President Muhammadu Buhari has said he will not hesitate to prosecute party loyalists and those who supported his Presidency bid during the 2015 presidential election if any of them was involved in corrupt practices. He also said that some unnamed persons pressurised him to contest the 2015 presidential election which he won.
He said the pressure mounted on him was too enormous that he could not resist it.
Buhari spoke in an interview he granted a magazine, The Interview.
Buhari, while faulting claims that he had been sparing those who sponsored his campaigns and members of his All Progressives Congress in his ongoing anti-corruption war, said he would come down hard on any of his backers that cases of corruption could be established against.
The President said, “Do you just grab people along the road and take them off to court for trial just because you want to create a semblance of balance?
“First, there has to be an accusation which must be properly investigated, and when a prima facie case has been built, you prosecute.
“If any of my backers or party (APC) members has anything established against them, let’s see whether I will shield anyone from prosecution.
“There seems to be a preponderance of the People Democratic Party members standing trial because they had been in power for 16 years, they had access to the public treasury and abused the trust reposed in them.
“You can be assured that anybody caught in corruption will answer for it irrespective of party, tribe or religion.”
He said those who pressurised him did so because of their belief that he was in good stead to rescue the nation which he said was falling apart at the time.
He said, “You will recall that shortly before the 2011 presidential election, I had said it was the last time I would offer myself for elective position and I meant it, but the following years, we saw our country virtually falling apart on all fronts.
“People felt a rescue exercise was necessary and a large number believed I could do it.
“They made overtures to me and the pressure was so enormous that I could not say no. As they say, the rest is history. “
Responding to criticism that his administration had been slow, Buhari said there was no wisdom in rushing things.
He said anybody who rushed things would end up with avoidable mistakes and regrets.
“There is still a lot of wisdom in the saying, ‘slow and steady wins the race.’
“If they say we are slow, do they also say we are steady?
“Then, it means we will win the race eventually.
“There is no wisdom in being in a rush and messing up everything. You will make avoidable mistakes and end up with a lot of regrets,” he said.
Buhari also said he would wait for the advice of the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), on whether to prosecute those who voluntarily returned looted funds or not.
“We will note the recommendation of the Attorney General of the Federation. We do not want to deliberately disgrace people. All we want is public money back,” he explained.
The President also justified his allocation of three ministries to the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), saying the man did well as Lagos State governor.
“The economic realities demanded that we merge ministries and we did.
“Putting three critical ministries under one man was determined by the ability to perform.
“This is a man who had ruled a state excellently for eight years and as they say, the reward for hard work is more work,” he said.