Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had some weeks ago hinted he was going to name those who had looted the nation’s treasury on Democracy day.
This was to convince skeptical Nigerians that his government is fighting corruption. However, the day came and went by, but Nigerians were not told the identity of those stealing away their common patrimony.
Though the government said it was constrained by legal exigencies, It was gathered that there were also political exigencies involved that put a stop to the planned naming and shaming of the looters.
It was learnt that some political heavyweights waded in to analyse the collateral risks of such venture to the President.
Led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, It was gathered that the politicians explained to Buhari that naming looters might set the nation on fire.
A source in the presidency said: “You know these looters have hangers-on and beneficiaries that are willing to die for them.
“The truth is that corruption is the biggest industry in this country. Now, if you name the looters, you are fighting an entrenched cabal and this government can do without such battle for now.”
He also noted that the mood of the nation is not disposed to naming looters, with many Nigerians complaining of cash crunch.
“You are aware some people have started saying we should bring back Jonathan and corruption because of hunger in the land.
“Nigerians don’t care about looting as long as some crumbs get to them. So, realising this, we had to tell the President he will set the nation ablaze by such gigantic move.”
Buhari, it was learnt, also received advice from Obasanjo to jettison the idea so as not to trigger off a mob action that government cannot handle.
“If you name looters, Nigerians will go after them and we might not be able to handle the mob action,” Obasanjo reportedly told the President.
It was further gathered that the anti-corruption agencies also advised against the move, opting instead that the figures of recovered loots should be released.
The EFCC and ICPC reportedly told the Presidency it was better to secretly recover loots from affected former government officials who are cooperative than name looters and risk serious resistance.