President Muhammadu Buhari has been under enormous pressure to come to the aid of his All Progressives Congress (APC) allies accused of corruption — but he has remained unwavering in his decision to hands off the judiciary .
This is according to Buhari’s biography written by John Paden, a professor of international studies.
In the book, entitled ‘Muhammadu Buhari: Challenges of Leadership in Nigeria,” Paden wrote that Buhari demonstrated even-handedness in his fight against corruption when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested his associate, Lawal Jafaru Isa for allegedly receiving N170m from Sambo Dasuki, former national security adviser (NSA), who is facing charges of corruption.
The president did not stop his associate’s arrest, but Jafaru returned the money and he was released.
Also, Senate President Bukola Saraki featured in biography. His trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) was described as the first real test for an APC senior official.
However, it was acknowledged that the present corruption cases – initiated by the Buhari government – would drag on for years.
“Although, a number of senior officials had been tried for corruption prior to the Buhari presidency, the extent of the current corruption court cases in Nigeria is unprecedented,”the book read in Chapter 19, page 192.
“That does not mean that every case will lead to a verdict. All the accused are entitled to their day in court, and are likely to have high-quality legal representation; and there will surely be appeals and possible plea bargains. Cases may drag on for years. But the fact remains the law is taking its course .
“Importantly, in none of these cases (apart from certain military procurement scandals that impacted national security) has the prosecution been sponsored or encouraged by President Buhari. He has his hands off the judiciary, despite enormous pressure for him to come to the aid of APC allies.
“The question will arise when criminal cases are concluded as to whether the Nigerian judiciary is up to the task of being even-handed in such high level cases. Buhari’s attitude is to let the chips fall where they may in particular cases, although reform of the judiciary is one of his larger goals.
“Buhari has often said that if any of his own children were accused of corruption, and the authorities did not investigate, he would never forgive the authorities.”
Also, in the same chapter under the subtitle: ‘The Battle against Corruption: Four High-Profile Cases’, Diezani Alison-Madueke, former minister of petroleum; Tompolo, Mohammed Adoke, former attorney-general; Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president, and Godswill Akpabio, former governor of Akwa Ibom state, were listed as personalities, who were either facing corruption charges or were being investigated under this administration.
This is to buttress the anti-corruption effort of the president.