By Our Reporters
Aisha Buhari, Nigeria’s First Lady is not used to frivolities. She speaks out her mind whenever, she found out that things not going the right way in the government under the close watch of her Husband. Recall that in 2018, She had told the BBC, in an interview that there is a Cabal in the Presidency holding back the development and influencing the President’s appointments.
This time around, the First Lady, appears to have exposed the rot in the All Progressive Congress, APC, controlled government’s Social investment Programme, describing it as a failure. Hajia Buhari, who spoke in an interactive session with women in the Presidential Villa, on Saturday, May 25, as a prelude to the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari, for his second term in office, on Saturday , May 29, 2019,had queried the ”method used by the government in executing the programme”, which may had seen as a well thought out Investment but gone down the drain.
Note that in the last four year years, the government was said to have spent about 480 million on the programme alone. This is evident by the remarks of the First Lady that the government spent $16 million to buy mosquito nets in Kano , an APC , controlled state, in the north west geo-political region. An angry Nigerian First Lady had described the amount as outrageous, noting that ” $16 million is enough to fumigate the whole country”. That the programme failed woefully in Kano state is not surprising. This is because of the too many interests involved which won the contract to supply the mosquito nets in the state without proper supervision .
Giving a further insight about the mosquito m nets scandal in the state, She noted that it never went round the people. ”I did not get it ”, she said. Sh, has every reason to worry. This is because Maryan Uwais, the Manager of the Programme and Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Social Investment Programme was an indigene of the state.. President Mummadu Buhari, of the ruling APC, according to Presidency sources meant well with the programme to alleviate the suffering of the poor masses but Could not be everywhere to supervise the execution of the Social Investment Programme.
The Programme , may not have been a total failure, as she confirmed that it worked well in some states. This is evident in Lagos and Rivers state and where the $16 million mosquito nets allocation was actually used for the purpose as the people got it with happiness. The Magazine learnt that there were millions of mosquito nets left uncollected in the local government areas in these states that found their way into the market for sales.
According to her, the President may have to adopt a different strategy in distributing the money to the states where the programme did not succeed, particular the northern states in this his second term in office She had expected the N500 million, budgeted for the Social Investmment Programme to be utilised in different methods., in order to achieve the desired objective.
This is where Ibrahim Magu, a Commissioner of Police, CP, and acting Chairman , Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC,was to clamp down on the Uwais, overseeing the Programme and the outgoing states to know how the $16 million allocations to the states for the Social Investment Programme, particular, for buying of mosquito nets for distribution in the state was spent before they finally handover to the governors-elect on May 29, 2019.
Many believe that if Magu, who is feared in political circles, because of his no nonsense attitude to issues relating Corruption in the country, the new governors, would do a similar thing if they have the opportunity of getting the same allocation from the FG, for the Social Investment programme, to buy mosquito nets for the people.
The EFCC, operatives, may find it difficult to quiz, Uwais, the Manager of the programme, because of her connection in the Presidency or Gadunje, who won his re-election because of the immunity that covers his office . But Abdullaziz Yari, the governor of Zamfara state and former Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum , and others state governors, in the north who were not re-elected or who have completed their second term in office, need to be quizzed over the $ 16 million Social Investment Programme in their respective states. Critics averred that his is the only way the EFCC boss, may have to convince Nigerians that the Buhari government anti-Corruption war was not a fluke.
Note that there have been allegations making the rounds that the President may be sincere but most of his political appointees and the cabal around him are swimming in corruption. The sacking of Babachair Lawal, a former Secretary to the government over alleged Corruption speaks volume.