Many people do not understand why I have dedicated my soon to be released book ‘The Godfather of Banking’ to President Muhammadu Buhari. First of all, there is no drop of hero worship in that dedication  Secondly, it is not a certification of his war against corruption. Yet it is true that Buhari’s war against corruption, no matter the flaws has emboldened fraud investigators, investigative journalists and whistle blowers. In the public and private sectors, executives are no longer recklessly brazen about robbing with a pen. Despite tough economic condition, the foreign reserve has begun accumulating billions of dollars because the bleeding of Nigerian wealth has atleast slowed. The fury of Nigerians vented daily on social media has provided implacable support for the war. Nigerians may not agree with the president on every issue but those caught in the war against corruption get no pity from the Nigerian people. The war against corruption is one Buhari programme that has resoundingly elicited great Nigerian response. Nigerians have responded with vengeance. If any thing, the want it as justly effective as it can be.
The war against corruption in this democratic setting, goes hand in hand with the freedom of expression and press freedom. It is also a partnership between the government and the people. People need the freedom to speak up. The judicial process needs witnesses. Crimes should be revealed and not covered up. A silent nation is a dead nation. Press freedom and free speech are safeguarded by the constitution and the president, despite his spartan military past has respected these constitutional imperatives, tolerating criticisms and all that has been said about him.
Still intolerance and tyranny roams deep in the hearts of those who should know better. As I prepare to release my book, The Godfather of Banking which is an unauthorised biography of Jim Ovia.  Threats billow like smoke in the darkness. I feel the weight of words unspoken, trying to rob me of my civil rights. I do not need Jim Ovia’s permission to write about Jim Ovia. If I have written stories on Buhari, Danjuma, Babangida, Odili, Amaechi and others without their permission; why can I not write on Ovia? I have the constitutional right to do so – whether in a newspaper, a book or online. Jim Ovia has the right to seek redress in a court, if he feels libelled or defamed. Those (not Ovia) who specialise in blackmarket, underground arm-twisting of writers and journalist must back away from this abuse of the civil rights of writers and journalist.
This brings me to the final reason for dedicating this book to PMB. On behalf of all concerned writers and journalists in this country, I humbly call on Mr. President to rise to our defence and stop the abuse of men of letters by all those whose hearts are filled with intolerance and brutality, pockets filled with the means to buy influence or they simply have the office from which to abuse others. I will send the first copy of The Godfather of Banking to Nigeria’s first citizen. I hope that he will enjoy reading it.
Andy Briggs


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