Ganduje should face corruption charges to clear his name — Laolu Akande

In a pointed plea for transparency, former presidential aide, Laolu Akande, has said that former Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, should take the opportunity he has now to squarely face the corruption charges against him.

Akande said that it does not matter if Ganduje remains the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress or not.

He said the most important thing is for the former two-term Governor of Kano State to douse worries that Ganduje’s political opponents may use the charges to remove him from his current position as the national chairman of the APC.

Opening his popular TV talk show: “Inside Sources,” on Friday on Channels TV, Akande said in the segment: “My Take,” with the title: “The Challenge Of Corrosive Corruption,” that it was lamentable the effects of corruption on the nation.

“When we as a people try to rise above rampant corruption, it is because corruption is corrosive,” Akande began, adding: “Corruption distorts, corruption makes societal progress a herculean task and several other damages.”

He emphasised the dangers of impunity, stating: “The more dangerous thing is not that people can’t be corrupt because there is corruption everywhere on the face of the earth. The more dangerous thing is the lack of consequences, the impunity, which is a fatal dose for the destruction of any people, society or nation.”

Akande argued that silence in the face of corruption is akin to complicity. 

He said: “Impunity is when we see blatant corruption or what looks like it and we let it pass over and over again. What we are doing then when we repeatedly tolerate impunity, is that we are settling as a people for a life of shame, deprivation and despair, especially for the critical mass of our people.”

He argued that corruption fuels poverty and insecurity, which he called “the two major problems of our nation, at least today.

“So, this is why all Nigerians of goodwill regardless of party or political affiliations, regardless of religious or ethnic differences ought not to keep silent regarding the advocacy against corruption.

“We have to speak up. Silence in this matter could easily mean to be complicit.”

Akande then turned his attention to the specific case against Ganduje.

He said: “A case in point is what is currently happening in Kano State, where the state government is alleging and preferring charges of bribery and corruption against its immediate past governor who is also the chairman of the APC.”

First he acknowledged Ganduje’s reputation, stating: “It turns out that unlike many other Nigerian politicians, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje is actually a standup guy, a well-bred grassroots politician, who knows his onions. If Ganduje were to give you his words, you can go to sleep. I can say that because I know that.”

However, Akande stressed the importance of addressing the corruption allegations. He said: “The truth is that there is a hanging perception of corruption around Ganduje and it is not going to go away if he and the people around him, his political associates and the people who have authority over him, don’t encourage him to confront and deal with the perception. It is a shameful perception that will not go away if he does not frontally and robustly deal with it, especially now that he has another opportunity.”

Akande directly addressed a 2019 video allegedly showing Ganduje accepting a bribe. He said: “A video went viral in 2019 and now additionally, a state government is preferring charges of corruption against him. Now, anyone trying to deny what was revealed in that video in 2019, is abiding in self-deceit and makes no good.”

Even Ganduje’s friends, according to Akande, cannot deny the weight of the perception. “Even Ganduje’s friends can’t deny that, the perception created in the video is a weight that will continue to drag along the neck of Dr Ganduje if he does not deal with what is clearly a problem for him and us as a society,” he said.

Akande urged Ganduje to take this opportunity to clear his name. “Ganduje ought to take this opportunity now to clear his name before Nigerians and the world,” he said. 

Nigerians, Akande continued, “should care less whether he remains the APC chairman or not but let no one in government or anyone that has power try to tilt the scales of justice either in favour or against him.

“Let those who can talk to Dr Umar Abdullahi Ganduje encourage him to transparently go and sort himself out in the court of justice and court of public opinion so that all of us as a people don’t become messed up by the corrosion of corruption.”

The former presidential aide concluded by suggesting that facing the legal process could benefit Ganduje. He said: “If after the case he is found blameless, then he would have freed himself from the shackles under which his conscience is currently tied now. And I dare say the conscience of the nation.”

Akande argued for consequences in all corruption cases: “Nigeria and Nigerians deserve better if and when there is an established case of corruption against anyone who is entrusted with power, or any form of leadership in any sector or anyone anywhere for that matter, such deserves.”

Akande commended the Bola Tinubu administration’s initial steps against corruption, citing the suspension of Betta Edu and the investigation of Godwin Emefiele. He urged Ganduje to cooperate with the Kano State Government “to ensure the same. Let this impunity stop for God’s sake.”

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