNPC funds when he was petroleum minister in the 1970s. Go to Nigeria’s newspaper archives for evidence. The late Fela Anikulapo Kuti even sang about it. I personally don’t believe the accusation was credible, but we’re talking of “accusation,” not conviction.
Buhari was also accused of corruption when he headed the PTF, as this Newswatch cover story by the right testifies. Of course, it doesn’t mean he was guilty, although his multi-million-naira house in Abuja (according to his partial public declaration of assets) and his failure to fully and transparently declare his assets like the late Yar’adua did and as he said he would call several things about him into question.
To say that he had never been “accused of corruption” is factually inaccurate. It’s also immature, easily falsifiable propaganda. But I think what kills a nation faster than “corruption” is incompetence and bigotry, which sadly define Buhari’s presidency.
Farooq Kperogi is a U.S. based University Professor.