- As the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari continues to fight corruption, Vice President Osinbajo says it cannot be crushed at once
- Osinbajo alleged that the government of former president Goodluck Jonathan “essentially shared” billions of Naira that could have been spent on projects
- According to him, corruption is still fighting back and the government needs to be steadfast and strategic to win the battle
Nigeria's Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, on Monday, March 19, said that the nature of corruption in the country is systematic and cannot be stamped out in one swoop, adding that this present administration has demonstrated enough political will to reverse it, Nigerian Tribune reports.
Osinbajo speaking at the 7th Presidential Quarterly Business Forum for private sector stakeholders at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, noted that there is grand corruption in public finance space. Participants at the forum included ministers, other top government officials, members of the private sector, among others.
He accused the administration of former president Goodluck Jonathan of frittering billions of naira that should have been spent on projects two weeks to the 2015 polls.
The vice president assured Nigerians that where you have a president that is not corrupt, over 50 percent of financial problems will be solved.
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He said: “If we want to do an analysis in Nigeria, it is either fraudulent or ignorant if we do not bring money that belongs to corruption into the math. This is what distinguishes in my own respectful view, this administration from the other. I can say that with what I have seen if you have a president who is not corrupt, 50 percent of your financial problems are over.
“This is what I have seen, I can demonstrate it with facts and figures. If the president is corrupt, the entire financial system is compromised and that is what we have seen with the figures we have just seen. That is absolutely important that we must take into account.
“I am not saying that corruption under this administration has been completely dealt with, no certainly not. Where corruption has become systematic such as we have in our country today, you cannot deal with it in one full swoop, it is not possible.
“In any event, you still have a lot of corruption fighting back. The system fights back and its both an internal and external fight back and you have to be steadfast and strategic to win the battle.
“There’s no way that you have a system such as ours that has consistently thrived on corruption and proceeds of corruption and public financing, in particular, that will give up and say, guys, the problem has been solved. No."
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According to him, trying to deal with corruption is not a walk in the park as the system has fed on corruption and this affects all aspects of governance. He, however assured that the task has begun already and if the government remains consistent in its fight, especially controlling excesses and corruption in public finance, Nigeria will make the kind of progress it deserves to make with all the resources at its disposal.
The vice president alleged that Jonathan's administration withdrew billions of naira on the eve of 2015 election and shared. He said: “In one single transaction a few weeks to the elections in 2015, sums of an N100million, $289 million were just fretted away by a few.
“When you consider that in 2014 as the minister of finance has said that oil price was an average of $110 a barrel and only N99 billion was spent on power, works and housing and when we talk about the economy we talk as if these are normal by every standard. Nobody should talk about the economy when you have this kind of huge leakages and huge corruption.
“We saw from the presentation of the minister of finance N14 billion was spent on agriculture in 2014, transportation N15 billion. So, the total spent on infrastructure in those three years were N153 billion and in two weeks before the elections, N150 billion was essentially shared.
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“So, if your total infrastructure spending is N150 billion and you can share N153 billion, that is completely incredible. That sort of thing doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. And when we are talking about the economy, we must simply understand that that is the problem.
“Today, with less revenue, we have increased capital funding by 400% as the minister has said, in power, works and housing, in defence, transportation, agriculture.”
In a previous report by Legit.ng, the special adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on prosecution, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla reiterated the federal government's commitment in strengthening the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria.
Obono-Obla made the statement at the official launch of DoroCorruption Mobile App and Inauguration of Lawyers Network Against Corruption in Abuja on Thursday, March 14. He, however, noted that three years is not enough to fight corruption in the country.
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