President Muhammadu Buhari once again incurred the wrath of Nigerians over his statement portraying the late former Head of State, General Sani Abacha, as a change agent who built roads and fixed the health sector.
Buhari, while hosting the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) at the State House, Abuja, had taken a swipe at former President Olusegun Obasanjo, his successors in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and even the National Assembly, comparing them to Abacha.
He said: â€œNo matter what opinion you have about Abacha, I agreed to work with him and the PTF roads we did from here to Port Harcourt, to Onitsha, to Benin. Abacha built roads and hospitals.
â€œOne of the former heads of state between that time was bragging that he spent more than $16 billion, not naira, on power. Where is the power? Where is the power? And now we have to pay the debts.â€
This was not the first time Buhari had turned a blind eye to the mismanagement of the economy and unprecedented looting by the late dictator, as he had in 2016 declared that Abacha never stole.
Owing to the alleged looting by Abacha, his cronies and family members, Nigeria, 20 years after his death, is still struggling to secure the release of hundreds of millions of dollars stashed away in foreign banks.
Coming at a time when the repatriation of almost $500 million of the Abacha loot is still being negotiated with the U.S. government, the presidentâ€™s statement fanned the flames for Nigerians, who took to the social media to condemn the presidentâ€™s praise of the late military dictator.
Biola Kazeem said: â€œYou hate corruption so much. All appearances of it. All versions of it. You are the grand Ayatollah of integrity.
â€œBut Abacha is always your reference point for responsible leadership. In fact, you donâ€™t care what anyone thinks. Why? Because he built roads and hospitals.â€
@Chxta said: â€œWhile his VP was in #Benue attending the funeral of a number of our countrymen who were killed by suspected herdsmen in the ongoing #PastoralConflict, our president was busy making nonsense of @ProfOsinbajoâ€™s efforts by running his mouth in the villa at a campaign event.
â€œBuhariâ€™s comment was both in very bad taste, and indicative of the fact that he does not know anything. In three years, the current NASS (National Assembly), bad as they may be, have managed to pass 200 bills.
â€œWhile it is common knowledge that Buhari doesnâ€™t really care about the average Nigerian, and is more concerned with returning to the Villa next year, it boggles the mind that the man keeps undermining those who could have worked with him to actually give him a decent legacy.â€
Stanley Nwabia said: â€œSame Abacha that locked up MKO till death. Murdered Ken Saro-Wiwa and Kudirat Abiola. Looted silly via PTF with Buhari as chairman?
â€œAmazing how many South-west leaders that were crying over MKOâ€™s incarceration are now teammates with Buhari and Abacha family inside APC.â€
Demola Olarewaju said: â€œPraising Abacha is a mockery to all those who lost their lives under his misrule â€“ from Shehu Musa Yarâ€™Adua to Alhaja Suliat Adedeji and a shame to the likes of Bola Tinubu and co who are in the same party with Buhari. It is a direct insult also to the Yoruba race.â€
Joyce Odukoya wrote: â€œThe man who claims to be an anti-corruption czar is still praising Abacha, a proven corrupt despot and thief. I would be embarrassed if I was his supporter. Luckily Iâ€™m not.â€
May Ubeku added: â€œBuhariâ€™s government is still working on how to repatriate Abachaâ€™s loots (sic) yet he came out to tell Nigerians that Abacha was a good man because he built hospitals and roads.
â€œBuhari is a disgrace to Nigeriaâ€™s anti-corruption fight. His name should be inscribed in the hall of shame.â€