It is interesting that this is happening. The mass media are awash with reports that the out-gone Jonathan administration had ordered some contractors that handled and are still handling the remodelling of airports across the country, to return the funds paid to them for that purpose. The government claimed that some of the contractors had nothing to show for the mobilisation and other contract funds that they had already collected. They accused the contractors of poor quality work, where it was done at all. Before he left to participate in the gubernatorial election, the supervising minister, who is now the Benue State governor, Chief Samuel Ortom, had alleged that the former minister of aviation, Princess Stella Oduah, had left behind N174billion as debt.
The only reason one can adduce for this volte-face on the part of the Jonathan administration as it made its exit is the fear of Muhammadu Buhari, who has vowed to fight corruption to a halt. Otherwise, it is curious to imagine that it was in the evening of his administration that the former president suddenly realised that most of the contractors were fake. Perhaps the idea is for the administration to later claim that it initiated the process of recovery before it ran out of time. But Nigerians are no fools. It will never be enough for the administration to rely on sanctimonious intent at saving whatever was left of its integrity.
In the light of this, we empathise with the Buhari administration, because there is a lot of work to be done to cleanse the stench brought about by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government for the years it was in office. Nigerians would want to know who these contractors really are. Most of them, to all intents and purposes, are politicians or fronts for politicians, who are also party financiers. We are talking about billions here! That is the kind of money that appeals to the bigwigs that controlled the machinery of government then. Therefore, it is safe the conjecture that most of the mobilisation funds may have gone into financing the just concluded elections and may not be recoverable. But the admission by that administration that money exchanged hands in the first place is a good starting point in the effort to recover the monies.
What this administration needs to do is to get hold of the contractors and they will tell the rest of the story. In our opinion, that should not constitute a problem, if the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is up to it. The monies must be recovered in full in cases where it is proved that the work done is not commensurate with the money paid. The fight must not end with recovering the money; those involved must be punished to serve as a notice of warning to others that there is always a day of reckoning.