Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Mohammed Lukman, has described the recent Transparency International (TI) report of Corruption Perception Index (CPI) which rated Nigeria as one of the most corrupt countries in the world as a politically motivated assessment that could be used for campaigns by the opposition in 2023
Lukman, who faulted the claim that Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 points in the annual CPI, ranking the country as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, ranking 149 out of 183. said the report which was based on opinions without reliable evidences
The PGF boss in a statement titled, “Politicising Anti- Corruption Campaign in Nigeria” which he issued Tuesday in Abuja, described the report as a poor attempt to politicise the fight against corruption largely because it completely ignores all the empirical cases that should have to provide objective indicators for the performance of the Nigerian government.
“While it is important to stress that no government can be perfect and no government can successfully eliminate corruption, the CPI 2020 report on Nigeria presents a very bad approach to engage the Nigerian government in the fight against corruption.
“How can any report of Nigeria’s fight against corruption in 2020, for instance, completely ignore some of the landmark corruption cases in 2020 such as the order for a forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)?”
Faulting the report, Lukman said, “If the CPI report is in any way correct that Nigeria dropped three points in 2020 to 149 from 146 in the world ranking, how come Nigeria gained 15 points on the World Bank ranking of Ease of Doing Business, emerging to 131st from 146th? The issue, which is a source of frustration to both the government and every patriotic Nigerian should be the question of what needs to be done to accelerate the process of securing judgement in corruption trials.
“This is a matter that would require some reform of our criminal justice system. Without securing judgement leading to the conviction of corrupt public officials, the fight against corruption will be weak in the country. This is not a focus of the CPI.
“The challenge bordering on the management of our criminal justice system would appear to be responsible for the embarrassing situation whereby although judgements were secured in some corruption cases in Nigeria, which include the cases of Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu and Chief Olisah Metuh, they were reversed by Courts of Appeal and retrial ordered.
“Corruption is not a theoretical issue. It is a very practical challenge. It is beyond the perception of anyone. Where perception is to be our guide, we should be able to confirm it with evidence of reality. If TI can conveniently rely on perception, any serious Nigerian organisation should be able to corroborate perception with empirical cases of corruption.
“If one is to interpret the Nigeria CPI 2020 report, the conclusion is that the current government of APC under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has lost the fight against corruption. For us to be able to fight against corruption, based on the ‘perception by Nigerian businesses and country experts’, there has to be a change of government. This is the underlying narrative in the CPI report. It is basically more of a political campaign if you like for 2023.”