President Goodluck Jonathan in his 52nd Independence Day broadcast on October 1st, 2012 told Nigerians that the global corruption watch body, Transparency International, rated Nigeria second after United States in anti-corruption efforts.
He was quoted as saying “In its latest report, Transparency International noted that Nigeria is the second most improved country in the effort to curb corruption. We will sustain the effort in this direction with an even stronger determination to strengthen the institutions that are statutorily entrusted with the task of ending this scourge.”
His statement has however raised up some controversy as findings have revealed that Transparency International never gave Nigeria such a rating. When Premium Times contacted Transparency International seeking a copy of its latest report which the President referred to in his speech, the group replied in an email saying it had no such report.
“Transparency International does not have a recent rating or report that places Nigeria as the second most improved country in the fight against corruption.”
The group said its most recent indexing of Nigeria’s corruption activities was in the 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, which measured perceived level of public sector corruption in the country. In that index, Nigeria scored 2.4 on a scale where 0 means highly corrupt and 10 means very clean. It was ranked 143 out of 183 countries.
This false information which many have tagged as a “lie” from the President has brought much shame to the Presidency and indeed to the country. How is it possible that something as important as an Independence Speech was prepared with false information? It is quite ridiculous.
It also puts a huge question mark to all other previous claims made by the Presidency.
However, in a recent statement by one of the Presidential aides on Media, Reno Omokri, the President’s statement was drawn from a Business Day report. As stated on the Federal Ministry of Information website: In a headline published on the 12th of September 2012 with the title ‘FG’s anti-corruption initiative impacts Nigeria’s global perception’ Business Day Newspaper said that “The survey on global corruption perceptions for 2011 versus 2001 show that the third best improvement in the world was in Nigeria, with its score improving by 1.5 points”.
The reports quoted above published by the newspaper were believed to be the true facts from dependable sources and used by the President in good faith which has not been disputed by the sources, Mr Reno said.
Although he claimed that Transparency International has not disputed their reports to the Presidency, Premium Times says otherwise. Findings from the Transparency International website also contradicts the President’s claims.
So then, who is responsible for the “lie”? And if you notice, the Business Day report says that Nigeria has the third best improvement in the world. Meanwhile, the President said that Nigeria is the second most improved country in the effort to curb corruption. Also, the Business Day report was published on the 14th of September on their website and not 12th of September like Mr. Reno said.
This is all too confusing…