Abuja — The Presidency said yesterday that the current rating of the Transparency International was not the fault of the present administration but due to decades of endemic corruption in our polity.
Faulting claim by the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, which placed the blame for rating of Nigeria as the 35th most corrupt nation, at the door step of the President Goodluck Jonathan's administration, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe said such claim "is preposterous and lacking in credibility, and can only be best described as pure political mischief.
He said, "Lai Mohammed knows they, in the Action Congress, live in glass houses and should not throw stones because his party is home to some of the most notoriously corrupt Nigerians ever. He should not throw stones just to score cheap political points. His party has no moral leg it can stand to pontificate about corruption.
According to Okupe, "Nigerians are not fools and cannot be fooled for too long that there is endemic corruption within the rank and file of his party. It is an undeniable fact that corruption is a major challenge to the nation and its people, and everyone agrees it is endemic and has been with us for over three decades.
"Few days ago we spelt out details of commendable efforts of this administration in fighting corruption and also confirming the demonstrable political will of this administration to take up this onerous challenge.
Critics of this administration appear to be deliberately undiscerning, confusing incidences of corrupt practices unraveled by this administration and legal steps being taken by the administration as being corrupt practice of the same administration.
Part of this mischief and attempt to bring opprobrium on this administration was the assertion by President of the Campaign for Democracy, CD, Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin. She said N5 trillion was stolen under Jonathan, and that "the non-implementation of the Farouk Lawan report as well as the Nuhu Ribadu Presidential Task Force findings has completely killed the fight against corruption in Nigeria."
The above calls to question her respect for facts because it is a fact that the Lawan report has been handed over to the EFCC, and there are ongoing prosecution deriving from this, while the President just set up a White Paper committee on the Ribadu report. How do you implement a report without a white Paper?.
We reiterate that the conclusion that N5 trillion was stolen under President's Jonathan's watch is gross misinformation and absolute falsehood. Nowhere in the Ribadu was that conclusion reached. It never happened, and it is wholesomely untrue.
"We want to state categorically, for the umpteenth time that it was this administration that exposed the oil subsidy scam, pension scam, and also set up the Nuhu Ribadu committee to look into the rot in the oil sector.
"We must state that the fight against corruption is not a short boxing bout, but a long fight that will be systemic, strategic and institutional. The role of the judiciary in bringing culprits to justice cannot be underestimated in the war against corruption.
No matter the Federal Government's commitment , the President has no power to jail any suspect by presidential fiat. Therefore he should not be made a scape goat for the failure of other arms of government who fail to judiciously discharge their responsibilities.
It is also not true that lack of funding is stalling the fight as concluded by Chairman, Coalition Against Corruption, Debo Adeniran. We must not forget what the EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Lamorde said recently about how judges and lawyers stall trials of high profile suspects. The two trials of James Ibori in Nigeria and the United Kingdom fully underscore this point.
"The Federal Government, mindful of this judicial stumbling block, has put together a bill to reform the criminal justice system, so that justice will no longer be evaded through sundry abuses of court processes.
"We assure Nigerians that in spite of the persistent and perplexing mischief of deceitful politicians, and some unpatriotic Nigerians who never sees good in whatever government does, the administration will continue its unrelenting fight to rid our society of this menace.
This is a war the President has set for himself and he has demonstrated the will and capability to prosecute same.