The National Peace Committee for the 2015 General Elections headed by former Head of State, Lt. Gen. Abdusalami Abubakar (retired) denied insinuations in the media that former president, Goodluck Jonathan had reported his successor; President Muhammadu Buhari to it over the latter’s ongoing war against corruption.
The Committee however said the war against corruption should be fought in a fair manner since the country is no longer under military rule.
There have been speculations that the former President who met with his successor may have reported Buhari to the Committee which played a crucial role in ensuring that he accepted the result of the 2015 presidential election over alleged witch-hunting of officials of his administration in the ongoing war against graft.
The speculation further gained currency with late night meetings of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Jonathan himself with Buhari last week.
The speculation was that the visits to Buhari was designed to appeal to him to give soft landing to Jonathan’s officials currently under the searchlight of the anti graft agencies.
But Catholic Bishop of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, a member of the Committee who spoke with State House correspondents at the end of the closed-door meeting held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday said the former President has not sought the intervention of the Committee to stop the probe of his administration.
“Anybody is free to come to our committee but President Jonathan never by telephone or used another means talk to the committee. We went to see him, but that is after we had already seen members of the political parties, members of the civil society, we planned to see the speaker because we couldn’t see him yesterday (Monday).
“This is a very planned series of intervention essentially just to hear out everybody and I think the good news is that Nigerians are committed to a new nation, they are committed to ensuring that the gains and blessings God has given us come to fruition,” said Kukah.
He added that the meeting of the Committee with the President was part of the confidence building process following the coming into office of a new administration after the election.
“We need to reaffirm that this is our country and the only thing we can collectively be opposed to is injustice, iniquity, corruption and in that regard we all had one single conversation,” said Kukah who added that the President and the international community has asked the committee to continue the work its began in the run up to the 2015 elections.
“Essentially, we are not policing, but when the need arises, help to build confidence and in the process,” he added.
On the anti corruption campaign of the Buhari administration, the Catholic Archbishop said all Nigerians, including President Jonathan and members of his party are in support of it, so it is not heating up the polity.
He added that his committee is concerned about the fairness of the process.
“In our conversation with President Jonathan and members of the parties, I don’t think any Nigerian is in favour of corruption or is against the President’s commitment to ensuring that we turn a new leaf. I think what we are concerned about is the process.
“It is no longer a military regime and under our existing laws, everybody is innocent until proven guilty.
“Again, our own commitment is not to intimidate or fight anybody, the former President’s commitment and what he did still remains spectacular and I think that President Buhari himself appreciates that. So, our effort really is to make sure that the right thing is done.”
Apart from convincing Jonathan to accept result of the 2015 presidential elections, the Committee also organized a platform for Buhari and Jonathan to sign peace pacts ahead of the March 28 presidential elections.
Apart from Abubabakar, Buhari and Kukah, others who attended the meeting include the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’Ad Abubakar III; the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor; Primate of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Most Revd. Nicholas Okoh; Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Cardinal John Onaiyekan; a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mrs. Priscilla Kuye; Publisher of the Vanguard Newspapers, Chief Sam Amuka Pemu; National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and Senator Ben Obi former presidential adviser, among others.