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Amid an outpouring of commendations on his strides in office, President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, vowed to press ahead with the war against corruption, warning that anyone who steals public funds would surely end in jail.
Buhari also vowed to reciprocate the support Nigerians gave him during his recent health issues by pursuing the interest of all, including a resolution of the herdsmen/farmers clashes.
His assertion at the launch of a compendium of the successes of the administration came as All Progressives Congress, APC, leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, while upholding the positive appraisal of the president, nevertheless affirmed that many Nigerians were yet hungry, jobless and without shelter.
The 360-page book, “Making Steady, Sustainable Progress,” is a report on the achievements of the Buhari administration as articulated by his media team, comprising Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina; Senior Special Assistants on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu and Laolu Akande.
The launch of the book in the Old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa was witnessed by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, governors; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha; Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita; Service chiefs; National chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun; ministers; members of APC National Working Committee, and leaders of Buhari Support Group, among others.
Speaking after the outpouring of commendations by speakers at the function, President Buhari, while thanking his media team for recording the achievements of the administration, said: “We are all aware now that if you steal public funds and you are caught, you will face the law.
“Internationally, Nigeria is now a respected nation. I can’t keep up with invitations to visit other countries much less for other countries leaders that want to visit us. A number of world leaders are expressing the desire to visit Nigeria.
“I cannot thank Nigerians enough for your prayers and goodwill during my health vacation. I can only reply you by resolving to work by putting every ounce of my energy to protect your interest.
“We have gone through your difficult times due to worldwide economic recession. We are coming out of recession, and government efforts are targeted at easing economic hardships.
“I would at the same like to assure all Nigerians of my commitment to improve security, fight corruption and restructure the economy. On the current issues on herdsmen/farmers clashes, kidnapping and armed robberies within the confines of our limited resources, we are giving top priority to security.”
Nigerians are suffering, Tinubu tells president
Tinubu, the keynote speaker, praised the president for reversing many of the negative indicators he said were the pattern of the preceding administration.
Tinubu paid special tribute to the president for successes in upholding security and reversing the rot of corruption he said was the hallmark of the previous administration.
The APC leader, however, drew the attention of the president to the pains in the land, which he said were still pervading. In drawing the president’s attention to the challenges, the APC leader was quick to caution that his words did not mean the existence of a “space” between him and the president, something he said should be taken as fake news.
He said: “While we work towards this good end, we must recognize the situation of millions of our people. Wrongfully denied for so long, they suffer still. But we ask them to take heart. Don’t forfeit hope. Understand that tomorrow will not be as the past when what was built and bought was not intended for you.
“It is time to lead our people to a place where poverty and hunger become infrequent and where prosperity and hope are the daily fare of the common man.
“In addition, more needs to be done to make business and consumer credit available by lowering interest rates. We also must move towards true federalism by the balance of power and responsibility between the federal government and the states. In so doing, we attain the correct balance between our collective purpose on one hand and our separate grassroots realities on the other.
“Through no fault of their own, too many of our people are without. Too many parents cannot properly feed and clothe their precious children, too many young adults exist in the void of joblessness, and too many of us do not have the resources to care for elderly parents who once cared for them. We must cure these wrongs.”
Meanwhile, former President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, said, yesterday, that there was more corruption in the country currently than during his administration.
He was reacting to Tinubu’s that “so much money grew feet and ran away faster than Usain Bolt could” during his (Jonathan’s) administration.
But Jonathan in a statement signed by Reno Omokri, said: “It is a fact that Nigeria made her most improvement in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index In 2014 under President Jonathan when we moved from 144 to 136, representing an improvement of 8 points.
“Transparency International observed the Jonathan administration’s fight against the corruption in Nigeria’s fertilizer procurement regime, the use of technology to remove 50,000 federal ghost workers and the speed at which the then President fired ministers accused of corruption or conflict of interests.
“From that time till today, Nigeria has not made any improvements and has remained at 136 where Jonathan left us because Transparency International deals with facts, not opinions or media trial.
“We do know that it is a fact that the alleged corrupt pension thief, Abdulrasheed Maina, was dismissed and declared wanted by the Jonathan administration.
“We also now know that it is a fact that the present Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, met with Maina in Dubai. We know that Maina’s family revealed in a press conference that Maina was invited back to Nigeria by the present government.
“It is also a fact that Maina was recalled, reinstated and given double promotion by the current administration. Moreover, we know from the Head of Service’s leaked memo that President Muhammadu Buhari was aware of this entire saga.”
“Perhaps Asiwaju Bola Tinubu mistook the Usain Bolt speed at which Maina was smuggled back into the country and reinstated for the unproven claims of corruption under Jonathan.
“We also know that it is a fact that $25 billion worth of contracts were awarded at the NNPC without due process.
“It is also a fact that this is the highest ever such amount involved in Nigeria’s history. Again, perhaps, it is this amount that Tinubu meant when he said “So much money grew feet and ran away faster than Usain Bolt ever could”. Or perhaps he was referring to Babachir Lawal.
Nigerians should note that on the 7th of March 2014, then President Jonathan said “I am loyal to Nigeria’s economy. I don’t have accounts or property abroad.
Till date, nobody has been able to contradict that statement because it is true. Can Bola Tinubu or anybody in the APC leadership make a similar claim?
“On the issue of Boko Haram and terrorism, it is a fact that there is only one global body recognized to monitor terrorism and that is the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) which releases the annual Global Terrorism Index.
“It is a fact that between 2013 and 2014, Nigeria under President Jonathan was unfortunately listed as the fourth most terrorized nation in the world.
However, in the latest Global Terrorism Index released yesterday (November 15, 2017) by the Institute for Economics and Peace, Nigeria has deteriorated from where Jonathan left it and is now the third most terrorized nation.
“In 2015, President Jonathan ensured that elections held in every local government in Borno states, but last month, the United Nations declared that they could no longer operate in certain local governments of Borno state. So who is fooling who?
“So if according to Transparency International, Nigeria was less corrupt under Jonathan than it is today and according to the Institute for Economics and Peace, Nigeria is more terrorized today than it was under Jonathan, it becomes clear that Bola Tinubu has no factual basis to make the claims he made.”