- Everyday, when you wake up, there is a story that makes you shiverÂ Â Â
- I must confess here that we have been infused by people who were not part of this journeyÂ
By Onyebuchi Ezigbo and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja and Victor Ogunje in Ado Ekiti
The Comptroller General of the Customs and Exercise, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd) yesterday lamented that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was increasingly losing grounds due to the infusion of people who did not share in the vision or took part in the journey to get the government into power.
Also yesterday, a coalition of Civil Society Organisations warned that the case of the former Chairman, Presidential Committee on Pension Reform Taskforce Team (PPRT), Abdulrasheed Maina, would make or mar the image of our country if not properly handled.Â
While Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State alleged that the Mainagate scandal reflected the level of corruption in the Buhari administration, the Labour Party urged the federal government not to shield Maina from prosecution.
Speaking while opening the campaign office of the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) in Abuja, Ali blamed the slide in the Buhari administration on the alleged dominance of the government by members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)Â
Ali, one of the strongest allies of President Buhari, said that about 50% PDP members were occupying key positions in the Buhari administration and were daily calling the shots.
“Let me say here without fear of being contradicted that I think half way through the journey, we are losing our core values. We are losing our vision and mission and I think that the idea of our being here today is to look critically at what we need to do to get back on track.Â
“There is no doubt that we have derailed because we are not doing what we say we want to do. Why is it so? We need to find an answer to that. If we do not find answer, then what should we do to get us all back on track? We owe this great nation and the 180 million Nigerians the duty to give good governance, good governance is what they voted for and good governance is what they expect andÂ Â deserve.Â Â We therefore as BSO, have a great task ahead of us. Our battle starts now.”
Â The gathering brought together some serving governors, ministers and other other Buhari loyalists, who in their separate speeches, declared war against cabinet members alleged to be working against the President’s interest.Â
In attendance were governors of Bauchi, Mohammed Abubakar; Kogi Yahaya Bello, and Plateau State, Simon Lalong. Also present were the Ministers of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; FCT Minister, Mohammed Bello; Defence Minister, Mansur Mohammed Dan Ali; Niger Delta Minister, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani; Minister of State for Health, Osagie Ehanire, and Olorunnibe Mamorah, among many others.Â
According to the Custom boss, unless something is done urgently, those that worked for the victory of the President and the APC government might be losing the “battle.”Â
Ali said: “When we were there working and jumping on the streets and reaching every corner, we were shouting change, change for a better Nigeria. Now, the key word is good governance for Nigerians. We must agree that we cannot finish our four years without delivering and leaving something to be remembered for in this country for a long time to come. We have no problem with our President because he is on course.Â
“But I must confess here that we have been infused by people who were not part of this journey and these people are the ones calling the shots today. That is why we are derailing. If we had the right people who have the vision and have been there in and out, I believe that we will not be going the way we are going today.Â
“It is my belief that those of us who have been in the trenches all these years to get good governance will surely be sleeping with belly ache every day, especially in the recent past. Everyday, when you wake up, there is a story that makes you shiver.â€Â
While urging the group for action, Ali said: “We cannot, as a people who have fought and committed everything we had to this government, sit back and allow things to happen the way they are happening. At the end of the day, the fingers will point at us because we were the ones who went to people and told them to give us their votes.Â
“These people that are calling the shots today were not there and when the chips are down, they will disappear and melt within the system. We are the ones that will be asked to account for what happened. Are we willing to face Nigerians and tell them that we have failed?Â
“I think this is the time for us to come together, create a system that is very robust enough to fight back and take back government in our hands and ensure that we deliver,” he said.
In his remark, the Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong, who echoed the views of Col. Ali, added that some of them who are governors were not carried along when appointments were made.Â
“Let the Mr. President be aware that this is the time to do something about it, because even as governors, we are also complaining in our various states. We complainedÂ Â that while we are here, we are sitting down and we hear that appointment were made and then people start asking you as the governor where is this man coming from? But when we turn right and turn left, we don’t know where they are picked from.â€
Mainagate Will Make or Mar Nigeria’s Image if Not Wall Handledâ€Ž, Says CSOÂ
â€ŽThe National Coordinator of Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria, Comrade Okpokwu Ogenyi, warned that the issue of Maina could make or mar the image of Nigeria if not properly handled.Â
While addressing a press conference in Abuja, Ogenyi said Maina should be given the opportunity to tell his side of the story â€œif that would lead to more revelations of people involved in the embezzlement of pension fund and subsequently, its recovery.â€Â Â
Don’t Shield Maina from Prosecution, Labour Party Tells FG
In a related development, the Labour Party LP yesterday accused the Buhari administration of complicity in the return, reinstatement and consequent disappearance of Maina.
LP which demanded for immediate arrest and prosecution of Maina noted since he was brought back by government, â€œthey must definitely know his whereabouts.â€
Addressing a press conference in Abuja, the National Chairman of LP, Mike Omotoso said that it was on record that Maina was sacked by the last administration and placed on wanted list, adding that the way and manner he was ferried in and reinstated in office â€œis a national disgrace.â€
“We are calling on the federal government to arrest and prosecute Maina if they know where he is. Since they were the ones that brought him back and reinstated him, they should also bring him out now, arrest and prosecute him.”
Fayose: Maina’s Saga Shows Buhariâ€™s Govt. Scandalously CorruptÂ
Also speaking on the scandal, Governor Ayodele Fayose has described the Buhari-led government as one â€œthat is rotten and covered with
He added: â€œWithin the last one month, Nigerians have been confronted with messy revelations that gave credence to my earlier position that President Buhari is the life patron of corruption in Nigeria.â€Â
The governor also alleged that there was a grand plot to release another set of Chibok Girls as a means of shifting the attention of Nigerians from the various scandals rocking the government, adding that the claimed recovery of $85 million as part of funds allegedly looted from the Malabu oil deal and conclusion of negotiation with Switzerland on the return of $321 million recovered from the late Abacha family were diversionary.