The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, PACAC, Itse Sagay, on Saturday revealed why President Muhammadu Buhari cannot prosecute former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan, despite wide spread accusations of corruption hanging on the necks of these former leaders.
Mr Sagay, who made the revelation amidst calls from several quarters for the prosecution of the former presidents, especially as it is being done in other countries of the world, said the nation was not yet ripe for such hence the former leaders could not be tried.
In an interview with the Punch newspaper, Mr Sagay said: “Speaking from a peripheral level, unlike in South Africa, Brazil, and other countries, we don’t have a history or culture in this country of prosecuting our former presidents.
“It will take a long time, when we’ve developed and become more mature, to do that kind of thing. Right now, if you touch a former president, the storm that it will bring will be so diversionary and disturbing that it will affect your capacity to do positive things for the citizens.
“In my own thinking, you have to leave them alone and go for those who carried out the act of looting,” Sagay was quoted by the paper to have said.
Reacting to claims by Mr Obasanjo that the current administration was just making noise about the war against corruption, Mr Sagay said, “I don’t agree with him. Noise should be made because you cannot reduce us to this level of poverty and wretchedness and think the government will continue to hide your name from the public.
“Even if a person has yet to be convicted, let them be subjected to the odium of public contempt so that when you see his child driving a Rolls Royce, you should be able to point at him and say, ‘That’s a car bought with our stolen treasury that you are driving.’ I support media trial; let the looters be tried in the press.
“If they feel there is anything wrong with it, let them sue the government; they have the right to sue if they didn’t steal.”
When asked what will happened to the reputation of the alleged looters soiled due to the media trial if they are eventually found to be innocent, Sagay said: “Why there should be media trial is that it’s not every corrupt person that will be convicted.
“Therefore, something should be done to mark them so that when they appear in public, everybody will know and say, ‘Here is another looter who is not in prison!’”
“…I am not surprised that the list contains mostly the PDP members because they were the ones in charge of our commonwealth before the APC came in. APC wasn’t the party in charge of our commonwealth before.”