Buhari’s Anti-graft War Not Selective – US Ambassador …Says Obama May Visit Nigeria
Ambassador of the United States to Nigeria, James Entwistle has said the ongoing anti-corruption war of President Muhammadu Buhari was not selective, saying the President had done what he should do.
Entwistle, who stated this in an an interview with select journalists in Abuja, weekend, said: “I don’t agree (that the war is selective). I have a lot of respect for President Buhari on the corruption issue. He made it clear during the campaigns that he was going to make that his focus.
“He has done exactly what he said he would do. It’s clear that he has unleashed the investigative agencies, and told them to follow evidence and information wherever it goes.
“I have followed all the things you have just mentioned; that there are prosecutions that are politically-motivated and so on.
“I have been following this, looking for either investigations or arrests that are solely politically-motivated, or only political. I haven’t found any. I think there are cases where there might be a political angle to it, but there are also some real evidence to support the real case.
“That’s something we follow very closely, just as you do. Narrow are the paths of investigations, making arrests, but I hope Nigerians will follow very closely in the next few years as these cases go to court.
“How they are handled in court, how the courts do their job, how the government reacts when inevitably they would lose a case in court, what’s the reaction to that. All these are things that have to be observed and handled very carefully.
“But, the premise of your question is absolutely correct. In any country, it is easy for corruption cases to begin to spin out of control. I don’t see that happening here. I hope all Nigerians will follow that very closely, and if you see it, say it.”
On whether the President had met the expectations of Nigerians since he assumed office a year ago, the ambassador said: “I see a parallel between President Buhari and President Obama.
President Obama had not been in office for a long time before people began to have the same kind of impatience.
“I think in the US, a lot of people forgot how difficult the situation President Obama inherited was at the time. I think the same thing is happening with President Buhari to a certain degree.
“It’s completely understandable for people to have high expectations. They are impatient, because they want to see change. But, President Buhari inherited a pretty difficult set of circumstances, and some of the things he’s identified what needed to be done — end corruption, reform the petroleum sector, end the conflict in the North East region — are things that even if he works as hard as he can, they are going to take some time to yield the kind of results people expect.
“I understand why people are impatient. I remember a week after inauguration, looking at the newspapers, there was already an editorial that said: ‘Well, Mr. President, it’s been a week, we haven’t seen much yet.’”
Asked if President Barack Obama will ever visit Nigeria before the expiration of his tenure, Entwistle said: “Nobody would be happier to see President Obama come to Nigeria than me. But, let me remind you that President Obama is in office for six more months, which is a long time.
“So, we’ll see what happens. Keep in mind that there are other ways to do finer relationships than just a visit by a president.
“When President Buhari went to Washington a year ago this month, he met for a long time with President Obama in the Oval Office. So, we have a very good, high level relationship, even when President Obama has not been to Nigeria. But, as I said, he will be in office for six more months. We will see what happens.