Nigerians are about to make another critical decision as a people, as they head to the polls on February 14th to exercise their civic rights in choosing a new leader that will pilot the affairs of this great nation for another four (4)years. While I will not want to go into the long rhetoric’s of politics, I will want to concentrate on one of the major issues that have become a reoccurring decimal in the campaign slogan of the opposition and a major selling point of the Buhari candidature which is; he Buhari fought corruption to a standstill. After studying the entire Gen. Buhari’s regime vis a vis certain arrests that were made, I am forced to ask this simple question “What fight against corruption did Gen. Buhari truly embark on?”
Listening to President Jonathan’s defence on his own way of fighting corruption as the most formidable and realistic measure, which is; to create a strong institution, rather than chasing people while the roof is still leaking, I cannot but agree with him more when I read the story of Professor Ambrose Alli of blessed memory.
Prof. Ambrose Alli for the benefit of those who do not know, was the first civilian governor of the defunct Bendel State now Edo and Delta State of today. He is a Prof. of Morbid Anatomy, a well-read man, whose reign as a governor transformed the landscape of education, infrastructure and policies of today’s Niger Delta.
I want us to have a deep knowledge of this man, his antecedences and his performance as a governor in just four (4) years.
For many of us who do not know, Ambrose Alli was the one who took the Shagari Government to court and won the right for other non-federal universities to be accredited and opened, this singular act is what gave rise to the numerous states and private universities we have today. He established the Edo State university which of course is the first state university in the entire country. Now if you must know it is the campus extension of the Edo State university Ekpoma in Abraka of today’s Delta State, that is now what we know as the Delta State university.
Ambrose Alli is on record to have established close to 600 secondary schools scattered all over today’s Edo-Delta States. Under his housing policies, he built numerous low cost estates, these estates, like the Bendel estates are still standing today. It was Ambrose Alli who established the college of education Ekiadolor,Agbor,Warri and Ozoro. He established three (3) polytechnics. During his administration, it was free services and drugs in state owned hospitals, his roads are still very visible all over Edo and Delta States. He also helped to established the derivation of oil revenue as a constitutional reality in Nigeria, by successfully taking the Federal Government to court to establish fiscal federalism, an act which obviously Gen. Buhari and many ill minded Nigerians still hate till date. It is with the allocated 1.5% Prof. Alli was getting then, that he used judiciously to achieve this much imagine him today with 13%.
Now the sad tale of all this is that this same performer was sent to jail by a Buhari’s regime claiming he was corrupt and he was imprisoned until he went blind and was later released after the Esama of Benin himself, had to pay the government the
they claimed he MISAPPROPRIATED " not stolen".
I, as a citizen of Nigeria, will not condone any act of corruption no matter how minute the amount is, but there must be proof that indeed corruption has taken place. Buhari’s regime could not prove that Prof. Ambrose Alli stole, they could not prove he tried to enrich himself with state funds because, at the time of his arrest all they could get from him was a parcel of land he bought before he became governor. The kangaroo tribunal set up to try the eminent Professor couldn’t find anything against him, even with all the hostile tactics employed..He was later sentenced to 100years imprisonment on trumped up charges.
My question now is, why was Gen. Buhari so determined to jail this man even without evidence? more worrisome is the fact that this same Buhari was involved in some unexplainable funds at the NNPC while he was a minister before Shagari’s regime, who setup kangaroo tribunals or jailed Gen Buhari for these unaccountable NNPC funds? So why should he now jail this great man for 100years on grounds of misappropriation, an act he also was guilty of?
The answer is simple, Gen. Buhari in his quest to justify his reasons for toppling the regime,felt people must see him as someone that keeps to his word therefore,in the absence of the real corrupt politicians who had fled, the innocent and hard working performers should pay the price so as to please the citizenry,how sad.
written by Sunny Okoro
The notions expressed in this article are solely those of the author