By Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi
The President has been helped by the grave and ghosts of persons who had worked closely with him and unsurprisingly their unfortunate death excuses him but does not exonerate him from the questions he should answer but which his style has left on the grave of the departed.
Obasanjo’s Interim Management Committee was set up in 1999 to wind down PTF and probe and present a scorecard on Buhari’s activities as the Chairman of the agency. The report came and Buhari was indicted.
The Interim Management Committee appointed three consultants to probe various aspects of PTF operations and its management.
The findings conducted independently were equally damming.
Though President Buhari later self appraised his leadership at PTF and noised his achievements, notwithstanding many stones were left unturned.
The many unanswered questions of his years at PTF were chronicled in a thorough investigation published in the cover story of Newswatch titled “How Buhari Ran PTF.” It was published in its March 13, 2000 edition. The story uncovered mammoth fraud discovered by the technical consultant hired by the Interim Management Committee.
It is important that we reflect on Buhari’s days at PTF as we are confronted with the working pattern of relationship between him and Ahmad which is not different from what we witnessed with him and Abba Kyari.
The detailed report of the Interim Management Committee is here again presented to Nigerians:
The Findings: N144.51 billion was given to the PTF by the Federal Government. A residential estate was to be built at Wuse, in Abuja for N703 million but the technical consultant hired by Interim Management Committee put the realistic value of the project at N328 million, leaving an outstanding of N375 billion as part of the questions our President needs to answer.
In January 2015, before the general elections, The All Progressives Congress high powered campaign train headed for Abeokuta to request for Obasanjo’s endorsement of Muhammadu Buhari as its Presidential candidate.
The delegation included Chief Bisi Akande, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, John Oyegun, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora and many others. President Muhammadu Buhari was confronted by former President Olusegun Obasanjo with a question onced asked in secret but never in public before the witnesses of his party chieftains and leaders. “Your Excellency, the discrepancies in PTF is about N25 billion. How come such monumental fraud took place under your watch?” And here was the response of General Muhammadu Buhari, provided in secret to his guests by Dr Olusegun Obasanjo: “Your Excellency you know PTF was very big and I couldn’t be everywhere”. OBJ said nothing further. But the truth however is Buhari never attempted to be everywhere. Ahmad was everywhere and Afri-Project Consortium excuted for him his mandate for which proper account is yet to be rendered.
Back to the findings:
The PTF Headquarter extension provided for was not carried out. Kits worth N28 billion was confirmed supplied to several hospitals across the country by Secretary of the Nigerian Guild of Medical Directors, Mr Rowland Ogbonna who asked the Federal Government to immediately withdraw the drugs from all the hospitals across the country. Their were serious doubts about their potency.
Projects were abandoned at averagely 30% completion. The deposit of N500 million made by PTF in a bank grew wings and disappeared as soon as the Interim Management Committee was announced. Obasanjo was not kind in his words to the said Bank officials. The bank accepted responsibility and promised to pay back. The question is, who was the chief executive that authorised the movement of the money? Ahmad was to Afri-Project Consortium, what General Muhammad Buhari was to PTF. Buhari remains answerable to Nigerians on PTF. So who ordered the movement of N500 millions naira?
On taking over, IMC discovered that there was no contract document drawing or specifications relating to the projects. The APC could and did award contracts and vary the pricing without any reference to the PTF. Mr Ahmad had asked the IMC officials to come and collect some documents in connection with all the transactions. On the day of the appointment, he collapsed and died.
Must the living be excused from the responsibility of a mandate exercised on their behalf by proxies whose corruption are the ghost hunting our nation and their grave still silent over many unanswered questions? Was Ahmad my thief, your thief or our thief? Only President Muhammadu Buhari has the answers and until they are provided, PTF remains a moral burden on his integrity.
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