…As Okupe slams Jonathan’s critics
From JULIANA TAIWO-OBALONYE, and GODWIN TSA Abuja
Clear indication of imminent emerged yesterday after a media report quoted Transparency International of denying President Goodluck Jonathan’s independence day claim that it rated Nigeria second, next to the United States in the fight against corruption.
Daily Sun Investigations revealed that the President, was embarrased by reactions that has trailed his annoucement of the purported TI’s rating with many outrightly calling him a liar, had ordered his media team to produce evidence of the nation’s rating by the global group, which rating is seen as the gospel truth on corruption. In his Independence Day Address to the nation, President Jonathan had quoted Transparency International has rating his administration’s fight against corruption as second only to America.
President Jonathan, in his independence anniversary speech had said: “In its latest report, Transparency International noted that Nigeria is the second most improved country in the effort to curb corruption”, he said. Also on Sunday, during the 52nd Independence Anniversary Interdenominational Church Service, held at the National Christian Center Abuja, President Jonathan had also averted, “On corruption, Transparency International that has never spared Nigeria, admitted in its latest rating that Nigeria is second to America in her commitment to fight of corruption.
God willing we shall overcome it”. However, Transparency International had in response to an email from Premium Times, denied the claim stating: “Transparency International does not have a recent rating or report that places Nigeria as the second most improved country in the fight against corruption.” Investigations further revealed that what was meant to be an internal memo between the office of the Minister of Information, that of the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity and that of the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs, requesting them to explain where the rating emanated from, apparently in response to a query from the presidency, was leaked to some online media.
The supposed statement posted on the official website of the Federal Ministry of Information, http://fmi.gov.ng/mr-presidents-statement-was-based-on-notorious-facts/, and simply by one Reno, said that the president‘s claim was based on “notorious facts” published by Nigeria’s BusinessDay Newspaper. An official statement is usually signed with the officer’s full names and his designations clearly stated. The Reno, who signed the statement, is believed to be Reno Omokri, President Jonathan’s Special Assistant on New Media. The Statement reads: “Mr. President’s statement was based on notorious facts “Our attention has been drawn to reports from some opposition leaning media houses alleging that Mr. President made some false claims about Nigeria’s standing in this year’s Transparency International anti corruption rating.
“As is the practice worldwide, we accept the premise that whatever is published in the media and goes unchallenged is the truth. On this issue, the media published their synopsis of the most recent Transparency International report and BusinessDay, a well respected newspaper with a bias for business reporting in its headline on the 12th of September 2012 ‘FG’s anti-corruption initiative impacts Nigeria’s global perception’ said
“The survey on global corruption perceptions for 2011 versus 2001 showed that the third best improvement in the world was in Nigeria, with its score improving by 1.5 points.” “The above comments were relied upon in coming to the conclusion that Mr. President honestly came to, in good faith. To this day, Transparency International has not disputed the findings of BusinessDay. “For a section of the opposition to now cast aspersions on the integrity of the President when he relied on notorious facts (anything published in the press and which remains unchallenged is a notorious fact) is proof positive of the now obvious fact that they lack ideas on how to move Nigeria forward and would rather snipe at efforts of the President to move the nation forward for which any patriot would do.
“In conclusion the President acted in good faith and his statement was based on notorious facts and are evidenced by recent breakthroughs in fighting corruption in the oil industry where subsidy fraud suspects are already facing trial as well as in the Agricultural Sector where decades old corrupt practices in the fertilizer distribution network have been eradicated via the voucher system which cuts off the middle man. Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe yesterday took a swipe at the critics of the president describing them as un-cerebral and indolent politicians who have nothing positive to offer Nigerians.
Throwing more vibes at the opposition, Okupe stated “Iit is only the wicked of the blind or the totally jaundiced people that would say the president is not working on his transformation agenda.” While calling on Nigerians to dump the opposition, Dr. Okupe who was analyzing what he tagged the “salient policy statements contained in the Independent Day broadcast of the President noted that the present crop of opposition in the country were incapable of leadership positions as they had nothing to offer other than abuse the president. Okupe who made special reference to the Publicity Secretary of the Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN], Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Chief Bisi Akande declared “this opposition cannot run the country because they have nothing to offer and it will be dangerous for Nigerians to entrust them with the leadership of this country.
Nigerians should dump them as they have nothing to offer except abusing the president.” On the President’s statement with regards to Transparency International, Okupe said “Transparency International does not have a recent rating or report that places Nigeria as the second most improved country in the fight against corruption,” the Berlin-based organization told this newspaper. The president‘s claim was based on “notorious facts” published by Nigeria’s BusinessDay newspaper.”
The president’s 18 minutes’ broadcast also received criticism from several other Nigerians including former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir el-Rufai, who described the 18 minutes speech as “full of false claims of accomplishments no one can see or feel, and promises that no one believes will be fulfilled.” Meanwhile, Dr. Okupe said President Jonathan is not a boasting or dramatist President but he is working hard to deliver on his transformation agenda.
He disclosed that by December or early next year, Nigeria will generate over 7000 megawatts of electricity and many communities will enjoy uninterrupted power supply for 16 hours per day and more. In addition, he said the president has turned Nigeria into a preferred investment destination in Africa and the country is favoured with over 20 percent of total foreign Direct Investment in the sub region.