Transparency International (TI) has been fingered at the centre of a devilish alliance with disgruntled elements in the country, parading as non-governmental organisations, to tarnish President Muhammadu Buhari’s reputation.
The National Transparency Initiative (NTI) raised the alarm on Wednesday during a press conference in Abuja.
Addressing the media on behalf of the group, Secretary-General,
Elder Tony Odey said Transparency International’s poor rating of Nigeria in its latest corruption index is aimed to undermine President Buhari’s legacy on corruption.
He noted that this is orchestrated by certain Nigerians with foreign interests to undermine the country’s sovereignty and integrity.
Odey singled out Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa, former ministers, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Oby Ezekwesili to be chief drivers of this calumny campaign.
According to him, the trio and their cohorts portray the country and President Buhari in a bad light in the international community for their personal agenda.
He revealed that they begin the process by lining up respondents to provide responses that will skew the outcome of the survey in a manner that project Nigeria as a country that is exceptionally more corrupt than other nations.
The National Transparency Initiative, though, expressed concern at the implication of such a negative reputation for the nation as it relates to investors.
The group, however, advised TI to disambiguate its report for Nigeria and specifically show what states are responsible for the rating it is giving the country.
It also warned the disgruntled Nigerians to call off their offensive and focus on things that would truly advance the wellbeing of Nigerians.
Read the full statement below:
Transparency International (TI) recently published its Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for the year 2020, which placed Nigeria on the 149th position of the 180 countries it reportedly surveyed. Because TI’s fixation of Nigeria on this slot is no longer news, its proxies in the country have resorted to dramatizing the survey by celebrating how Nigeria is now West Africa’s second most corrupt country.
The National Transparency Initiative (NTI) finds it odd that the purveyors of this demarketing report went to town to celebrate their achievement as if a negative rating is something to be proud of. As confounding as this macabre celebration of Nigeria’s corruption rating is, it is necessary to properly situate the reason for the joy being expressed by these detractors of Nigeria. These are people with long-running contracts with foreign interests to undermine the sovereignty and integrity of Nigeria and constantly framing the country as corrupt is one of the myriad strategies they have adopted to achieve this dark objective.
Without mincing words, NTI is specifically calling out Auwal Musa “Rafsanjani” who is the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Head of Transparency International Nigeria. It is pertinent to disclosed that Rafsanjani is on the board of Amnesty International (AI), another International NGO that has fully deployed to harass the Federal Government of Nigeria and government institutions to prevent them from doing their job. The deployment of Transparency International and Amnesty International is such that the former uses corruption as a basis to block Nigeria’s ability to procure critical military hardware to fight Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency while the latter replicates the same tactic while citing human rights abuses on the part of security forces.
World Trade Organization hopeful, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is another of the disgruntled elements that stoke TI to undermine Nigeria. In her case, it is easy to see what she stands to gain. She finds it necessary to instigate conditions that exonerate the governments she served in the past from being properly branded as corrupt. Recall the double-faced character of this woman who as Obasanjo’s Finance Minister keened endlessly that Nigeria must pay off its debts to move forward only the same person as Goodluck Jonathan’s Finance Minister to come out say Nigeria cannot survive without borrowing. What was never revealed to Nigerians is that facilitating the repayment under Obasanjo attracted commissions on the transaction amount just the loans obtained under Jonathan had incentives for those who brokered them. She definitely knows about corruption.
We are not losing sight of Mrs Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili, the fanatical hater of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is fortunately awake to the fact that the likes of Oby should not be allowed anywhere near public office given the damage she can do to the country through the implementation of phantom reforms that do not endure the test of even one month of her being out of office. Like the unholy combo of TI and Amnesty international, Oby combines a dangerous mix of being an anti-corruption activist, human rights activist and security activist to hound the government at every turn. She actively suggests to the TI-AI circuit how best to undermine the government’s image and she does this without thoughts to the fact that she was once a member of the Federal Executive Council like Okonjo-Iweala and should be more circumspect where the wellbeing of the country is at stake.
There are a whole lot of these disgruntled persons with selfish interests that have been driving the campaign of calumny against Nigeria using Transparency International. They start this process by lining up respondents to provide responses that will skew the outcome of the survey in a manner that project Nigeria as a country that is exceptionally more corrupt than other nation. Whereas, if the process is conducted without being tainted with the animosity that the Rafsanjani crowd harbours against the government of the day the result will show significant improvement owing to the efforts that the government has made.
National Transparency Initiative is concerned at the consequences that this obsession with demonizing President Muhammadu Buhari is having on the overall perception of Nigeria. President Buhari will complete his tenure and leave office but the bad reputation that has been tagged on the country will remain. This has consequences for the confidence investors repose in Nigeria as a business destination and in the contemporary business environment that is highly globalized the implication is that the demarketing of Nigeria will starve the country of business opportunity, which will lead to unemployment that will then fuel desperation and lead to actual corruption.
Attacking the Federal Government with the blackmail of corruption each time CPI is published also distract attention from the exact spots Nigerians should focus on. The States. The bulk of the anecdotal incidences that TI uses to compile its index about Nigeria are at the state level, which means that the Federal Government is being made to take the fall for the wrongdoings committed at the state level, which the government at the centre cannot do anything about since this will amount to being dictatorial. TI and its cheerleaders are eager to push President Buhari into wielding the big stick, which he has no constitutional backing to wield, on state governors so that they can brand him a dictator.
TI and its circuit of liars must also situate the roles that individuals play in the instances of corruption being reported. It is not enough to cite how people reported giving a bribe as it is pertinent that the bribe givers should also be recognized and held accountable as enabler of corruption instead of being packaged as heroes by TI, Rafsanjani and company. They should look inwards and see how the bogus honoraria and allowances they pay participants at their brainwashing workshops and conferences are also a form of inducement that amount to corruption. The desperation of the beneficiaries of such payments to qualify for future payments is what leads them to fabricate lies about corruption, which in itself is corruption.
Our thoughts are that if TI is serious about reporting corruption then it should disambiguate its report for Nigeria and specifically show what states are responsible for the rating it is giving the country. Since it has consistently treated Nigeria as a county if interest this should not be difficult for it to achieve.
In the meantime, we urge the alliance of the disgruntled that is weaponizing the CPI to harass the government of President Buhari to call off their offensive and focus on things that would truly advance the wellbeing of Nigerians. Nigerians live in their own country and they can relate first-hand about how things have changed for the better in terms of how it is no longer easy for people to pocket government money and covert same to personal use. It will therefore take more than a jaundiced TI report to tarnish President Buhari’s legacy on the war against corruption.
PDP Celebrates Obasanjo At 84
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has celebrated former President Olusegun Obasanjo on his 84th birthday.
The party in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Friday described Obasanjo as a patriotic leader and a global figure.
He also described the former president as exceptionally energetic administrator, who made immeasurable contributions, both as a military leader and democratically elected president for the survival, unity, stability and development of Nigeria.
“As a military leader, Obasanjo fought for the unity of our dear nation during its turbulent hours as well as making immense personal sacrifices for the return of democratic rule with the Second Republic in 1979.
“Twenty years after, as a democratically elected President, on the platform of our great party, the PDP, Obasanjo further united our nation with entrenchment of democratic values of all-inclusiveness,” he said.
Ologbondiyan said that Nigerians celebrated Obasanjo for running a visionary administration, leading to the revamping the country’s productive sectors.
“Under the Obasanjo-led PDP administration, our nation witnessed most of its best days as Nigerians particularly in the private sector, thrived in all fields.
“These included telecommunication, aviation, banking and finance, education, manufacturing, sports, entertainment, real estate, healthcare both at home and in the international arena.
“Our party extols Obasanjo’s undying sense of patriotism and love for our dear nation for which he has remained fearlessly active in his counsels, directions and admonitions,” he said.
He prayed God to grant him many more years in good health for the benefit of Nigeria and humanity at large.
Insecurity: Inter-Faith Group Appeals To CAN, Others To See President Buhari As Leader For All
The National Inter-Faith Religious Organizations for Peace (NIFROP) has urged the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other religious bodies in the country to embrace President Muhammadu Buhari as a leader for all.
According to the foremost interfaith-faith group, the president has never demonstrated bias against Christians, Muslims or any other religious sect in the country.
This unshakable faith in the unity of Nigeria, the group reckoned, was visible at the last polls in 2019, in which Nigerians across religious and ethnic lines massively voted for the president.
NIFROP’s remarks trails CAN’s insinuation that President Buhari’s prolonged silence on Sheikh Ahmad Gumi’s alleged profiling of military operatives is tantamount to endorsement of the Islamic cleric.
However, speaking at a press conference on Friday, in Abuja, through its grand patron, Bishop Julius Idiwe, NIFROP warned the Christian body not to drag the president into bigotry or partisanship.
Bishop Idiwe noted that CAN’s unwarranted outburst and vituperation on the presidency, with intent to incite the public, negates the core norms and values of all religions.
The inter-faith group insisted that President Buhari has always taken an impartial stand on national issues and doesn’t jump into every statement in the public domain.
Idiwe recalled how Rev Fr. Ejike Mbaka and other Christian preachers in the past launched scathing attacks on the president without any reprimand whatsoever.
While Gumi has insistently canvassed for compensation and amnesty for the bandits, the respected Christian cleric said President Buhari has rejected his proposal.
He, therefore, advised CAN to promote peaceful co-existence, unity, togetherness and the indivisibility of Nigeria.
Read the full statement below:
The leadership of the NationalInter-Faith Religious Organizations for Peace ( NIFROP) is compelled to address a component of us, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) over comments attributed to an Islamic cleric, Shiek Ahmad Gumi on his alleged negative profiling of non-Muslim soldiers fighting insecurities in the frontlines, in President Muhammadu Buhari was unfairly dragged into a religious campaign. We find the contents of CAN’s statement untrue and a misrepresentation of reality concerning the Buhari Presidency.
NIFROP has found the public utterances and outbursts of CAN, a major Christian body in Nigeria against the Government, office and person of President Buhari extremely misdirected and misleading. And we believe, it is because of a lack of basic knowledge of the operations or mindset of this Presidency.
NIFROP is unexcited the more by the consistent focus by CAN, as exemplified even in the current public statement to align the personality or the Buhari Presidency to the country’s regressive national faultlines of ethnicity, religion and regionalism, even when there is enough evidence against such sermonized inclinations on the President. We again wish to bring to the notice of CAN’s leadership that President Buhari has consistently over the years, clearly resisted a romance with such biases.
It is the conviction of NIFROP that the sacred obligation of religious leaders in the country is to seek peace as also amplified by the Holy Scriptures. It is completely unreasonable to stoke troubles in the land in the magnitude that would cause the widespread crisis. It is our divine duty as clerics to promote peaceful co-existence, unity, togetherness and the indivisibility of Nigerians and Nigeria.
Therefore, CAN’s unwarranted outburst and vituperations on the Presidency, intent on public incitement of the people negates these core norms and values of all religions, as we collectively seek for a unified nation. It is a task President Buhari has glaringly and religiously committed his heart to it as leader of this nation.
President Buhari has never demonstrated through words o actions any discrimination against neither Christian nor Muslims or preference for a particular religious sect in this country. He has not shown any favouritism to any section of this country against another based on religion or ethnicity. Both Christian and Muslim clerics have variously and directly attacked his Presidency, several times in the past; but he has never contemplated or condescended to a clampdown on them using state power for their expressed opinions.
It may interest CAN and their leaders to recall the several damaging prophecies of the SpiritualDirectorr of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbak against the Government and person of President Buhari, including his 2018 New Year eve prophesy, predicting President Buhari’s defeat in the 2019 presidential elections.
CAN should also remember Fr. Mbaka’s prophecy on December 31, 2020, Crossover Night tagged, ‘Cornucopia of New Miracles from God,” in which he accused President Buhari of politicising the conditions of Nigerian youths. And at another instance, Fr. Mbaka declared that “God is angry with Buhari”, a statement, he later denied after it went viral on social media. But the Presidency never harassed him.
In CAN’s latest statement, it also referenced the most recent open epistle to Nigerians by the Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Fr. Dr Matthew Hassan Kukah in which he severely threw darts at President Buhari and his Government in an obviously inciting and demeaning manner. It angered some Muslim youths who reacted to it by issuing a quit notice to Fr. Kukah to vacate the North or face the consequences.
But CAN deliberately or hypocritically fail to remember or mention that the Presidency instantly condemned and countered the threats of the Muslim youths on Kukah through a public statement. It also took actions to secure his life from any possible physical assault on him. President Buhari warned the enraged and incensed Muslim youths never to contemplate an attack on the Catholic Priest or dare take laws into their hands or else, the consequences would be severe on the perpetrators.
President Buhari has repeatedly hollered publicly and even in his private conversations with eminent Nigerians his unshakeable faith in the oneness of Nigeria. He believes in the doctrine of equity, fairness and justice. That’s why even in 2019, both Christian and Muslim dominated states in Nigeria competitively and massively voted for his reelection. It is a testimony to his demonstrated credentials as the father of the nation and all Nigerians irrespective of religious or ethnic affinities.
And the neutral character of President Buhari has reflected even in the distribution of his appointments and capital projects throughout Nigeria. Every section of the country has an imprint of his administration. CAN’s statement is, therefore, unfortunate and condemnable, to say the least.
Therefore, it is instructive to advise CAN and other religious bigots to necessarily separate the Buhari Presidency from false and imposed religious or ethnic biases.
To consciously and provocatively
align Mr. president with religion or ethnicity over fighting insecurities in the country, profusely as exhibited by CAN is antithetical to all alternatives of panaceas to the crisis of insecurity in the country. CAN and their co-travellers must learn to embrace the President and his views as leader of Nigeria and not as a Fulani, Hausa or a Muslim.
Therefore, it defeats every sane logic and wisdom on CAN’s expectations of the leader of a complex nation like Nigeria to start chasing every statement in public space. For CAN to misconstrue the Presidency’s silence over Shiek Gumi’s utterances as an endorsement of it and a lack of commitment to fighting armed banditry or terrorism in the county is a farce that only exists in the warped imaginations of these CAN leaders.
And there are several examples to buttress this assertion. Whilst Shiek Gumi has insistently canvassed fo compensation and amnesty for the bandits, President Buhari has rejected his proposal. Mr President is clear and loud that there will be no amnesty for bandits or criminals, as his administration is poised to deal with them appropriately.
Mr. President’s recent directive to security operatives to shoot anybody bearing AK-47 and other sophisticated weapons anywhere in the country is one of the series of fresh actions to contain insecurities in the country. Therefore, CAN have no sound basis to castigate or malign Mr President on his result-oriented battles with insecurities in the last five years.
Group Faults RevolutionNow Protesters Over Calls For Buhari’s Resignation
A pan socio-cultural group, Nigeria First, has condemned the purported rally by Omoyele Sowore-led RevolutionNow movement demanding for President Muhammadu Buhari’s resignation.
According to the group, Sowore, having failed legitimately to become president, aims to make the country ungovernable for the current administration, not minding the consequences.
The Nigeria First movement made these known at a press conference on Friday in Abuja.
In his address titled ‘Omoyele Sowore: A call for caution in Nigeria’, the group’s Deputy President, Ndubisi Nwogu, noted that the self-acclaimed activist is not acting in insolation.
Mr Nwogu revealed that the Sahara Reporters founder has the backing of both local and international saboteurs who are pained with the level of sustainable growth and development experienced in Nigeria under President Buhari.
He added that the call for President Buhari’s resignation is part of the overall plot and in the weeks and months ahead, more and more attempts to destabilize the country would surface.
The group, therefore, warned Sowore to desist from this ignoble quest which by all intents and purposes would serve the interest of his paymasters.
It further cautioned that the former presidential hopeful would be held responsible should there be a breakdown of law and order in the country.
Nwogu, however, urged all well-meaning Nigerians to rise in defence of the country in this “critical period of our existence by calling to question the motives of Sowore and his goons in their antics towards misleading the unsuspecting members of the general public”.
Read the full statement below:
You are all warmly welcomed to this event intended to put issues in proper perspective in the interest of the generality of Nigerians. The leadership of Nigeria First believes that recent events in the country indeed calls for caution from all relevant stakeholders at the risk of the country erupting in flames at the behest of some unscrupulous elements that are bent on destabilizing the country for reasons best known to them.
It is indeed despicable that some individuals and organizations would elect to throw caution in the wind by actively promoting causes that would divide the country in a most reckless manner and at the chagrin of our peace and unity as a country.
Nigeria First as a pan-sociocultural group is reiterating that recent events in the country are assuming a dangerous dimension, especially with the call for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari by no group other than the Omoyele Sowore led RevolutionNow Movement.
It is indeed obvious that Omoyele Sowore is the brain behind the despicable rally, which is a resurgence of his infamous call for a nationwide revolution in the country that was hugely a flop some months back.
Sadly, the likes of Omoyele Sowore have elected to sell their souls to the devil in return for a plate of porridge. This goes a long way to state the obvious truth that Omoyele Sowore is a cantankerous individual that ekes a living from blackmail and inciting violence, yet, parading himself as an activist and advocate for sustainable growth and development in Nigeria.
Nigeria First as a concerned stakeholder in Nigeria wishes to emphasize that it is now public knowledge that the overarching objective is to destabilize Nigeria and this anomaly is fast gaining traction in a dangerous dimension.
It is also instructive to state that Omoyele Sowore is not acting in insolation in the sense that the sponsorship of his nefarious activities is a combination of both local and international saboteurs that are angry with the level of sustainable growth and development experienced in Nigeria since President Muhammadu Buhari assumed leadership of the country.
Having this as a fact, it then speaks volumes that those that held the country by the jugular for several years have refused to come to terms with the present reality that it is no longer business as usual.
Nigeria First states that the sin of President Muhammadu Buhari remains the fact that he has put the interest of the country at heart and against the interest of a select few that have fed fat from the rot in the system, and responsible for the level of decadence in the polity.
It remains the considered opinion of Nigeria First that the plot to destabilize Nigeria is high on the list of the task before Omoyele Sowore and his goons that have been highly mobilized to incite a revolution in the country so they can truncate our nascent democracy.
Thus, the rally by RevolutionNow is indicative of this grand plot that has been well-planned as well as funded towards achieving their despicable objective aimed at causing unrest in the country.
Nigeria First wishes to use this medium to bring to the attention of Nigerians that indeed Omoyele Sowore is acting the script of some vested interest within political and ethnoreligious circles in Nigeria. And it has indeed assumed a dangerous dimension that indeed calls for concern from all well-meaning Nigerians that are desirous of sustainable growth and development in the country.
Nigeria First is using this medium to warn Omoyele Sowore to desist from his ignoble desire in destabilizing Nigeria which by all intents and purposes would serve the interest of his paymasters in the country and outside the shores of the country.
Nigerians must also come to the realization that the revolution now rally calling for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari is a part of the overall plot and in the weeks and months ahead, more and more attempts to destabilize the country would be experienced in the public space in Nigeria.
We are urging well-meaning Nigerians to rise in defence of Nigeria in this critical period of our existence by calling to question the motives of Omoyele Sowore and his goons in their antics towards misleading the unsuspecting members of the general public.
Nigerians must know that Omoyele Sowore by all indications is neck-deep in ensuring that Nigeria is destabilized through his RevolutionNow group. And their recent outing is just one out of the avalanche of planned events they have up their sleeves.
Nigeria First wishes to state in unequivocal terms that Nigerians should hold Omoyele Sowore responsible should there be a breakdown of law and order in the country in the coming weeks and months.
Having stated the above, Nigeria First as an organization would continue to engage other critical stakeholders in Nigeria towards nipping in the bud the plans of Omoyele Sowore and his paymasters towards destabilizing Nigeria.
Thank you all for your time and attention and God bless us all.
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Long Live President Muhammadu Buhari.
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