All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) has demanded the release of the forensic audit on the missing $20 billion oil money.

Gen. Buhari, in a statement yesterday, said the report must be released “in the spirit of the war against corruption.”

Buhari giving his presidential declaration, 2014

The APC presidential standard-bearer accused the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of “digging graves in search of rumours” to confuse the voters.

The statement, signed by the Director of Communications of the Buhari Campaign Organisation, Mr. Dele Alake, reads: “There is a clear linkage between the billions of Naira lost to corruption and the poor living conditions of our people: it is the resources meant for the development of our people that are diverted to service the greed of a few. It is the fear of the unknown in a country where both family and government social welfare have collapsed that fuels the avarice of those in offices to steal for generations unborn.

It is indeed true that, by sheer force of personal examples, I and my running mate, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, have demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that it is possible to live above the greed that dominates the system.

“I believe our spiritual anchors as men who fear The Almighty and are resolved to live our lives according to His admonitions have played very critical roles in developing our capacity to lead. As Christians go and return from churches, as Muslims and men of other faiths observe their spiritual obligations, we believe our individual commitments to serve our Creator will inspire us to shun corruption.

“We say this fully conscious of the need to strengthen these spiritual values by creating a system that cares for the poor and the downtrodden; a system that gives jobs to the unemployed; provides electricity so that the artisans and the middle class can be productive and expands infrastructure to enable the corporate sector reduce cost of operations.

“The details of the roadmap to prosperity has been powerfully articulated in the manifesto of our party, the All Progressives Congress. We have signed this manifesto to commit ourselves to faithfully execute it as our contract with the people of Nigeria.

“Let us reiterate that we have already declared war against corruption, resolved to achieve food security, provide accelerated power supply, integrate the country’s transport network, promote free education and provide affordable health care service.

“What we bring to the table is not just these ideas. What we offer Nigerians is that we shall, day and night, 24 hours per day, seven days a week, stake our intergrity as men of discipline and transparency to make life better for the average Nigerian by executing these policies in the shortest possible time.

“What we bring to the table is an unblemished record of patriotism to our country and an enviable standard of hardwork and fulfillment of pledges that we have not seen in the handling of our national affairs in the last few years.

“In the spirit of the war against corruption, we demand the release of the Audit Report of the Missing 20 billion dollars.

“Clearly unable to oppose us with an equally clean and unassailable ticket, we can understand why our opponents are running from pillar to post, digging graves in search of rumours in the impossible hope of misinforming unsuspecting voters and spinning a web of blackmail and deceit.

“In this electoral contest of vision and moral stature, only the guilty needs to be afraid. Luckily, our lives are like the open book. We challenge our opponents to stake their desire to lead Nigeria again on what they have achieved with the billions of resources they received. This is not the time for distractions and red herrings. Nigerians are the ultimate judge of stewardship. They will deliver their verdict, loud and clear to the world on February 14, 2015.”

Speaking at a media parley in Lagos at the weekend, Osinbajo said his party would return the country to the path of progress, if elected next February.

The professor of law said the APC would not treat the issue of governance with levity and that its leaders will take responsibility and not offer excuses to Nigerians as it is being done today.

According to him, what Nigerians expect from the government are solutions to problems and not explanations on why the economy is bad, why they cannot get protection from terror attacks and why commercial kidnapping rages on in some parts of the country.

He further said the APC was on a rescue mission as it has drawn up a blueprint on how to revamp the economy and give Nigerians hope.

He blamed the dwindling fortune of Nigerians on the mismanagement of the people’s commonwealth by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which he said had run out of ideas on how to get the country on the right track.

Osinbajo also defended Gen. Buhari on his role in the enforcement of a retroactive decree and the romance with the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) in his days as military Head of State.

He described as a wrong notion to link his emergence as Gen. Buhari’s running mate to an imposition by APC national leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

According to the eminent lawyer, he emerged after two attempts to arrive at a consensus running mate collapsed.

He told his audience that he was picked by Gen. Buhari and the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, with approval of the party’s leadership.

Osinbajo said the problems of the land would have been more than 50 per cent solved with Gen. Buhari in the saddle as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.

His words: “It’s going to be the first time that Nigerians will see the Commander-in-Chief as somebody who will not condone indiscipline and corruption.

“Whatever anybody says about the former Head of State, there is no controversy that he is widely respected for his anti-corruption posture and his penchant for discipline.

“I think what is important is leadership. As it is today, the leadership is unsure of itself. The leadership is uncertain. The Commander-in-Chief must take responsibility for everything. It is not good enough for the Commander-in-Chief to say my enemy did this, my enemy did that.”

On how the APC plans to make a difference in government, Osinbajo said the mismanagement of resources and not lack had been the bane of the country, even as he disagreed that the size of government was weighing the economy down.

“The size of government is not accountable for corruption. What is responsible is stealing and mismanagement of public funds,” Osinbajo said, pointing out that the APC will break away from the routine way of running government, which he alleged has never produced the desired result.

He said a Gen. Buhari administration, if elected, will implement to the letter the APC manifesto as contained in the party’s “Roadmap to a New Nigeria” blueprint.

The APC running-mate listed the contents to include: provision of immediate relief, jobs, quality education, affordable housing, qualitative healthcare services and social welfare for the less-advantaged and the aging.

Osinbajo said the APC will accord security of lives and properties priority, adding that the dearth of equipment in the military and inadequate kitting of the security outfits was unacceptable after the government’s claim that it has invested trillions of Naira in security.

He said the Federal Government got it wrong from the scratch by accusing the opposition of being the promoters of terrorism even without first investigating.

According to him, it will be difficult for any government to win the war against terror without radically addressing unemployment, adding that the devil will always find work for every idle hand.

Osinbajo urged Nigerians to stop seeing Gen. Buhari in a military garb but as a law-abiding Nigerian, whose action will be guided by the rule of law, pointing out that there are marked differences between the military and democratic dispensations.

Osinbajo reminded that it took extra-judicial killings of some former Ghanaian leaders by the then President Jerry Rawlings to return the West African nation to the path of greatness.

He said being on the same ticket with the retired general to serve the country has not in any way compromised his faith as a pastor, his calling as a teacher and his stand as a lawyer.

His words: “As a pastor, I preach in my church on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. And my message is on grace. Even David, an adulterer and murderer received grace from God and he was forgiven.

“That Gen. Buhari made mistakes in the heady days of the military does not mean he is not capable of doing good in a democratic dispensation. Even as a military Head of State, Gen. Buhari stood for discipline and against corruption. These are attributes nobody can take away from him.”

Osinbajo noted that the impunity under the PDP government was unacceptable.

He cited the attack on two High Court judges in Ado-Ekiti by supporters of then PDP governor-elect, the refusal to reinstate the former President of the Appeal Court, Justice Ayo Salami, despite court rulings, and the unilateral stripping of House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal of his privileges as the number three citizen by Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Suleiman Abba, as some of the impunities under the present democratic dispensation.

“Nigeria cannot continue like this. It is unacceptable,” Osinbajo said.

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