National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has scolded former President Goodluck Jonathan for the level of corruption he said was witnessed under his administration.
Speaking at the public presentation of “Making Steady, Sustainable Progress for Nigeria’s Peace and Prosperity,” a book on President Muhammadu Buhari’s midterm scorecard in Abuja on Thursday, he pointed out that Buhari had corrected the wrongs inflicted on the country by the previous administration.
He accused the Jonathan administration of using the public treasury as a private hedge fund or a charity that limited its giving only to themselves.
The former Lagos state governor said: “So much money grew feet and ran away faster than Usain Bolt ever could. That which could have been spent on national development was squandered in ways that would cause the devil to blush.
“One minister and her rogues’ gallery picked the pocket of this nation for billions of dollars. While poor at governance, these people could give a master thief lessons in the sleight of hand. In governance, they earned a red card but in the corruption, they won the gold medal.
“It was not that our institutions had become infected by corruption. Corruption had become institutionalized.”
Even though he praised Buhari for his effort to rid the country of corruption, he said the war is not yet won.
According to him, “president Buhari has set an axe to the root of this dangerous tree. I would be lying if I said the war against large-scale corruption has been won.
“It has not. It will take time and countless swings of the axe to fall such a deeply-rooted tree. But try we must. This is what the President is doing.
“Gone are the times when a minister can pilfer billions of dollars as easy as plucking a piece of candy from the table.”
Tinubu regretted that even though the Buhari administration is on the right course, there are still too many people that are poor in the country.
He, therefore, urged the president to do more.
Tinubu said: “While each change may not be dramatic in itself, the cumulative effects of these reforms make for a stronger nation and a future assured.
“Yet, I lay caution to those people whose words and actions would counsel complacency.
“True, much good has been done by this government to ignore. However, too many of our people remain too poor and put-out to ignore as well.
“Daylight comes but not yet to all and not in equal measure.”
Tinubu, who noted that what he proffered “is done in the spirit of utmost respect and affinity by one who wants the best for this government and for Nigeria, added: “I say these things to encourage the government to achieve the greatness the time’s demand and of which this government is capable.”
While pointing out that the battlefront upon which Nigeria’s fate shall be decided is the economy, he said: “We are inching out of recession but growth must increase.
“It is time to lead our people to a place where poverty and hunger become infrequent and where prosperity and hope are the daily fares of the common man.”
The former Lagos state governor observed that the book is a good portrait of what the Buhari government has accomplished, saying that anyone who seeks an accurate assessment of governance in Nigeria today must make this book their reading companion.
He further said: “The work attempts to expertly chronicle what has been done. Its title: Making Steady, Sustainable Progress is unassailable.
“Any person with a passing regard for truth must admit that change and progress have come. We are indeed a more secure, industrious and forthright nation than we were two years ago.
“But, my people, only half the story has been told. For we have, at the very least, the second half of this term remaining and I dare not say any more than that for the time being.
“The deeds of this book are now our history. It is this taste of history which allows us to face the future in a better circumstance.
“Our future is one of beckoning challenge yet potential greatness.
“Through no fault of their own, too many of our people are without. Too many parents cannot properly feed and clothe their precious children, too many young adults exist in the void of joblessness, and too many of us do not have the resources to care for elderly parents who once cared for them. We must cure these wrongs.
“If I were an architect, I would say that President Buhari has used the last two years to wisely lay the deep and wide foundation for a new building called a better Nigeria.
“Today, as I stand before you all, I implore him and his government.
“The good you have started…. do it the more.
“The good that you have yet to achieve …. get it with a laser-like focus.
“If we do as we must, we can well together construct this new building so that it will have place and habitation for those who have lived outside and on the margins to come in and finally partake of the bounty and good harvest a proud and true nation has to offer its people.
“Let this be the story of the next book to be written for this government.”
President Buhari in his remark while launching the book had thanked Nigerians for praying for him while he was sick.
The president vowed to repay Nigerians by protecting their interests. Buhari noted the suffering of people in the country during the recession which he attributed to the worldwide economic downturn.
He said: “I cannot thank Nigerians enough for your prayers and goodwill during my health vacation.
“I can only repay you by resolving to wok by putting every ounce of my energy to protect your interest. “We have gone through difficult times due to the worldwide economic recession. We are coming out of recession and government efforts are targeted at easing economic hardships, with more jobs, social security platforms for vulnerable families, and unemployed and infrastructural progress.
“I would at the same like to assure all Nigerians of my commitment to improve security, fight corruption and restructure the economy.”
Buhari spoke on other achievements of his administration including the release of Chibok school girls and restoring the worldwide image of Nigeria.
He added: “On the current issues on herdsmen/farmers clashes, kidnapping and armed robberies within the confines of our limited resources, we are giving top priority to security.
“During the year, it was my great pleasure to secure the release of 102 Chibok school girls. We are doing our best quietly and effectively as possible to get the rest released.
“We are working day and night with our international partners to release the remaining girls as soon as possible, women and children.
“We are all aware now that if you steal public funds and you are caught, you will face the law. “Internationally, Nigeria is now a respected nation. I can’t keep up with invitations to visit other countries much less for other countries leaders that want to visit us. A number of world leaders are expressing the desire to visit Nigeria virtually monthly.
“Our creditworthiness is sound, our first Eurobond offer was oversubscribed four.”
The book on his scorecard is put together by his media team led by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina.
Also speaking, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said taking a broad view, the present administration is delivering in the broad areas that form the plank of its policies including security, fight against corruption and the economy, which includes the massive provision of infrastructure, ease of doing business and agriculture, among others.
In his remarks at the occasion, National Chairman of the APC, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, said: “In the context of the well-known challenges the current administration has faced as a result of a grossly mismanaged economy and the unexpected collapse of the crude oil market, which dramatically curtailed government spending capacity; I find this Mid-Term Score Card of President Muhammadu Buhari Administration: ‘Making Steady, Sustainable Progress for Nigeria’s Peace and Prosperity’ quite spirit lifting indeed.
“It will also serve as a morale booster to all our party members, who are now armed with the incontrovertible and verifiable evidence of the enormous achievements of our government since inauguration in May 2015 till date.”