Following the release of Transparency International (TI) corruption index which sees Nigeria plunging further behind in ranking, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) government is swimming in corruption as the phenomenon has become worse than ever before.
National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus, made the observation at the opening of the meeting of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the party at its national secretariat in Abuja yesterday, saying that the APC no longer has the moral right to challenge PDP.
He alleged that government is using anti-graft agencies against only the opposition.
Beyond corruption, the party boss observed that hunger and poverty had skyrocketed and he, therefore, urged party leaders to speak out and save the country.
He said: “Transparency International, an international organisation, has given a verdict on this nation that corruption has multiplied to an unimaginable level.
“The government of APC is so corrupt that Transparency International has given verdict and that is the true situation of our country.
“They talk about corruption but their anti-corruption agencies are set only against the opposition. Meanwhile, the APC government is swimming in corruption. We are aware. At the appropriate time, we will give details.”
Secondus added: “Corruption, poverty, hunger is worse now than ever before. Who are they to challenge the PDP? They don’t have the moral right to challenge us because corruption is now worse than ever before
“Propaganda is not going to help. The facts will speak for itself. So, stop deceiving the people of Nigeria. APC government is more corrupt than ever before in the history of our nation. It’s worse now than ever.
“So, what are you hiding? Is it the money you are paying out without appropriation, the subsidy in billions that came to Nigeria from LNG, one billion US dollars? Is it the corruption in NNPC, is it Mainagate? Corruption is everywhere.
“At the appropriate time we will come out to show Nigerians who is corrupt and who is not corrupt.”
The party boss praised the National Assembly for passing a bill rearranging the order of election, calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to sign it into law.
While wondering why anyone would be bothered by the change, he said the law was made by the nation’s lawmakers empowered to make laws in the interest of the country.
Secondus also alleged that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was planning to rig the 2019 election, citing the underage registration in some states.
He vowed that the PDP will resist rigging in 2019 with all its strength.
He announced that the party is ready to commence the biometric online registration of members across the country.
Similarly, he revealed that the party had instituted a new reward system whereby unless a member delivers his ward, he may not get recognition in the party.
Earlier in his address, chairman of the BoT, Senator Walid Jibrin, commended members for their steadfastness despite many challenges that had befallen the party.
He praised former Senate President David Mark for heading a committee which had successfully reconciled aggrieved members of the party’s BoT.
Among party leaders present at the meet are former chairman of the PDP National Caretaker Committee, Ahmed Makarfi; Umaru Tsauri, David Mark, Ayim Pius Ayim, Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu, Ibrahim Mantu, Ibrahim Shema, Inna Ciroma, Sule Lamido, Emeka Ihedioha, Kema Chikwe, Biodun Olujimi, Tom Ikimi, Tanimu Turaki, Vincent Oguluafor, Abiola Oyedokun, Ben Obi and Fidelia Njeze.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the latest report by Transparency International (TI) showing that corruption has worsened under the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has vindicated its stand that the current All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government was inherently and overtly corrupt.
The party said, by this new TI report, the African Union (AU) must have now realized its error in naming Buhari as the African Union (AU) anti-corruption champion, and should immediately withdraw the conferment.
In a statement, PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, said the TI report has exposed the fact that those parading daily as champions of anti-corruption are rather superintending over the worst kind of official sleaze and hypocrisy in the history of Nigeria.
The party said the APC administration has been deceiving Nigerians with a ‘holier than thou posturing’ and painting others black when it is swimming in forms of corruption that are eminently festered by official concealment by the Presidency.
According to the statement, “When the PDP first alerted that the APC and its incompetent Federal Government were swimming in an ocean of concealed corruption, many did not know to what extent.
“It is shocking that under our ‘saints’, Nigeria has moved significantly from the 136th it ranked in 2016 to 146th in 2017, with President Buhari presiding on our nation.
“This is a government that has been providing cover for its corrupt officials while operating heavily on propaganda, persecution of opposition members with fabricated charges and toiling to sway the people with false performance indices.
“This is a government that offered protection to former APC governors who were accused of stealing money meant for the development of their states to fund the 2015 APC presidential campaign, and even rewarded them with ministerial appointments.
“We challenge the APC and the Presidency to speak out on this TI report. What have they to say when the world is now aware that they are complicit in humongous sleazes including the leaked official memo showing underhand oil contracts to the tune of N9trillion ($25billion) at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Petroleum Resources which are under purview of President Buhari as Petroleum minister?
“What has the APC government to say when the world is aware that it is complicit in shady oil subsidy deals amounting to trillions of naira by its cabal who has also been fingered to be behind the illegal lifting and diversion of crude worth N1.1trillion to service APC interests?
“The world is now aware of the diversion of billions of naira meant for fight against insurgency and rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) by the presidency cabal; the concealment of theft, by the cabal, of billions of naira at the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) among other heavy sleazes around the Presidency.
“As we speak, the APC administration has increased taxes, levies and tariffs without a transparent remitting regime while funds said to have been recovered in the anti-graft war have not been adequately accounted for.
“Instead, the government has been peddling false figures and bogus claims to hoodwink Nigerians while its cabal continues to fritter away funds meant for the good of the people,” the statement concluded.
Similary, 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. Reno Omokri Number One Bestselling author of Facts Versus Fiction: The True Story of the Jonathan Years, Chibok, 2015 and the Conspiracies.
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Chairman of the Rivers State Government Interministarial Committee on COVID-19 Enlightenment, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has charged Volunteers on COVID-19 Mobile Enlightenment to see themselves as persons recruited to save the lives of people in the State.
Giving the charge on Wednesday, during the inauguration of the Team at the State Secretariat Complex, the Chairman charged the members to view their responsibility in the same spirit as the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, which, he said, is to save lives.
The Chairman, who is also the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, stated that just as the Governor’s primary goal this season is to save lives, they should see their awareness creation on coronavirus as their own contribution to save lives in the State.
“You’re part of the team that will be saving lives, and I pray that God Almighty will help all of you to discharge this duty creditably.
“All of you have been carefully chosen to carry out enlightenment and sensitisation for our State. The task before you is enormous.
“As a State we are recording new cases of coronavirus and the only alternative left for us now is to move from street to street to pass prevention messages to our people.
“You need to let the people know that the virus is with us and that they must practice social distancing, wearing of face mask and maintenance of personal hygiene,” he said.
Nsirim advised that people who have the symptoms of the virus which include dry cough, high temperature, loss of taste, body weakness and difficulty in breathing should seek medical attention.
According to him, people should not be afraid of the symptoms of the disease because it is not a death sentence.
“Our Governor has shown the right leadership. In fact, there’s no State in this country where a Governor has spearheaded the fight against coronavirus like our Governor has done.
“Our Governor has committed his time and resources of the state to make sure that Rivers State,” he added.
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