The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said the country’s poor rating by Transparency International in its 2012 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has shown as an empty boast the Jonathan presidency’s claim that corruption has gone down under its watch.
In a statement issued in Ilorin yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party expressed concern at the negative impact that runaway corruption was having on the country’s economy as well as the image of the country. It said if left unchecked, corruption was capable of bringing Nigeria down, even ahead of the slow intensity warfare and general insecurity in the country.
ACN said the “harvest of corruption scandals’’ that had dogged the Jonathan Administration was probably unprecedented in the country’s history and that this had been attested to by the global anti-corruption body in its latest CPI. “Sadly, despite the Presidency’s self-delusion, Nigeria remains among the most corrupt nations on earth.
“According to the latest CPI, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and one of the continent’s biggest economies was not listed among the top 35 least corrupt nations in Africa, even when it was ranked the 35th most corrupt nations in the world. “It is also instructive that Liberia and Sierra Leone, which Nigeria helped to liberate from the throes of war are now doing much better in fighting corruption than the country (Nigeria), just like much smaller and less-endowed nations like Niger, Gambia, Burkina Faso and Mali are better rated,’’ the party said.
It blamed Nigeria’s precarious position in the global anti-corruption battle on the fact that the Jonathan Administration had not only become corruption scandal-prone, it had also allowed impunity to thrive by paying only lip service to probing the scandals and bringing perpetrators to book.
‘’The massive oil subsidy scam, the Malabu oil scandal, the pension scam and now the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting N2.1 billion scam are just a few of the corruption scandals that have dogged the Jonathan administration. In all of these and more, the administration has shown an amazing lack of political will in investigating the scams and prosecuting perpetrators.
“Worst still, key administrative officials have shown from their careless comments that they either do not understand what it means to fight corruption or they are just trivialising it. One of such is the Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was quoted as saying that Nigerians were unable to get petroleum products without stress because they demanded transparency and accountability in the oil sector.
“What the minister is saying, in essence is that uninterrupted fuel supply as well as probity and accountability cannot go hand in hand, that Nigerians must choose between enjoying an abundant fuel supply riddled with corruption and a well-managed, corruption-free oil sector. “In saner climes and with an administration that is committed to fighting corruption, such a minister will be long gone,’’ ACN said.
The party said amidst the glaring evidence of worsening corruption in Nigeria, President Jonathan had continued to talk and act as if the country was in fact corruption-free, wondering what was responsible for the wide gulf between the President’s perception and the reality on the ground.
‘’President Jonathan must wake from his slumber and face the reality that corruption is fast eating deep into the soul of Nigeria, having already decimated the body. He must stop playing the ostrich and lead the way in the fight against corruption before it consumes the country,’’ ACN said.