Saturday, January 23

Dasukigate: Arrest Jonathan now, Waku tells Buhari

Dasukigate: Arrest Jonathan now, Waku tells Buhari

Sena­tor Joseph Waku

Says it’s unfair to leave ex-president alone while Dasuki is in detention
A foundation member of the Peoples Democratic Party and former member of the party’s Board of Trustees, Sena­tor Joseph Waku has implored Presi­dent Muhammadu Buhari to sustain the tempo in his ongoing war against corruption.

While describing the recent 2.1 billion US dollars arms fund scandal otherwise known as Dasukigate as a shame of a nation, Waku who is a lead­er of the pro-North Arewa Consultative Forum, ACF expressed disgust at the caliber of people involved in the scam.

“What does Anenih want again at his age? What does Yakassai want again at his age? It is a big shame on these two men refered to as elderstatemen, to be involved in alleged sharing and looting of funds meant to purchase arms for our troops to fight Boko Haram. These two old men should not only apologise to Nigerians, they and others that par­took in the sharing should refund the money to the national treasury”, Waku who is now a top chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC also spoke on other issues in this interview with TUNDE THOMAS. Excerpts:

What is your reaction to the alleged looting and sharing of the $2.1 dollars arms fund by some top political leaders in a scandal that has come to be dubbed Dasukigate?

It is very shocking and disgraceful, most especially when you look at the caliber of people involved. Look at the names that Dasuki has been mention­ing as beneficiaries of the loot. These are people that Nigerians until now look up to with respect. Tanko Yakas­sai, Tony Anenih, Haliru Bello, people who are supposed to be role models, now turning into looters. It is a big shame. I’m highly disappointed with these people.

What still baffles me is this, what constitutional power did Dasuki have to withdraw and disburse public mon­ey to few individuals? Dasuki is not an official or treasurer of PDP. Even in his role as the National Security Adviser, he lacked the power to share and dis­tribute the money the way he did.

What Dasuki did was not only crim­inal, but it is also illegal. I’m surprised that former President Goodluck Jona­than has chosen to keep quiet. Please he should be told that in this case, si­lence is not golden for him at all. It is even unfair that up till now nobody has deemed it fit to ask Jonathan questions including security agencies.

Is Jonathan bigger than Nigeria?

But some are saying that being a former President, it should not be seen as if Jona­than is being humiliated by asking him questions or inter­rogating him?

Rubbish. That is one of the big­gest problems confronting Nigeria. The big man syndrome culture of the untouchables, that is one of the things killing us. Is Jonathan bigger than Ni­geria? Will Jonathan be the first former president to be investigated or quizzed over corruption? We should be able to draw a line between sentimentalism and patriotism. To me, asking Jonathan to speak out or being quizzed is an act of patriotism. Asking that he should be left alone is sentimentalism.

How can they leave Jonathan alone? He is a central and key figure in this scam. Dasuki has been mentioning his name repeatedly, and let’s look at it this way, can Dasuki do anything on his own without the consent and approval of the president and the commander-in-chief? It is very unfair to detain Dasu­ki, while Jonathan remains a free man.

Jonathan should be arrested now. He should be quizzed and if he is found culpable let him be put on trial. If he is eventually found guilty, he should be sent to prison. Yes, Jona­than should be sent to prison if his hands are not clean, heaven will not fall if he is jailed. He will not be the first former president to be jailed. There are several other examples and instances across the world.

For those Jonathan’s apologists who keep on saying that we leave the man alone because he handed over power to Buhari peacefully, what is the big deal in that? I ask again, what is the favour Jonathan has done Nige­ria by handing over to Buhari? Was Jonathan not defeated at the polls? Did he not admit defeat? If Jonathan had stubbornly refused to hand over power after he lost the election, he would have ended up in shame, he would have been disgraced like the former leader of Cote d’Ivoire, Lau­rent Gbagbo who refused to quit after he lost to Alassane Quattara, where is Gbagbo and his wife now, they are both in prison in The Hague, Neth­erlands. Both of them fell from grace to grass, that would have been Jona­than’s lot if he had tried to play funny games.

I’m not saying Jonathan is guilty in this arms fund scandal issue, but if his hands are clean let him come out and clear his own name. Nigerians are waiting for him to speak out.

But some of those men­tioned by Dasuki as benefi­ciaries are saying that they don’t know the source of the money, and that they just col­lected it?

That is a fake explanation. That explanation is not acceptable. They are all liars – Is Dasuki the National Treasurer of PDP that they all should be collecting money from him? They should have asked Dasuki questions, but they didn’t, and they accepted the money. They have case to answer.

I expected that people like Anenih, Yakassai, Haliru Bello, and Bafarawa to have raised alarm when the money was being paid into their accounts by Dasuki.

The only exceptional cases to me are Falae and Ladoja. Sine they got the money from Tony Anenih and not directly from Dasuki, they may not have any reason to suspect foul play. They may have sincerely thought that the money was clean money meant for election purpose to support Jonathan’s re-election bid.

But some of these people are insisting that they will not refund the money they col­lected?

They are jokers, and this is why I’m making this appeal to President Buhari that this issue of war against corruption should not be treated with kid gloves. These looters should not be under-esti­mated. They have money to fight back, but government should not succumb.

Dasuki, Anenih, Bello, Yakassai, Bafarawa and others should have even been charged with treason because they stole money meant to procure arms to fight Boko Haram insurgents. There should be no going back on the prosecution of these people and if they are found guilty, let them go to jail.

I know that Anenih, Yakassai, Bello, these are people that are over 70 years and 80 years but if through their own action they committed crimes that culminate into their being handed jail sentences, so be it. Old men includ­ing retired Generals are sent to prison in other parts of the world. Nobody is above the law, it is what you sow that you reap.

What do you think should be done with money being recovered from looters?

It is public money which should be put into use for public good. The money should be used to provide in­frastructural facilities, like good roads, state of the art health facilities, modern rail system and other utilities that will serve public interests. Looted funds be­ing recovered should not be re-looted. I even have confidence in the man in charge, President Buhari is a no-non­sense man that will deal with any sabo­teur or greedy official that attempts to tamper with recovered loot.

Being a foundation mem­ber of PDP, how do you feel by the unfolding development in your former party?

I left PDP when the party was still in control of the federal government. I left PDP to join the then opposition party, APC because some of us were not happy with the way things were being done then. A lot of things were going wrong then in PDP and as elders we tried to intervene and restore sanity but they didn’t listen to us.

We saw the rot in PDP and we tried to correct the ills in the party but we were shouted down and even called names. I was number 11 on the list of founding fathers of PDP but I had to leave the party for the then opposi­tion APC because I didn’t want to be associated with a lot of rubbish going on in PDP.

16 years of PDP in power was years of waste. It was years of the locust. We thank God that Nigeria now has a purposeful leadership under President Muhammadu Buhari.

What is your take on allega­tion that Buhari’s war against corruption is selective?

People saying that are apologists of PDP and they should not be taken seri­ous. PDP was in control of the federal government for 16 years, so it is natural that more of the party’s members who held one public position or the other are the ones who have questions to an­swer. But even at that, any APC mem­ber that is found wanting should also not be spared. The president has even declared himself that he is for nobody but for all. Buhari is on course with his anti-corruption war. He should not be distracted by PDP apologists.

What is your candid assess­ment of President Buhari, es­pecially his ability to deliver because some people are saying that nothing has really changed in the last 7 months since he assumed office?

Forget what his political opponents are saying, Buhari has been fantastic in the last 7 months. Under his dynamic leadership so many things are chang­ing in Nigeria. For the first time in sev­eral decades, looters of public funds are being openly exposed and loots stolen are being recovered.

I believe we should give Buhari chance to perform so far he has been very fantastic. If there is anybody that can sanitise Nigeria, it is the man Bu­hari, the incorruptible. This is a man that was a former Head of State, former state governor and former minister for Petroleum Resources, yet he doesn’t own a filling station. No, that wealth or ill-gotten fund has been traced to him. This is a man that has shown rare courage in making a big difference as Nigerian leader, we should give him a chance to work.

My only advice to Buhari is on the issue of court orders being disobeyed in some cases like that of Dasuki. I advise President Buhari and those in charge of publicity around him to en­sure that members of the public are well informed as to reasons why some court orders are not being obeyed. It is for security reason or state interests, they should let members of the public know.

On the issue of recent mass defection of some PDP mem­bers to APC, how do you see the development?

I advise APC leadership to be very careful because most of the defectors are not doing so out of genuine inten­tion. Why are they now crossing over to APC after the party had won power? Some of these people do not have any electoral value, they are also coming to pollute APC.

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