Two days ago, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, dismissed Transparency International’s (TI) latest corruption perception index which ranked Nigeria low on corruption but what was his response to the poor rating of the country eight years ago?
In the latest TI rating, Nigeria ranked 146 of 180 countries, with a total of 26 points out of a possible 100 points. Responding to the poor rating, Mohammed told TI that the federal government is not seeking to impress any organisation with its anti-corruption fight.
“…we are not fighting corruption because we want to impress any organisation. We are fighting corruption because we believe that without fighting the menace, the much-sought development will not happen and we have results to show for fighting corruption,” he had said in London.
In 2012 when ex-President Goodluck Jonathan was in power, Mohammed, who was the spokesman of The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), a major part of the bloc that later metamorphosed into the All Progressives Congress (APC), had described the Nigeria’s low ranking on TI index as a proof that Jonathan “is not serious” about fighting corruption.
It was less than two years into that administration and Nigeria was ranked 35th most corrupt country in the world.
In a strongly-worded statement at the time, Mohammed said the “harvest of corruption scandals’’ under the Jonathan administration was unprecedented in Nigeria’s history and has been attested to by TI.
He had said: “According to the latest CPI, Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and one of the continent’s biggest economies was not listed among the top 35 least corrupt nations in Africa, even when it was ranked the 35th most corrupt nations in the world.
“It is also instructive that Liberia and Sierra Leone, which Nigeria helped to liberate from the throes of war are now doing much better in fighting corruption than the country (Nigeria), just like much smaller and less-endowed nations like Niger, Gambia, Burkina Faso and Mali are better rated.
“In all of these and more, the administration has shown an amazing lack of political will in investigating the scams and prosecuting perpetrators. “Worst still, key administrative officials have shown from their careless comments that they either do not understand what it means to fight corruption or they are just trivialising it.
“President Jonathan must wake from his slumber and face the reality that corruption is fast eating deep into the soul of Nigeria, having already decimated the body. He must stop playing the ostrich and lead the way in the fight against corruption before it consumes the country.”