FORMER President Goodluck Jonathan urged the All Progressive Congress (APC)-led ruling party to stick to the facts, while asserting that Nigeria has not fared better on the Transparency International annual Corruption Perception Index than under his administration.
Jonathan said this while reacting to criticism by All Progressive Congress (APC) politicians of his claim that his administration made giant development strides while in office, in a statement on his verified Facebook account, written on his behalf by his former Special Assistant on New Media, Reno Omokri.
The former President made the assertion on Saturday during the non-elective national convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), drawing reactions from APC chieftains including the Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Osita Okechukwu, who alleged that Jonathan railroaded Nigeria into “abject poverty, food insecurity and deficit infrastructure” via “planlessness and squandermania” contrary to what he said at the convention.
The statement said: “I would advise Mr Okechukwu to stick to facts.
“Mr Okechukwu should note that the premier global agency universally recognised to gauge corruption is transparency International who release 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 fertiliser 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.”
The statement alleged that a serving minister admitted to spending $500,000 on a one day dinner while a suspended high ranking government official was indicted for looting funds meant for IDPs.
The statement said the official has not been fired, arrested or prosecuted, adding that “with a padded budget scandal that spends borrowed monies on luxuries for favoured individuals, you can’t pull the wool over the eyes of Transparency International.”
It said in order to test his claim that the economy was doing well under the present administration, “I suggest he (Okechukwu) 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.”