By Obinna Chima
Presidency has described members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as well as other group of persons who oppose President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s government and yearning to â€˜â€˜change the change,â€ as those who benefit directly or indirectly from corruption.
The Senior Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to the President, Mr. Garba Shehu, said this in an article obtained by THISDAY last night, added that Buhari represents bad business for corrupt politicians and public servant.
The presidential spokesmanÂ outlined the achievements of the president in the past three years, pointing out that as the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) prepares to celebrate the completion of three years of the Buhariâ€™s administration on May 29, Nigerians need to be reminded of what he termed the reversal of the achievements of the administration would amount to for the country.
According to him, the real meaning and cost of the â€œchanging the change,â€ is that if the opposition wins the next election, â€œthey will not take us back to where we were in 2015, they will mostly reverse the progress the APC has brought to the country.â€
He recalled that the main reason for the defeat of the PDP in 2015 was corruption, arguing that President Buhari has so far presented a corrupt-free image of himself.
â€œHe has also succeeded in abolishing grand corruption at the top and as attested to by the American President, Donald Trump.
â€œThe government has significantly brought down the level of corruption in the whole country. It has, however, warned over and again that corruption was fighting back.
â€œMany who are discerning would have read this from President Buhariâ€™s speech when he inaugurated the impressive new headquarters building of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a week ago.
â€œHe narrated how and why he was overthrown as a military Head of State in the 80s,â€ he added.
Furthermore, he said the difference between the PDP and the current APC administration is that although the erstwhile ruling party mouthed a flood of rhetoric against corruption, â€œin fact rightfully lay the claim of founding the institutions now in the forefront of fighting corruption as a government, the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), they had intended to keep them as toys, or bulldogs which teeth had been removed.
â€œNo, they never intended that the war against corruption would be taken this far.
To change the change would mean that the teeth of the bulldog will be removed. It would then only bark but not bite.
â€œIn this country, politics is often considered as synonym of corruption. The previous government came under huge criticism for scandals like those discovered in arms procurements in the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA) which transformed itself into a major source of funding of the PDP; NNPC crude oil thefts, broadband spectrum licensing scandal, oil subsidy scam and so many others but the present government has not faced any such corruption allegations.
â€œAlthough he said he was unafraid and would not bend, the Presidentâ€™s concern, and fear on the part of many is that if a corrupt leader takes over, it will be happy days all over again for former Oil Minister Diezani Allison-Maduekwe who has so far forfeited $153 million, N23.4 billion, and $4 million and $5 million in separate accounts.
â€œChange the Changeâ€ would mean she will get the money back. So, would the former Managing Director of the maritime agency, (NIMASA) get back 578,080 pounds seized from him and the Ikoyi apartment owners have back their $43.4 million; N23 million and 27,800 pounds.â€
Continuing, Shehu said: â€œThe hidden owner of the Lagos cash shop may then step forward to reclaim their N449.6 million; the ex-naval chiefs will have returned to them the already forfeited N1.8 billion; the governorsâ€™â€™ forum paid back their N1.4 billion and the major oil marketers, from whom the EFCC has so far seized N328.9 billion will smile their ways to the bank.
â€œThe banks themselves will equally join the party, happily getting back N27.7 billion they â€œateâ€ from taxes they failed to remit; the scion of the Akinjides, Jumoke will have N650 million awarded to her while those scammers in INEC who coughed out N1 billion will equally get money back and charges standing against them in court may be dropped.
â€œBut the happiest of them all will be Mrs. Jonathan, who will get the first priority when the refunds start coming for obvious reasons. The former First Lady would not anymore need lawyers to keep her mountain of gifts, counted in huge millions of dollars, billions of naira, hotels and buildings.
He added: â€œThe list of people who oppose the Buhari government and yearning to â€˜â€˜change the changeâ€™â€™ include a number of parliamentarians, policemen, customs officials, immigration officials, civil servants now rooting for other political parties, not leaving out those various businesses and platforms owned by these political parties directly or indirectly.â€
Furthermore, he said the presidentâ€™s victory in 2015, and the possibility of four more years crumbled the dreams of endlessly looting the state, saying the growing list of achievements by the government was not doing any good for such persons.
â€œChange the changeâ€ means also that the biggest tax revolution since independence, the Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) now being implemented, and about which many of our rich citizens are unhappy may be scrapped.
â€œAnother formidable group unhappy with the change and wish it reversed are the importers of diesel and generators. â€œNigeria ranks as the second biggest importer of generators all over the world.
Buhari is bad business for them because he has raised electric power availability from 2,600 MW in 2