By Adedayo Akinwale
The Director General of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, has described the recently released Transparency International (TI) 2020 report of Corruption Perception Index (CPI), which claimed that Nigeria scored 25 out of 100 points as a political campaign ahead of 2023.
Lukman in a statement issued yesterday and titled, ‘Politicising Anti-Corruption Campaign in Nigeria’, said Nigerians, including local leaders of civil society groups and their international partners are free to make their political choices and decisions, but they should be transparent about it.
He said since the report was released, some Nigerians have intensified campaigns alleging that Nigeria is one of the most corrupt countries in the world, ranking 149 out of 183.
Lukman said given that it was a report of “perception by Nigerian businesses and country experts on the level of corruption in the public sector”, it was important to engage the issue beyond the media campaign.
He added that with or without the 2020 CPI report, this was the belief of most Nigerians and therefore, the 2020 CPI report only helped to advance the gullibility of most Nigerians with a report of survey of ‘perception by Nigerian businesses and country experts.’
The director general noted that the TI 2020 report should have helped clarify who the Nigerian businesses and experts were, adding that part of this created the difficulty in establishing the objectivity of their conclusions.
He stated: “If TI can conveniently rely on perception, any serious Nigerian organisation should be able to corroborate perception with empirical cases of corruption. If one is to interpret the Nigeria CPI 2020 report, the conclusion is that the current government of APC under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has lost the fight against corruption. For us to be able to fight against corruption, based on the ‘perception by Nigerian businesses and country experts’, there has to be a change of government.
“This is the underlying narrative in the CPI report. It is basically more of a political campaign, if you like, for 2023. Nigerians, including local leaders of civil society groups and their international partners are free to make their political choices and decisions. But they should be transparent about it. It mustn’t be a case of shadowboxing Nigerian citizens and forcing them to kowtow political choices fraudulently because Nigerian citizens are committed to the fight against corruption.”
The party chieftain said instead, all that the 2020 CPI report are alleged lack of transparency in Covid-19 pandemic responses, nepotism in public service appointment, lack of adequate anti-corruption legal frameworks and interference by politicians in the operation of law enforcement agencies, prevalence of bribery and extortion in the Nigerian police and security sector corruption.
Lukman stated: “Without evidence to validate these allegations, any conclusion will be highly subjective. The point about nepotism in public service appointments, popular as it may be, is subjective and may require a more holistic assessment of appointments made in order to validate any allegation of nepotism. To that extent therefore conclusions based on perception can only be subjective. “