The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 general elections, Peter Obi, on Tuesday declared that corruption is getting worse in Nigeria under the current government of the All Progressives Congress (APC) than ever before. Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State, who was a guest to ARISE News Morning Show on Tuesday monitored by National Daily from Lagos, maintained that corruption has gone out of control in the country and no one needs a third party or any external organization to tell Nigerians that corruption in now worse in the country. According to him, “corruption is getting worse in Nigeria as citizens don’t need the report of Transparency International (TI) to know that corruption is getting worse in the country.”
Obi, highlighting on the “State of the Nation” while speaking on the political economy of the country, maintained that corruption is being seen every day in Nigeria; he pointed out institutional failures that give stimulus to corruption in the country. He chided the government that often construe criticism or opposition views as attack, adding that leaders must learn to listen to truth.
Obi responding during the interaction with the programme presenters, declared in part: “Is corruption getting worse in Nigeria? Yes, we don’t need Transparency International to tell us that.
“We see it every day, we witness it every day, it is getting worse and we know it is getting worse.”
He pointed out that several criticisms are genuine and necessary for adjustment in governance, learning from every criticism, lamenting that such counsels are most of the time ignored by leaders who rather get infuriated when criticised or corrected.
Obi had stated: “We have to respect and learn to listen when people are telling us the truth. It is not only when it favours us. In fact, one of the leadership tools is for you to listen and learn whenever you are criticised genuinely.”
Nigeria went down with three slots, scoring lower points in the recent Transparency International index report on corruption across the world.
Nigeria ranks 149 from 180 countries in the 2020 corruption index computed by Transparency International, three slots below 146 ranking in 2019.
Moreover, Peter Obi chided the federal government for lack of openness in handling coronavirus infection in the country, stating that the management of COVID-19 has not been transparent in Nigeria, which ultimately creates room for corruption.
Obi emphasized that the Nigerian government established a vaccine production facility as early as 1940 but failed to maintain it. He bemoaned that today, the federal government projected budget for the procurement of coronavirus vaccines swallows greater allocation of the Ministry of Health budget for the year.
Obi also noted that the #EndSARS movement exposed a lot of secrets about Nigerian leaders and the issue of bad leadership, including corruption. He said that until people began to force open warehouses for coronavirus palliatives food items, no one knew such quantity of food was hidden by the politicians in government.
According to Obi, “When we talk about management from the onset, yes they are trying to do it in the Nigeria way which I think we should now be doing things differently. We now need to be doing things transparently and where people can see cost-effectiveness, savings and everything.
“That was why when you saw #EndSARS people were going to break warehouses, nobody knew those things were packed in warehouses.”
He maintained: “Nigeria as a country in 1940 established what we called National Vaccine Production facility domiciled in Yaba, and that was able to produce virtually all the vaccines we used in the days of smallpox, yellow fever, and that facility was shut down in 1991 to be refurbished and upgraded, there was nothing wrong with it.
“And till today, that has been the case deliberately so that people can import vaccine and sell to the government.
“Now, I hear that we are looking for N400 billion; well, I am loss, our budget this year for health is N547 billion.
“I don’t know if they are going to take this vaccine procurement from it, because if they do, we are actually left with N147 billion.
“The other one is already low and you’re going to worsen it if you do that and we say this year all we did in health is procurement.”
He pointed out that where the Nigerian government is buying the vaccines is another issue, cautioning for a destination and process that would reduce the cost of procurement.
Obi continued: “For the vaccine procurement, we also need to have transparency in the procurement. If they have a N400 billion budget to buy the vaccine, my suggestion, they don’t need to award contracts in this vaccine, let them just call Serum Institute in India and plead with them. I am sure they will even give us a discount, if they want, I can go for the negotiation.”
Obi was of the view that the government does not need to make excess buying but limit purchase to what is needed.
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