President Buhari is widely described as a man of integrity especially in the North. He has been in office for more than years as a democratically elected president. Nigerians are still expecting him to turn the fortune of the economy around. This follows a recent report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the country is out of recession.
One of the greatest challenges Buhari’s government encountered upon assuming office on May 29, 2015, was the economic downturn. This was fueled by drastic drop in price of crude oil. Nigerians paid through their nose for high cost of buying goods and services. There was hardly a commodity that its price didn’t skyrocketed.
Currently, the prices of some food items like garri has come down.
Nigerians should recall that President Buhari blamed fall in crude oil prices and reckless spending of the previous administration for the recession. Be that as it may be, the federal government stated emphatically that Nigeria is out of economic quagmire.
On the main issue of discourse of Kachikwu-Baru feud, why has President Muhammadu Buhari been silent?
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Suffice to state here that Ibe Kachikwu was formerly the Group Managing Director (GMD) of Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). President Buhari elevated Kachikwu by appointing him as Minister of States for Petroleum in late 2015. While Buhari named himself as the substantive petroleum minister.
For Maikanti Baru, he was under Kachikwu at NNPC. Baru was appointed GMD of NNPC by the president after Kachikwu became minister.
Presently, the minister and the GMD are in cold war. This battle was said to have started when both men were together at NNPC. Baru was alleged to have found it difficult to see Kachikwu as his superior. Fortunately for Baru, his power went above the skies when he became GMD of NNPC, as he became untamable for Kachikwu.
The bone of contention is that President Buhari seems not to be fair in the Kachikwu-Baru feud. Various reports had it that Kachikwu had complained several times about the high handedness of Baru as GMD. The minister had alleged Baru has been bypassing him in awards of contracts and other vital board decisions of the NNPC. This was said to have been happening for months with President Buhari looking the other way.
On Friday, October 7, 2017, the minister met with the president behind closed doors. When Kachikwu came out from the meeting, all he said was, “no comment.”
According to Ayodele Ozugbakun, anchor of Journalists Hangout on TVC, a few days ago, said that the leaked memo from Kachiwu to President Buhari dates back to August this year.
The question is why did the president refused to investigate Kachikwu’s claims since then. Due to the situation, some groups of Nigerians are smelling foul play. They are accusing Buhari of double standard due to the fact that Baru is also a Northerner like him.
One of the president’s fiery critics, Femi Fani-Kayode has labelled Buhari as a dark force. He also lambasted the president of an alleged $26billion NNPC oil scam.
Fani-Kayode, a former Minister of Aviation and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member alleged that Buhari used Baru to siphon the money in question. Some PDP members likewise said the money was stolen in preparation for Buhari’s re-election campaign towards 2019. They said since Buhari knew about how the money disappeared, there’s no way he will punish Baru.
President Buhari really needs to prove to Nigerians his hands are clean. Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN) has advised the president to resign as Minister of Petroleum.
The president has also been urged to open a probe into the allegation. Some quarters opined that both Kachikwu and Baru should be suspended. However, more people want only Baru out!
As events unfold, time will tell if this issue will fizzle out or be swept under the carpet. Nigerians are watching if President Buhari will prove to the people if indeed he is a man of integrity and an incorruptible leader.
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