Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday claimed that corruption in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan was what destroyed Nigeria’s economy.He added that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will never stop talking about it.
According to him, “Upon all I had seen in government in the past three years, the corruption of the five years of the Jonathan government is what destroyed the Nigerian economy.”
He insisted that the money withdrawn from the treasury before the election could have been used to develop infrastructure across the country.
Osinbajo said there was no country in the world that would allow its resources to be plundered in the way Nigeria’s resources were looted and shared and was still expected to be economically viable.
“Every time we talk about corruption, our opponents say don’t talk about it. Just do your own. But we must talk about it. The reason why we must talk about it is because we must let our people know that we can’t afford to go this way again.
“Never again should we allow a system where people take the resources of this country and steal the resources, use the resources against the people and at the same time they want to continue to rule the people.
“We as a party, as your government, must show the difference between us and the government and the party that impoverished our nation. Let me give you an example, in 2014 when oil was between $100 and $114 a barrel, the actual releases for capital expenditure to the three major Ministries of Power, Works and Housing – then they were three separate ministries – in total, was N99 billion. Transportation got N14 billion and agriculture N15 billion.
“Now let us compare that with capital releases to the same ministries in 2017 when oil prices were between $50 and $60 per barrel – N415 billion for power, works and housing, N80 billion for transportation and N65 billion for agriculture, totalling N560 billion at a time when we were earning at least 50 per cent less,” he pointed out.
Osinbajo said it was possible to get this much money to spend on developmental projects because the present government was not stealing public funds.
The vice-president thanked the president for giving him a free hand in the government’s social investment programme, noting that when the APC began its campaign in 2014, the party was determined to change the dominant narrative of Nigeria.
“We were determined to change the narrative on the country which is rich in natural resources and even richer in human capital but was being destroyed daily by the grand corruption and impunity through the looting of public resources.
“We saw a nation where a few had privatised the commonwealth while the majority of the people remained extremely poor. On one of our campaign trips to Zamfara State, Mr. President said look at the eyes of these people; of course, we saw poverty and desperation in their eyes.
“Then he said, ‘They expect us to fix the problem of their poverty as soon as we get into office’.”
This, he said, informed the decision to put N500 billion into the social investment programme. “We have seen today the empirical evidence of that success story,” he added.
Osinbajo also said that when the government enforced the implementation of the Treasury Single Account (TSA), it discovered that there was a lot of money in the system.
He also expressed regret that the PDP government that refused to budget for infrastructure development suddenly released and spent N100 billion in cash during the 2015 election, promising that the Buhari administration would continue to defend the rights of the poor people.
Osinbajo also said that those who benefited from corruption were fighting back, but vowed: “This government will not give up. We will continue to fight corruption.”
He restated that $3 billion was lost to the Strategic Alliance Agreement between a local oil and gas firm, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept and the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the upstream subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), noting that the $3 billion was the equivalent of the money spent by this government on road construction across the country.