14 June 2018

Nigeria: Jonathan, Yar'Adua, Not Buhari, Deserve Credit for Jailing of Dariye, Nyame - Reno Omokri

Former Governor of Plateau State, Sen. Joshua Dariye, during his arraignment at the FCT High Court Gudu,in Abuja on Tuesday (12/6/18). The Court sentence him to 14 year imprisonment for fraud and misappropriation of funds. 03249/12/6/2018/Hogan Bassey/NAN

A former spokesperson to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, has argued that the Buhari administration is wrong to claim credit for the jailing of two former governors.

Mr Omokri argued that his former boss, Mr Jonathan, and the latter's predecessor, Umar Yar'Adua, deserve the credit.

PREMIUM TIMES reported the jailing of ex-Taraba State governor, Jolly Nyame, in May and that of ex-Plateau State governor, Joshua Dariye, on Tuesday.

Both men were jailed 14 years each for misappropriating funds belonging to their states. Both men were elected in 1999 under the platform of Mr Jonathan's Peoples Democratic Party, and then re-elected in 2003.

Their corruption trials started in 2007 before their conviction 11 years later in 2018.

While many see their convictions as a success story of the Muhammadu Buhari administration's fight against corruption, Mr Omokri says the president and his administration should not be commended for it.

Read his full statement below.

My attention has been drawn to a statement by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission claiming that the recent convictions of former Governors Jolly Nyame and Joshua Dariye, has vindicated them from the oft repeated accusation that the EFCC, under Buhari, is lukewarm in prosecuting chieftains of the ruling All Progressive Congress, for corruption.

Nothing could be further from the truth and the statement only serves to show the dishonesty and lack of integrity of the current leadership of the EFCC.

The fact is that Joshua Dariye and Jolly Nyame, the two former Peoples Democratic Party members recently imprisoned for fraud, were charged and prosecuted by the PDP administrations of Umaru Musa Yar'adua and Goodluck Jonathan' and not by the All Progressive Congress led government of Muhammadu Buhari.

Joshua Dariye for instance was charged to court on July 13, 2007 by the EFCC under the leadership of Malam Nuhu Ribadu who was then serving under a PDP led administration headed by President Umaru Musa Yar'adua.

He was arraigned on 23 counts, his plea was taken but his defense lawyer challenged the court's jurisdiction. The Court of Appeal threw out that application and the case went to trial on Oct.27, 2010.

By May 29, 2015 when former President Goodluck Jonathan handed over power to President Muhammadu Buhari, the case had already reached the point where a verdict was to be given but the current EFCC headed by Ibrahim Magu began dragging its foot, most likely because by then Dariye had decamped to the APC.

In the case of Reverend Jolly Nyame, he was arraigned in 2007 on 41 counts. His plea was taken and his trial begun after all applications filed by the accused to stall the trial were dismissed by the Supreme Court. Trial fully commenced and was on-going at FCT High Court by 2008.

From the above, it is now clear that the convictions of Dariye and Nyame were anti-corruption feats of the PDP administrations of Yar'adua and Jonathan and the Buhari government is trying to reap where it did not sow.

Former President Jonathan in particular, was noted for firing erring PDP ministers and handing them over for investigation by the EFCC. Nigerians should ask themselves if it is possible for Buhari to do to APC members what Jonathan and Yar'adua did to PDP members.

Babachir Lawal was caught red handed stealing. When is the Buhari led administration going to arrest and try him for fraud? Abdulrasheed Maina was dismissed for fraud and theft of pension funds by the PDP administration of Goodluck Jonathan only to be recalled, reinstated, double promoted and given armed guards by the Buhari regime. The Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme who was indicted for misappropriating ₦10 billion was restored by Buhari.

These and other instances of hypocrisy is why Transparency International said that Nigeria is more corrupt under Buhari than it was at ANYTIME during the Jonathan administration. Whereas, Nigeria made her highest improvement on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index in 2014 under Jonathan where we moved eight steps forward from 144 to 136, we have moved 12 steps backwards from 136 to 148 in the CPI under Buhari.

The Buhari administration is so desperate for achievements and because it has none, it continues attempting to steal the achievements of others like the convictions of Dariye and Nyame, which was initiated by the PDP which charged them to court in 2007 and the Abuja-Kaduna rail which was designed, built and completed by PDP administrations.

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