Our opening question should be: What has gone wrong with President Buhari’s much-touted war against corruption? And the answer is: everything, everything, has gone wrong with this war.
The government has lost every battle in the war.
Buhari’s many anti-corruption pronouncements through his campaign and up to the point he assumed office have turned into a mere wishful thinking.
The public sentiments that greeted those pronouncements have turned into mass doubt and hushed skepticism across the country.
Indeed, every inch of the way, this government shows that it cannot even articulate any war plan, strategy or tactic, against corruption, how much less wage any successful war.
The EFCC is headed by a man with questions unanswered. The Secretary to Government is a man tainted by corruption scandals.
Is it that the objectives of the war has changed or is it that the people are just getting to know the true intent of the Administration to wage only a mock war?
Why use Olisa Metuh’s case as a test? The arrest, detention and indictment of Metuh epitomized the dangers and fears about abusive exploitation of mass euphoria in pursuit of a narrow political objective.
Buhari’s government has no real war against corruption. That much is clear.
What has been going on is merely dubious gestures and dramatic posturing by a weak political party that managed to snatch electoral victory.
And these are weapons to suppress and scatter a defeated party of its opponents.
Metuh could be an ideal target, not because he was the most powerful figure in his party, but because overtime, he was viewed as pain in the neck of this ruling party, when it was the opposition.
As the spokesperson for his party for at least 16 years, Metuh’s words were sharp in their bite, making his office a devastating weapon system with which PDP was able to hold the opposition at bay for so long.
Metuh’s many wars of words constantly gutted and severely wounded the party of this President, as far as verbal combat remains an intrinsic part of competitive politics.
It is not all that surprising therefore that at the end of it all, it is the sharp words exchanged in politics that are remembered longer than other wounds.
Also, after People’s Democratic Party (PDP) lost the election, it was obvious the party was not used to losing and there appeared to be no clear plan among its leaders on how to handle their new status as the opposition.
Hence, the PDP chieftains scattered into a chilling quietude, coupled with so much infighting and desperate efforts by some to try to join the ruling party, rather than be in the opposition.
Again, at such critical moment, Metuh was among the very few figures in PDP to try to regroup and raise a voice as the new opposition.
By that very attempt, Metuh unknowingly turned himself into a bull’s eye in a targeting range in the Nigeria’s nasty politics of vengeance.
If not stopped, Metuh might continue to harass the ruling party, especially if it fails to keep any of the promises it made to the people during the campaign.
So, Metuh had to be contained as part of this government’s central plan to maintain power. It is absolutely all politics.
It is important to look at all the people arrested in the spate of the euphoria about the war on corruption and what has happened in each of those cases, in order to understand fully the trajectory of this article.
In analyzing the Metuh case, the mother crime would be the 2 billion-dollar fraud allegedly committed by Col. Sambo Dasuki. Metuh allegedly received 400 million from Dasuki. From the legal formulation of the crimes with which Metuh was charged, it is the position of the Government, represented by the omniscient EFCC, that Dasuki committed at least one crime in respect of the 2 billion dollars.
In other words, the Government alleged that Metuh knowingly received funds that were proceeds of Dasuki’s crime.
Therefore, there will be three critical elements to the case against Metuh. First, you need to establish that Dasuki committed a crime.
This requires the trial and conviction of Dasuki for that crime, or at least a guilty plea by Dasuki that he actually committed that crime. None of this has happened.
In fact, Dasuki has not even been charged with that crime. He is in detention for another alleged crime altogether.
Other elements to the alleged crime of Metuh are that he received funds from Dasuki and that he knowingly did so.
But these other elements are not ripe for consideration until we deal conclusively with the alleged crime of Dasuki; that is until there is a conviction of Dasuki of any crime in relation to funds, from which he paid money to Metuh.
Without that, no one can validly say that any funds received by anybody are proceeds of any crime – what crime?