Olusola Fabiyi, Olalekan Adetayo, and Eniola Akinkuotu
Former President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday boasted that his record of fighting corruption was greater than that of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Jonathan said this in a post on his official Facebook page which was signed on his behalf by one of his aides, Reno Omokri.
The ex-President posted the message in reaction to an allegation by the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, Mr Osita Okechukwu.
Okechwuku had said rather than plug loopholes that allowed for corruption, Jonathan opened them up further, contrary to his speech at the non-elective convention of the Peoples Democratic Party, which held on Saturday.
However, Jonathan said he fought corruption to the extent that Nigeria’s ranking on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index improved.
Jonathan said, “It may surprise Mr Okechukwu and his boss to know that the last time Nigeria made progress on Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index was in 2014 under former President Jonathan when we moved eight places from number 144 to number 136 under Goodluck Jonathan.
“That year marked the most improvement Nigeria has ever made since Transparency International began publishing the annual Corruption Perception Index in 1995.
“Transparency International took note of the Jonathan administration’s e-wallet system that cut out the corruption in Nigeria’s fertiliser procurement system, the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System which weeded out 50,000 ghost-workers from the federal civil service, the cashless policy and the fact that the Jonathan government promptly fired two ministers (Prof. Barth Nnaji and Stella Oduah) mentioned in corruption scandals.”
The ex-President said ever since his exit, Nigeria’s corruption perception in the outside world had not improved.
Jonathan said rather than fight corruption holistically, the Buhari administration had only succeeded in deceiving Nigerians.
He added, “Ever since 2014, Nigeria has not improved in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index ranking and has remained 136 in 2015 and is still 136 on the latest CPI ranking released in 2017.
“In the most recent CPI Transparency International report and I quote ‘some other large African countries have failed to improve their scores on the index. These include South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania and Kenya.’
“If it were true that the Buhari administration was really fighting corruption, why hasn’t Nigeria made progress in the CPI? The answer is because you can deceive some gullible Nigerians but you cannot deceive Transparency International.”
However, the Presidency on Monday said Jonathan handed over an economy ravaged by many years of mismanagement and corruption to President Buhari at the inception of the present administration in May 2015.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this in a statement in Abuja.
Shehu was reacting to a statement credited to Jonathan at the non-elective national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party on Saturday in which he claimed he handed over a robustly healthy economy to Buhari.
He said contrary to Jonathan’s claim, the former President presided over what he called the most monumental and tragic economic mismanagement recorded in Nigeria’s history.
The presidential spokesman said despite that oil price was as high as $120 and there was peace in the Niger Delta under Jonathan, there was nothing to show for the revenues earned.
He alleged that no major capital project was completed under Jonathan.
Rather than carrying out projects, he said Jonathan presided over massive diversion of the nation’s resources.
He said, “Let me start by reasserting an obvious statement, which is that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was handed an economy ravaged by years of mismanagement and corruption.
“It is understandable that Dr Jonathan kept his comments short because a cursory look at any sector clearly indicated that he and his government presided over the most monumental and tragic economic mismanagement recorded in our national history.
“The oil sector boomed under his tenure, with oil prices as high as $120 and peace in the Nigeria Delta. Nigeria earned unprecedented dollar revenues. Sadly, that is where the story turns sour.
“There is nothing to show for the revenues earned, no major capital project was completed, neither power generation, road development, rail or agriculture benefitted from the windfall earnings.
“Rather, the administration presided over the diversion of oil revenues on such a massive scale, that even without the protection now accorded to whistle-blowers, the then Central Bank Governor blew not only a whistle but a trumpet. He was hurriedly shown the door.
“Meanwhile, the acquisition by public officers and their cohorts of private jets, luxury yachts and the accumulation of expensive property portfolios worldwide continued unabated.
“Indeed the President once celebrated having the largest number of private jets, whilst our youths languished without jobs, our fields stood idle and our factories began the lay off of workers.
“Government simply reticulated oil revenue through personal spending by corrupt leaders, wasteful expenses and salaries. This was done rather than investing in what would grow the economy.
“Economies grow due to capital investment in assets like seaports, airports, power plants, railways, roads and housing. Nigeria cannot record a single major infrastructural project in the last 10 years. In short, the money was mismanaged. (Punchng.com)