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.
Catholic Bishops Vow To Work For Credible Polls In 2023
Bishops of the Catholic Archdiocese of Abuja have pledged to work with relevant stakeholders to ensure free, credible and transparent general elections in 2023.
The commitment is contained in a communiqué jointly signed by Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, the Archbishop of Abuja and Very Rev. Fr. Sam Tumba, after the 3rd General assembly of the Archdiocese.
In the communique issued on Saturday in Abuja, the bishops enjoined Parishes, families, Church societies and groups to dedicate special moments to pray for a hitch-free election.
“We call on Catholics and indeed all Nigerian citizens to be consciously and actively involved in the electoral processes at all levels.
“Voter registration, collection of Permanent Voters Card, casting votes on election days with a firm and clear conscience to elect credible leaders who will bring about the true dividends of democracy”, they said.
The bishops commended President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Electoral Act into law to enhance the sanctity of the electoral process.
“We task the Independent National Electoral Commission to ensure political fairness and transparency, to consolidate the trust reposed in them by Nigerians.
“Parishes and Catholic institutions within our Archdiocese are encouraged to arrange and organize voter awareness programmes, seminars and workshops guided by the Justice, Development and Peace Commission, to better equip our people for greater political responsibility.
“We remain open and willing to collaborate with relevant government agencies, electoral bodies and security operatives to ensure peaceful and credible election processes in the coming year,” the communique added.
The bishops cautioned politicians not to regard the election as a ‘do or die’ affair, adding that they must also refrain from money politics, manipulative and divisive practices along ethnic, social and religious lines to win elections.
“Even though we decry the hard economic situations in the nation, we strongly discourage all Catholics and especially our youths from lending themselves as easy recruits for political thuggery and other criminal activities to enthrone selfish and incompetent aspirants into electoral offices.
“We discourage and condemn any form of vote buying or selling and other electoral malpractices during the elections,” the bishops said.
The bishops advised catholic politicians from all political parties within the Archdiocese to participate in Church activities, so as to be better known by the faithful.
They called on all people of goodwill to cooperate with security agencies to root out criminal elements within communities.
The bishops, however, urged security agents to remain professional in discharging their duties and resist any attempt to be used to intimidate the people by corrupt politicians.
The communique called on Catholics across the country to match work with prayer, for peaceful electioneering process.
They called for sustained prayers for the country, adding: “Nigerians should take courage and be of ardent hope, for the storms will soon be over.”
Take 2023 Elections Seriously, Wike Tasks Rivers People
The Rivers State Chief Executive, Chief Nyesom Wike, has urged Nigerians to take the upcoming 2023 General Election seriously by securing their Permanent Voter’s Cards (PVCs) and using it wisely and prayerfully.
Wike stated this during the Inter-Denominational Church Service in commemoration of the 62nd Independence Day Anniversary of Nigeria, at St. Paul’s Cathedral Church, Diobu in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, the governor said he believes God would use the 2023 elections to grant the pleas of Nigerians for a rebirth of a new nation.
“Nigeria must rise again, it must fulfil its divine purpose for which God has put it together, Nigeria has a prophetic agenda, whether the devil likes it or not. We must have the confidence that our votes will count and that we will use our votes to bring in the leaders after the heart of God”, the governor said.
Wike said under his watch, the state government has been resolute and consistent in providing the dividends of democracy to the people living and doing business in the state.
“We have seen it, in the massive improvement in security.We have seen it in social and physical infrastructure.What will you say, when public tertiary institutions have been on strike for the past seven months, and some of the students are being killed, some are roaming about, some are going into crime, while others are abusing drugs and going mental, but in Rivers State, all the state institutions are functioning none-stop, and salaries are paid as at when due and lecturers are teaching the way they should”, Wike further stressed.
The state chief executive expressed gratitude to the Almighty God for the 62nd Independence anniversary of the country and for keeping the nation as one in spite of all the security and economic challenges, adding that “God in His infinite mercy has kept us together as a people, what seems impossible with men, is possible with God”.
In his sermon drawn from Matthew Chapter 7: 7-12, Bishop Diocese of Niger Delta North,St. Paul’s Cathedral Church, Diobu, Port Harcourt, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Ihunwo, said “if Nigeria must go forward, we must obey the golden rule”.
He said,”We must not give up on Nigeria; no matter the challenges, God would make the nation great again, but it behooves on us to pray and do the right things at all times”.
A schedule of activities released by the state government shows that on Friday, September 30, 2022, a Jumma’at Prayer would be held at the JIBWIS Directorate Headquarters, Central Mosque, 36 Bonny Street, Port Harcourt Township, at 1:00pm.
According to the programme, signed by the Permanent Secretary, Special Services Bureau, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Sir George Nwaeke, the grand finale would hold on Saturday, October 1, 2022, with a parade ceremony/march-past at Sharks Football Stadium, Port Harcourt by 10:00am.
The statement said that the state Governor, Chief NyesomWike, would preside over the activities at the grand finale on Saturday.
Buhari Launches INFF In New York
President Muhammadu Buhari has restated the commitment of his administration to the achievement of inclusive, broad-based and sustainable development.
The President spoke while delivering his keynote address at strategic High Level Event held on the sidelines of the 77th session of United Nations General Assembly in New York to launch Nigeria’s Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) for Sustainable Development.
The President noted that Nigeria adopted the INFF as a tool to improve the financing of SDGs without increasing public debt and contingent liabilities to levels that will be detrimental to economic sustainability.
He commended the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals; and the United Nation Development Programme for working together to develop Nigeria’s INFF in a process which started in 2020.
“Today’s event marks the end of a long process which began in 2020, when the Steering Committee and the Core Working Group on Nigeria’s Integrated National Financing Framework were inaugurated.
“The Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) has been developed to map out a much-needed sustainable financing plan for Nigeria to deliver on our commitment to the SDGs and our National Development aspirations,” the President said.
He further noted that as part of its commitment to sustainable and inclusive development, his administration aligned its 2017-2020 Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP); the 2020 Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP); the 2021 National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS); and the 2021-2025 National Development Plan (NDP) with the SDGs.
“It is in line with this commitment and with a focus on the National Development Plan (2021-2025) that, the Federal Government of Nigeria, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has adopted the INFF as a tool to improve SDGs financing without increasing public debt and contingent liabilities to levels that will be detrimental to economic sustainability.
“The INFF is backed by Nigeria’s Medium-Term Revenue Strategy and the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework. As Nigeria champions the INFF process, we hope to promote the strategic alignment of financial policies with sustainable development and provide the enabling conditions for domestic and international, public, and private financial actors to best respond to our national needs.
“I urge all Nigerians, the international community, and our development partners to recognize the importance of this integrated approach to financing development, as you continue to count on my leadership in its immediate implementation,” the President said.
Speaking earlier, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs,Princess AdejokeOrelope-Adefulire, described the launch of the INFF report as a significant milestone in the commitment and efforts to achieve the SDGs in Nigeria.
She noted that the INFF is in line with Nigeria’s strategic approach to the implementation of the SDGs working at the National and Sub-national levels.
“At the National level, we work closely with the Federal Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to integrate the SDGs into their sectorial policies and plans. At the Sub-national level, we are working closely with the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to mainstream the SDGs into their medium and long-term development policies and plans”.
She noted that her office, with the support of UNDP, has supported 16 states to develop SDG-Based Development Plans as part of Nigeria’s Mainstreaming, Acceleration and Policy Support (MAPS) for the agenda.
The INFF report, she added, was also another feat recorded by the country in the bid to institutionalize the SDGs, noting Nigeria was the first country in the Global South to have successfully completed a country-led Independent Evaluation of SDG-3 on ‘quality health and well-being for all’ and SDG-4 on ‘qualitative and inclusive education and lifelong learning for all’.
The two reports, she said, were officially launched on the 25th of August, 2022.
The presidential adviser noted that on the 21st of December, 2021, Nigeria became the first African country to successfully realigned its National Statistical System with the requirements and indicators of the SDGs, hence the country will be now be able to track progress on the 230 Key Performance Indicators of the agenda on annual basis through the National Bureau of Statistics.
Orelope-Adefulire further noted that in 2019, Nigeria successfully domesticated the Integrated Sustainable Development Goals Simulation Model (iSDG Model) as a home-grown analytical tool for evidence-based SDGs policymaking and planning with the report launched on the margins of the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly by the President.
“The Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF) Report we are about to launch today is a product of series of efforts led by the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on SDGs; and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
“Nigeria is now among the INFF Pilot Countries that have made significant progress by completing the design process. Indeed, this is an expression of Nigeria’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development.
She expressed appreciation and profound gratitude to the President for accepting to launch the report as well as all the Institutional Members of the National Steering Committee and the Core Working Group on Nigeria’s INFF for the commitment demonstrated during the design phase.
“We look forward to similar commitment during the implementation phase,” Orelope –Adefulire said while affirming the commitment of her office to continue to drive the process of achieving the SDGs in Nigeria.
“I would like to conclude by re-affirming Nigeria’s commitment to the successful implementation of the SDGs. We look forward to working more closely with you all in this ‘Decade of Action’ for the Global Goals, so that no ‘One is left behind’.”
In his remark, Head/Sustainable Development, Minister Counsellor, Delegation of the European Union (EU) to the UN, Axel Maisonneuve, said EU had also support the mobilisation of capital for an inclusive and sustainable transition, which is at the heart of an INFF, in several ways.
“For instance, we know that whilst public finance of course has a key role to play, it will not be sufficient to bridge the SDG financing gap, and private finance needs to be mobilised as well.
“In the EU, we believe in fact that sustainable finance is critical to enable private financial flows being channelled towards sustainable investments.
“The EU’s Green Deal and the Global Gateway strategies are some of the key examples of the EU efforts in this direction. Indeed, sustainable finance is part and parcel of an INFF,’’ he said.
According to him, private finance is very much part of Nigeria’s Integrated National Financing Framework.
Maisonneuve said the INFF was designed to help the Nigerian government explore innovative financing options linking government with private sector and development partners to increase public revenue and private investments.
“Let me take this opportunity to praise Nigeria for the efforts undertaken toward the achievement of the 2030 agenda and the SDGs and for the key milestone that you have achieved.
“In September 2019, 16 countries committed to pioneer the development and implementation of INFFs, and Nigeria was among them.
“Now, Nigeria has successfully designed its INFF Strategy, and is offering a leading example for INFF progress toward a more systematic, holistic approach to achieve sustainable development objectives,’’ he said.
Goodwill messages were delivered by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Amina J. Mohammed, and development partners.
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