Former President Goodluck Jonathan has received knocks for praising his administration after admitting that he “failed to completely plug the loopholes in the fight against corruption”.
Jonathan, who spoke in Abuja at the convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said his administration “did well”. He explained that he “learnt that some people said that if the PDP had remained in power beyond 2015, the economy would have been worse”. “This couldn’t have been the case, because we had a sound economic team in place,” the former president said.
Jonathan said his administration provided focused leadership through institutional and sectoral reforms which impacted positively on the fundamentals for growth to the extent that inflation was at single digit and the economy was rebased to become the largest in Africa.
Deputy National Chairman (South) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Segun Oni, cautioned the former president against “talking about what he did or failed to do as far as corruption is concerned”.
He urged him to apologise to Nigerians having failed to fight corruption as there were no results to show for his efforts.
“It is very unfortunate that a former President will say that. There is the saying that there is no mark for effort. The only mark you get is for results.
“It does’t matter how much a man tried; if he does not have a result to show, what he should just do is to keep quiet and that is what I will advise him to do as far as corruption is concerned.
“The results are very shameful. I think he should just be asking for forgiveness.”
Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) Prof Itse Sagay said Jonathan never fought corruption but deepened it.
“We are investigating nearly $470 billion stolen and all the villas around the world his cronies bought. We are looking at over $2 billion and endless amount that disappeared under the former National Security Adviser (NSA). We are investigating former Chief of Army Staff he appointed, who diverted whopping amount of public funds. His shameless statement just shows the level of self-deceit by the former president. It is unbelievable.
“This country is very lucky that the current administration took over the government from the hands of the party of plunderers, which could have ruined us all.
“If Jonathan had remained in office, we would all, by now, be carrying Ghana-must-go bags to go look for employment in other countries.”
National Chairman of United Progressives Party (UPP) Chief Chekwas Okorie said: “I want to be charitable to Jonathan for admitting that he scored himself a failure in the area of the fight against corruption and above average in area of economic development.
“I must say that Jonathan failed on both sides. A government that lasted that long was supposed to provide development for the country. The economy did not improve under his government; rather than improving, his administration laid the foundation for our going into recession. Corruption thrived under Jonathan to an unimaginable level.
“He gave tacit support to corruption and when he began to say stealing was not corruption, one could see that he was not against corruption.”
Afenifere Publicity Secretary Yinka Odumakin said: “It is true that Jonathan did not fight corruption headlong just like other administrations had not fought corruption sincerely in the country. There is no administration that has met the yearning of the people, when it comes to the fight against corruption.
“This is because the foundation of the fight against corruption has not been properly laid. The foundation was laid with corruption, so it is not possible to fight corruption in a badly laid foundation that is supposed to fight corruption.”
The National Chairman of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Prof. Bankole Okuwa, described the ex-president “as a non-starter”, adding that it was most unfortunate that he became the president. “We don’t need someone like him and honestly his wife made him to fritter away over N2 billion; what an embarrassment. Jonathan and his wife should be in jail by now. If Buhari was not lenient with him, he should be in jail.
Former Deputy Senate Minority Leader, Senator Olrunnimbe Mamora said Jonathan’s statement was an admission of failure to act appropriately to curb corruption during his tenure.
Mamora said: “It is an admission of some measures of guilt in terms of approach in curbing corruption under his watch. He has admitted he didn’t do much as expected by the people. It is an admission of not doing much in line of expectation of the people.
“His admission that he failed to curb corruption under his watch is an indictment on his administration; and a stain that cannot be removed.”
Mamora noted corruption was one of the low points of Jonathan government; it is in the book of history that his administration was the most corrupt; he has only confirmed that a lot of untoward happened under him.
Lawyer and public affairs analyst Monday Ubani was surprised that Jonathan had at last admitted that there was corruption during his tenure.
He said Jonathan knew all along when he was in power that there was high level corruption in the country but he refused to admit. The magnitude of corruption under him has cost us development in this country in terms of infrastructural development. “His intransigence has retarded our progress”, he stated.
The second National Vice President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) said Jonathan should seek forgiveness from Nigerians.
“Even if he was forgiven, I doubt if Nigerians would allow his party (PDP) to return to power after looting the treasury,” he added.