Former Nigerian president, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, on Monday at the famous Oxford Union, Oxford United Kingdom, admitted that there were instances of corruption under his government, but pointed out that reports about such instances were blown out of proportion.
Disclosing that “there are (even now) still corruption issues”, he pointed out that the exaggerated manner in which cases of corruption under his administration were reported paints a very bad picture of the country to the outside world.
This was as he disputed the claim by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), who served as the National Security Adviser, NSA, during his administration, cornered $2.2 billion.
“Yes, there were some issues; yes, there are still corruption issues; but some of it were blown, I’d say exaggerated, and they give a very bad impression about our nation. You cannot say the national security adviser stole $2.2billion. It is not just possible,” he said.
The former president held that the purported stealing was “not just possible” after his administration procured several equipment for the country’s military.
His words, “They said the National Security Adviser stole $2.2billion. I don’t believe somebody can just steal $2.2 billion. We bought warships, we bought aircraft, we bought lots of weapons for the army and so on and so forth and you are still saying 2.2 billion, so where did we get the money to buy all those things?”
Jonathan however posited that he would rather allow the legal processes to reveal the facts, as some of the corruption cases were still in court, and that he did not want to appear as challenging the incumbent government
He continued that “one thing about the issue of corruption is that these matters are in court, let’s allow some of these processes to end. Lately some judges’ (homes) were also invaded. There are so many things involved and we have to follow up these matters to conclusion before we know the fact.
“I don’t want to be seen as a former president challenging what the sitting government is doing so I have decided to keep quiet for the court to look into them,” he said.
The ex-president averred that allegations of corruption were not unique to his administration, explaining that governments had been overthrown in the past because they were accused of being corrupt, only for the new administration itself to be pushed out by another junta touting the anti-corruption mantra.
“You will see that it has become a major topic whenever there is a change of government,” he said.
Arguing that corruption was a global problem, the former president stated that the perception of corruption was greater in Nigeria due to the Nigerian media’s obsession with reporting on corruption.
Hear him, “I am not saying there is no corruption in Nigeria, there is corruption. If you look at corruption there is almost no country that is free, the degree varies, the perception varies.
“Transparency International talks about the way corruption is being perceived in different economies, why do we talk about the way corruption is being perceived, it depends on the issue raised in the media every day.”