Federal ministers under the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, on Sunday declared support for the planned probes by President Muhammadu Buhari of their tenures in office but cautioned him against any form of witch-hunt.
The ministers, who decried the lynch mentality created by the current administration to discredit their contributions while in office, said their former boss, Goodluck Jonathan, never supported corruption noting that he fought corruption vigorously, within the context of the rule of law and due process.
The ministers further declared that the improvements that were currently noticed in the power sector, national security, social services and other sectors were results of the foundations laid by the last administration.
They dared Buhari to release copies of the hand-over notes he received from Jonathan’s administration.
The former ministers stated these in a statement signed on their behalf by former minister of National Planning, Dr Abubakar O. Suleiman.
The statement read in part, “we, the Ministers who served under the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan administration, have watched with increasing alarm and concern the concerted effort by the Buhari administration and members of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to condemn, ridicule and undermine the efforts of that administration, in addition to impugning the integrity of its individual members.
“While we concede that every administration has the right to chart its own path as it deems fit, we nevertheless consider the vilification of the Jonathan administration, to be ill-intentioned, unduly partisan, and in bad faith.
“The effort that has been made to portray each and every member of the Jonathan administration as corrupt and irresponsible, in an orchestrated and vicious trial by media, has created a lynch mentality that discredits our honest contributions to the growth and development of our beloved nation.
“We are proud to have served Nigeria and we boldly affirm that we did so diligently and to the best of our abilities. The improvements that have been noticed today in the power sector, in national security, and in social services and other sectors did not occur overnight.
They are products of solid foundations laid by the same Jonathan administration.”
They noted that contrary to what the APC and its agents would rather have the public believe, the Jonathan administration did not encourage corruption.
They said “it fought corruption vigorously, within the context of the rule of law and due process. For the benefit of those who may have forgotten so soon, it was the Jonathan administration that got rid of the fraud in fertilizer subsidies, which had plagued the country for decades. This helped to unleash a revolution in agricultural production and productivity.
“It was also the Jonathan administration that supported the institutional development of strong systems and mechanisms to curb corruption in the public service and plug revenue leakages. These included the development of the Government Integrated Financial Management Platform, The Single Treasury Account (TSA), and the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Management Systems (IPPIS), in addition to the biometric registration of civil servants and pensioners which saved the country over N100 billion paid to ghost workers and ghost pensioners.
“To ensure greater transparency and integrity in the oil and gas sector, the Jonathan administration ordered investigations and put mechanisms in place to check the theft of Nigeria’s crude oil.
“It was also under the Jonathan administration that a Nigerian Content policy was introduced, which opened up that sector to Nigerians in a manner that was not previously the case.
“It was also the Jonathan administration that mobilized and secured the support of our neighbouring countries to ensure a robust multinational response to the menace of terrorism and insurgency, resulting in notable advancements in the fight against terror.
“President Jonathan personally initiated the collaboration that led to these advancements and ensured that Nigeria provided the needed financial support for the Multinational Joint Task Force.
“It was the Jonathan administration that repaired and rehabilitated over 25, 000 kilometres of our nation’s roads. Nigeria also became a profitable and preferred investment-friendly destination. It was under President Jonathan, for example, that Nigeria’s electric power sector became more competitive and attractive to local and foreign investments.
“The same administration promoted the rule of law, free speech, fundamental human rights, and a robust freedom of information regime. Women’s rights to participate in public life and the Federal Character principle as well as other Constitutional principles were also respected.
“In every respect, our administration promoted inclusive governance and encouraged all stakeholders including the private sector to play key roles in the transformation of Nigeria.
“It should also not be forgotten that the Jonathan administration strengthened electoral institutions and created a peaceful environment for democracy to thrive. On this score, it is sad and ironic that the chief beneficiaries of that same legacy are the most vociferous today in condemning President Jonathan and his team.”
While they charged the new administration and the APC to be fair enough to acknowledge the good works of the Jonathan administration, they dared them to be sincere enough to publish the details of the hand over notes they received.
The former ministers who admitted that no administration can be either completely bad or completely good, however urged the current administration to acknowledge the achievements of its immediate predecessor and build on it.
“We also urge him to press on with the anti-corruption fight, but in a fair and non-partisan manner, in line with due process, and not as a political witch-hunt.
“The various lies and fabrications being peddled by some self-appointed spokespersons of the administration may entertain the unwary, but such sensationalism may achieve the unintended effect of de-marketing our country within the international community.
“All such persons playing to the gallery for whatever gains should be called to order. The name-calling of members of the Jonathan administration and the trial by news media should also stop.
“We encourage President Buhari to continue with the probes, but this must be in strict accordance with his oath of office to treat all Nigerians equally and with the fear of God.
“We have reserved our comment until now, in the fervent hope that once the euphoria that may have inspired the various attacks on the past administration wears off, reason will prevail.
“But we are constrained to speak up in defence of the legacy of the Jonathan administration, and shall do so again, for as long as those who are determined to rubbish that legacy, are unrelenting in their usual deployment of blackmail, persecution, and similar tactics.”
Deborah Samuel: Gov Tambuwal relaxes curfew
Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State government has relaxed the 24-hour curfew he imposed on the state capital following violent protest over the arrest of some youths allegedly involved in the killing Deborah Samuel, a 200-level student.
Tambuwal in a statement issued by his Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Isah Bajini, said the revised curfew will now be from dusk to dawn in Sokoto township.
The statement noted that “Sequel to the briefing by the security heads in the State, the State Governor, Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has ordered the relaxation of the 24-hour curfew in force in Sokoto metropolis
“The revised curfew will now be from dusk to dawn in Sokoto township. This is with a view to affording people the window to pursue their legitimate businesses and other means of livelihood.”
Recall that following the lynching of the 200-level student for allegedly insulting Prophet Mohammed, the State’s police command arrested some persons linked to the incident.
However, a large number of Muslim boys who were angered by the arrest, stormed the streets in the State on Saturday, demanding the release of the suspects.
The development, which triggered tension in several parts of the State, made the Governor to impose the curfew.
Arsonists burn down LG secretariat, Magistrate Court in Anambra
Suspected arsonists have burnt down Idemili North Local Government secretariat in Ogidi and a Magistrate Court in the area.
Sources said the arsonists entered the premises on Sunday night to perpetuate the act, burning down all files, properties in the secretariat, including the secretariat building.
Videos and pictures circulating online showed that the entire buildings were reduced to rubbles, while vehicles parked inside the Local Government secretariat were also burnt to ashes.
The State Police Command has also confirmed the development, attributing it to unidentified arsonists.
DSP Toochukwu Ikenga, the spokesperson of the State Police Command said: “Yes, the incident was confirmed, and our men were there to restore normalcy.
“Right now, the fire has been put off, and calm has been restored to the area,” Ikenga said.
National Assembly transmits amended Electoral Act to Buhari
The National Assembly has transmitted the amended Electoral Act 2022 to the Presiden Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
The bill was transmitted to the Presidency on Friday.
Sources in the Presidency and the National Assembly confirmed the transmission.
A source in the Presidency, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as he had not been authorised to announce the development officially, said, “Yes, it has been transmitted. But wait till Monday when it may be announced when the President will sign it.”
Another source in the National Assembly said, “It was transmitted on Friday. I needed to confirm it before saying anything.”
It was further learnt that Buhari would sign the amendment ahead of primaries of political parties beginning next week.
The Senate and the House of Representatives had last week passed an amendment to the Act to recognise statutory delegates at primaries, congresses, and conventions of political parties.
The lawmakers particularly amended Section 84(8) of the Act to provide automatic or statutory delegates, ahead of the forthcoming party primaries, from where candidates would emerge for the 2023 general elections.
In March, the National Assembly had passed the bill for the Act while the President signed it into law.
While political parties are close to conducting primaries to elect candidates for the 2023 general elections, the Act did not allow members elected into public offices and executives of the parties, known as statutory delegates, to participate and vote in the conventions, congresses, or meetings of parties.
The chambers had described the omission as “a fundamental error.”
Without the provision by the law, Buhari; the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN); members of the National Assembly, governors and their deputies, members of the State Houses of Assembly, chairmen of local government areas, councillors, executives of political parties, amongst others, would have been disenfranchised.
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