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Former President Goodluck Jonathan has retorted that corruption in Nigeria is worse under the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari against the claims by the current government that corruption was at its peak while he ( Jonathan) was in government.
The former President had stirred the hornets nest when he stated openly at the non-elective convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held in Abuja on Saturday that his government had better economic policies than the current government of President Buhari.
Jonathan at the event stated further that his government put in place structures that reduced corruption to its barest minimum and that his government left behind a robust economy for the Buhari administration in 2015.
His comments were countered on behalf of the government by Buhari’s former spokesman, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, now the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), who said that rather than plug the loopholes that allowed for corruption, former President Goodluck Jonathan opened them up further.
Okechukwu, speaking for the Buhari administration also said that ex-president Jonathan and his party “railroaded” Nigerians into “abject poverty, food insecurity and deficit infrastructure” via “planlessness and squandermania”.
But the former president in a reaction to the comments by Okechukwu declared that the comments were fallacies, as he insisted that corruption has actually gone worse under the Buhari administration.
This, he said, has been proved with the poor rating Nigeria has been receiving from Transparency International since the APC government came into power.
Reno Omokri, former Special Assistant to President Jonathan on New Media signed the statement on behalf of the former President.
The statement read in part: “Mr. Okechukwu should note that the premier global agency universally recognized to gauge corruption is Transparency International who releases an annual Corruption Perception Index.
“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 fertilizer procurement system, the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) 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 (Professor Barth Nnaji and Stella Oduah) mentioned in corruption scandals.
“Ever since 2014, Nigeria HAS NOT improved in Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perception Index ranking and has remained 136 in 2015 and are still 136 on the latest CPI ranking released in 2017.
“In the most recent CPI Transparency International said 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.
“With a Minister of Transport that admitted to spending $500,000 on a one day dinner for Professor Wole Soyinka in your government, with a suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation who was caught red handed looting funds meant for IDPs and who has not been fired, arrested or prosecuted and with a padded budget scandal that spends borrowed monies on luxuries for favored individuals, you can’t pull the wool over the eyes of Transparency International.
“And when Mr. Okechukwu talks about the economy faring better under this administration, one must wonder if he is also a drunkard like the President’s spokeswoman, Lauretta Onochie.
“I suggest he should go to Wuse Market, Abuja, or Mile 12 Market Lagos or even Rimi Market Kano and say that. If he survives the experience then I will agree with him.
“The fact remains that under the Jonathan administration, CNNMoney projected that our economy was the third fastest growing economy in the world with only China and Qatar ahead of us.
“Did President Jonathan ‘railroad’ CNN Money? Or did he also railroad the former British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who said on October 12, 2012 as follows “Yes, we’ve been hearing about China and India for years …but it’s hard to believe what’s happening in Brazil, in Indonesia, in Nigeria too.”
“The fact remains that under Jonathan, Nigeria experienced unprecedented growth. I leave it to Nigerians to determine what they are experiencing today “.