“In 1998, I saw Buhari. He was then Chairman of the Petroleum Trust Fund and he asked me to see him in Abuja from Kano which is about 450-500 kilometres.
“Upon my arrival, I was lodged at the then NICON NOGA Hotel, the next morning, I joined him in the office at Asokoro over tea. After we had discussed other matters, I gave him the information I had about some dirty business going on in the Finance Department of the PTF. I mentioned names, I gave him details.
“And I told him, ‘Don’t trust me because I understand there are some people you normally trust, out of these beneficiaries, get some of them to investigate.’ Then we parted company and I returned to Kano.
“Three and a half months later, Buhari himself called me over the telephone and said, ‘Mallam doctor, can we see?’ I said yes. The next day, I went to Abuja and found that a hotel accommodation had been booked for me by one Sali Hidjo who ran the African Projects Consortium, the main consultants to the PTF.
“The next day, I went to his (Buhari’s ) office, the first question he asked me was, ‘Mallam doctor, what is your source of information?’ I told him I was not going to let him know my source of information because if I don’t keep my sources private, then I am finished as a public person.
“He kept quiet for a while; then he smiled and told me that everything I told him turned out to be correct. In fact, he said there were certain facts that I didn’t get but which he found out. He said he commissioned some people with accounting backgrounds and some officers of the SSS and gave them the freedom to recruit others to do a forensic audit of the records and the team submitted a report to him. They found that everything I said was the truth and he thanked me.
“Then I asked him, ‘Sir, General, what do you intend to do with these people since the head of the Mafia-he used the word, not me- was a man who was a director of finance in the PTF was the elder brother of a friend of his, a former military governor.
“Buhari said he and the former governor, now late, were friends. He said he (Buhari) he and the former governor had come a long way, that they joined the armed forces around the same time, though in the Air Force. He said they started soldering around the same time; they had been moving around together around the same stations, that they were made (military) governors and sworn in the same day when Murtala (Muhammed) appointed them governors. He was appointed the Governor of the North East and his friend was appointed the governor of North Central state, and they remained close until the man’s sudden death. It was his brother who was the mastermind of this fraud perpetrated under Buhari.
“And I said, “General, what are you going to do with these people?’ He said he summoned the culprit and scolded him blah, blah, blah. He said he also summoned the entire staff of the finance department and addressed them. I asked him, “Is that all?’
“I think he realised that I was not satisfied; he said there was nothing he could do. I said it is not your personal money; it is the money belonging to the Nigerian patrimony, money belonging to all of us. If they have been found to have abused public trust, they should be taken to court and dealt with appropriately. If for whatever reason technical or otherwise, they are found not guilty, they should be allowed to go free, but in this situation, you cannot pretend as if nothing has happened. The way and manner you have handled this matter, I assure you no matter the explanation you will want to give about your personal relationships will not suffice.’
“I was not satisfied; Buhari was not satisfied with my position. I stood up, we shook hands, he walked me to the lift, I entered the lift, then my car and left for Kano.
“I don’t relate to people who don’t take the truth I tell them, and I am not prepared to be associated with a leader who believes that his personal interest can override that of the public. I believe Nigeria is greater than all of us, including the President and if any of my friends believes their personal interests and that of their dubious cronies are greater than the collective interest of Nigeria, we will part ways.”