National leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, yesterday, took the immediate administration headed by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to the cleaner.
According to him, the former president got a red card in governance but won a gold medal in corruption.
However, Jonathan dismissed the claim that corruption was elevated to a gold medal status under his administration, as insisted that happenings in the last two years have shown that the incumbent administration has taken corruption to a frightening level.
Tinubu alleged that under the former president, so much money grew feet and ran faster than Jamaican runner, Usain Bolt.
This is as President Muhammadu Buhari said his administration had demonstrated its intolerance for corruption, warning that any public official caught will face the full wrath of the law.
According to him, Nigeria has now regained international respect as a result of its fight against corruption, with a lot of leaders now indicating interest to visit on monthly basis.
The duo spoke at the presentation of a book: “Making steady, sustainable progressive for Nigeria’s peace and prosperity: A mid-term scorecard on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration,” packaged by the presidential media team, at the State House Conference Centre, Abuja.
According to Tinubu, “the prior (Jonathan’s) government used the public treasury as a private hedge fund or a charity that limited its giving only to themselves.
“So much money grew feet and ran away faster than Usain Bolt ever could. That which could have been spent on national development was squandered in ways that would cause the devil to blush.
“One minister and her rogues’ gallery picked the pocket of this nation for billions of dollars. While poor at governance, these people could give a master thief lessons in the sleight of hand. In governance, they earned a red card but in corruption, they won the gold medal.
“It was not that our institutions had become infected by corruption.Corruption has become institutionalised.”
The former Lagos State governor said though the war on corruption has not been won, President Buhari has set an axe to what he called, “the root of this dangerous tree.”
He noted that gone were the days when a minister could pilfer billions of dollars as easily as plucking a piece of candy from the table.
“We have much to do to combat this disease. Not only must we track down the takers. In the long term, we must review the salaries of public servants and create universal credits for our people to reduce temptation.”
This is even as he said if Jonathan had remained in power, Boko Haram would have taken more territory and devoured more people.
“This nation might have been divided and cut asunder, not by choice but by the knife of terrorism.”
He said though Boko Haram has not been completely defeated, it has been decimated and made shorter and weaker.
“They shall never constitute the threat they once were,” he noted.
Tinubu also advised that Nigeria must urgently move towards true federalism, adding that it could not grow without robust industrial capacity.
He noted that the Buhari administration has changed the story of Nigeria for good in the last two years.
Jonathan in a statement by his former special assistant on New Media, Reno Omokri urged Tinubu to look at the verdict of the Transparency International on the state of corruption when the government was under his watch.
The statement read: “First of all, the only global body for monitoring corruption is Transparency International which releases an annual Corruption Perception Index.
“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 eight points.
“Transparency International observed the Jonathan administration’s fight against 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.”
Jonathan added: “Other than media sensationalism, there have been no convictions of financial misappropriation stemming from the Jonathan era.
“However, we do know that it is a fact that the allegedly 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?
Meanwhile, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called for stronger synergy among poor countries in Africa to effectively combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
Speaking at the 28th plenary meeting of the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA) in Abuja, Dogara, said due to the lack of effective international cooperation and collaboration, criminals have globalised their activities, connecting across the globe seamlessly while the enforcers of the laws were hampered in no small measure.
He assured on the National Assembly and Nigeria’s readiness to fully comply with the global standards required of her by demonstrating political support to the relevant authorities in the country to deepen the anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism culture in Nigeria.
Dogara also stressed that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was wholly focused and effectively poised to deal with the issues of corruption, money laundering, insecurity and terrorism.
“There must be synergy between the impoverished countries where monies may have been stolen and laundered from and countries considered as safe havens where these proceeds of crime are kept. As stated earlier, the fibres of international cooperation must be strengthened if we must win the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
“Nigeria is fully committed to complying with the global standards required of her by demonstrating political support to the relevant competent authorities in Country so as to deepen the anti -money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) culture in Nigeria.”
“The National Assembly will, when called upon for any legislative intervention to bring our system in tandem with global realities and requirements, do so with
“During the year, it was my great pleasure to secure the release of 102 Chibok schoolgirls. We are doing our best quietly and effectively as possible to get the rest released.
“We are working day and night with our international partners to release the remaining girls as soon as possible, as well as women and children still on captivity.”
Chairman of APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun said the scorecard of the administration was spirit lifting and great morale booster for the party and the nation.
“This is rock-solid evidence not newspaper induced achievement that used to be the case…There is so much going on today, there is serious process of reconstruction and consolidation. What is going on must get to a stage that it is not irreversible. Irreversibility means consistency, continuity of policies and leadership. All these can all mature with time and with somebody who truly believes in consistency.”
The Sokoto Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, who spoke on behalf of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) commended Buhari for being a leader devoid of party leanings.
He said he demonstrated that with the directive that the security aides of the Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, be restored.
Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the book was a demonstration of the fact that the change agents of this administration have been working.
Nigeria has undergone change including improved security, fight against corruption, to the extent that even the opposition agrees there is steady improvement of security in the northeast.
“The publication is not just a book but a practicable guides that the administration has made to redeem the campaign promises.
“This administration has done everything possible to put Nigeria on the trajectory of greatness.”