Reno Omokri, former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, says the latest report by Transparency International (TI) “makes a mockery” of the African Union’s award to President Muhammadu Buhari as its anti-corruption champion.
On Wednesday, TI said in its latest corruption perception index (CPI) that Nigeria dropped from 136 in 2016 to 148 in 2017, out of the 180 countries surveyed.
During its last meeting, the AU had honoured Buhari as its anti-corruption champion in recognition of the “strides” the current administration has recorded in the anti-graft war.
In a statement on Thursday, Omokri said from the index, the AU “appears to be supporting corruption by making a man under whom corruption has increased its anti-corruption icon”.
He said the ranking is evidence that rather than fight corrupt practices, the current administration has decided to “clamp down on opposition”.
Omokri said unlike Buhari, Jonathan had “political will to fight corruption” and as such, recorded “significant progress” in the anti-graft war.
The statement read: “Having made such significant progress in improving Nigeria’s anti-corruption rating, it is very disappointing that in the latest CPI index, Nigeria has relapsed deeper into corruption and has moved 12 steps backwards from 136 to 148.
“We consequently advise that timely efforts should be made to stem the free fall of Nigeria into the abyss of corruption.
“Let us also respect the judiciary and not hound or intimidate them in an attempt to cow them into giving favourable judgments against perceived political opponents.
“Let us call a spade a spade and conduct a true anti corruption war rather than an anti opposition war. The days of hand cuffs for the opposition and hand outs for the cronies of the government must be put behind us.
“It does not help that in recent years, Nigeria has refused to obey valid court judgments in Nigeria and beyond Nigeria.
“It is to the great embarrassment of Nigeria that we who used to be the pillar of the ECOWAS sub region are now routinely cited for flouting judgments of the ECOWAS court. That ought not to be at all.”