Monday, August 31, 2015 9:06 am
Ministers who served under former President Goodluck Jonathan, have condemned what they described as concerted effort by the Buhari administration and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to condemn, ridicule and undermine the efforts of that administration, in addition to impugning the integrity of its
The former ministers were emphatic that the Jonathan administration was not corrupt.
Dr. Abubakar Olanrewaju Suleiman, a former minister from Kwara State, who issued a statement on behalf of the Ministers in Abuja on Monday said the Buhari administration has been making effort to “portray each and every member of the Jonathan administration as corrupt and irresponsible, in an orchestrated and vicious trial by media, has created a lynch mentality that discredits our honest contributions to the growth and development of our beloved nation.”
But the presidency promptly responded, asking the former ministers why they have become jittery and why they seem to have become trade unionists.
In a statement by Malam Garba Shehu, senior special assistant to President Buhari, the Presidency asked former Ministers what they are afraid of in President Muhammadu Buhari’s efforts to look into how the administration they served spent the nation’s resources.
Shehu emphasised that there is no witch hunting or malice against anyone in the pursuit of the county’s stolen assets.
The former ministers who claimed that they served Nigeria diligently and to the best of their abilities during their tenures cited what they claimed were improvements in the power sector, in national security, and in social services and other sectors as products of solid foundations laid by the same Jonathan administration.
The former Ministers also affirmed that contrary to the impression the Buhari administration wants to create in the minds of Nigerians, the Jonathan administration was not corrupt.
Indeed, former Ministers claim the former President fought corruption vigorously, within the context of the rule of law and due process.
They cited different instances of the former President’s battle against corruption to include ending decades old fraud in fertilizer subsidies which, according to them, helped to unleash a revolution in agricultural production and productivity, institutional development of strong systems and mechanisms to curb corruption in the public service and plug revenue leakages like the development of the Government Integrated Financial Management Platform, the Single Treasury Account (TSA), and the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Management Systems (IPPIS), in addition to the biometric registration of civil servants and pensioners which saved the country over N100 billion paid to ghost workers and ghost pensioners.
The former Ministers who also challenged the Buhari administration and the APC to publish the details of the hand over notes they received from the Jonathan administration asked the President to be
fair enough to acknowledge the good works of the Jonathan administration.
“No administration can be either completely bad or completely good. President Jonathan’s achievements in moving this country to greater heights deserve to be duly acknowledged. We urge President Muhammadu Buhari to build on these achievements.
“We also urge him to press on with the anti-corruption fight, but in a fair and non-partisan manner, in line with due process, and not as a political witch-hunt,” the former Ministers said while condemning what they described as “the various lies and fabrications being peddled by some self-appointed spokespersons of the administration which they noted “may achieve the unintended effect of de-marketing our country
within the international community.”
“The name-calling of members of the Jonathan administration and the trial by news media should also stop. We encourage President Buhari to continue with the probes, but this must be in strict accordance with
his oath of office to treat all Nigerians equally and with the fear of God,” the former Ministers said.
But Shehu countered: “This war against corruption knows no friend nor foe. There is no intention to deny anyone of their good name where they are entitled to it and that President Buhari reserves the highest regards for the country’s former leaders, including Dr. Jonathan Goodluck who he continues to praise to the high heavens for the way and manner in which he accepted defeat in the last election. This singular action
remains a feat that has earned the former president and Nigeria as country befitting commendations all over the world, the latest coming from Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, who visited a week ago.
“For the purpose of emphasis, the issue of fighting corruption by President Buhari is non negotiable. It is sine-qua-non to the overall reconstruction of the economy and social systems which suffered destruction and severe denigration under the last administration. President Buhari will not be deterred or blackmailed into retreat and surrender.
“No one in the PDP can accuse President Buhari of undermining the economy when all they handed over to him is at best, a tottering economy hobbled by corruption and the absence of due process. All he has been doing while around is to put things together, organising to defeat Boko Haram, paying outstanding salaries, cleaning up the mess left behind, improving security and restoring our relationships with
neighbors and the world.
“So what are former ministers afraid of in these things? Have they become a new trade union? Let this collection of ex-VIPs allow the President the peace he needs to handle the reconstruction of the economy and the nation in a manner that most serves Nigeria’s best interests. President Buhari does not need these types of distraction presented by the so-called association of former ministers.”