For the past two and a half years, former President Goodluck Jonathan has maintained that his administration fought corruption like no other government before it, which is why in 2014, Nigeria made her best ever improvement on the annual Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, moving from 144 the previous year, to 136, an 8 point improvement.
Transparency had taken note of the total elimination of the corruption in the fertilizer procurement scheme via the e-wallet initiative of the Jonathan administration which cut out the middle man and thus saved the nation over ₦200 billion.
Transparency International also took cognizance of the introduction of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) which weeded out 50,000 ghost workers from the federal civil service between 2011 and 2015, saving the Federal Government over $1 billion annually.
But perhaps most significant in the progress made in the anti corruption war under former President Jonathan was the political will that the then Nigerian leader had to fight the scourge.
It was noted that Dr. Jonathan speedily investigated and fired his ministers and aides who were accused of corruption or conflict of interests. That administration also dismissed the alleged and very notorious pension thief, Abdulrasheed Maina, from service.
Having made such significant progress in improving Nigeria’s anti-corruption rating, it is very disappointing that in the latest Corruption Perception Index released by Transparency International today, Nigeria has relapsed deeper into corruption and has moved 12 steps backwards from 136 to 148.
We consequently advise that timely efforts should be made to stem the free fall of Nigeria into the abyss of corruption. Let us retrace our steps and refrain from showy media trials while little or nothing is done on the legal front.
Let us also respect the judiciary and not hound or intimidate them in an attempt to cow them into giving favourable judgments against perceived political opponents.
Let us call a spade a spade and conduct a true anti corruption war rather than an anti opposition war.
The days of hand cuffs for the opposition and hand outs for the cronies of the government must be put behind us.
Allegations like the $25 billion NNPC contracts awarded without due process or the dubious ₦1.1 billion budgeted to clean the office of the National Security Adviser must be investigated and not swept under the table.
Nigeria belongs to all of us and we cannot watch it sink into the abyss without raising flags. This is a patriotic duty and we call on all Nigerians to rally together to confront the monster of corruption.
Finally, this latest evidence from Transparency International has made a mockery of the African Union’s gesture of making President Muhammadu Buhari it’s anti corruption champion. By this action, the AU now appears to be supporting corruption by making a man under whom corruption has increased its anti corruption icon.
It does not help that in recent years, Nigeria has refused to obey valid court judgments in Nigeria and beyond Nigeria. It is to the great embarrassment of Nigeria that we who used to be the pillar of the ECOWAS sub region are now routinely cited for flouting judgments of the ECOWAS court. That ought not to be. That ought not to be at all.
Number One Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years, Chibok, 2015 and the Conspiracies.