TI Report: Group accuses Transparency International, local NGOs of smear campaign to tarnish Buhari’s image

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Transparency International (TI) has been fingered at the centre of a devilish alliance with disgruntled elements in the country, parading as non-governmental organisations, to tarnish President Muhammadu Buhari’s reputation.

The National Transparency Initiative (NTI) raised the alarm on Wednesday during a press conference in Abuja.

Addressing the media on behalf of the group, Secretary-General,
Elder Tony Odey said Transparency International’s poor rating of Nigeria in its latest corruption index is aimed to undermine President Buhari’s legacy on corruption.

He noted that this is orchestrated by certain Nigerians with foreign interests to undermine the country’s sovereignty and integrity.

Odey singled out Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Musa, former ministers, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Oby Ezekwesili to be chief drivers of this calumny campaign.

According to him, the trio and their cohorts portray the country and President Buhari in a bad light in the international community for their personal agenda.

He revealed that they begin the process by lining up respondents to provide responses that will skew the outcome of the survey in a manner that project Nigeria as a country that is exceptionally more corrupt than other nations.

The National Transparency Initiative, though, expressed concern at the implication of such a negative reputation for the nation as it relates to investors.

The group, however, advised TI to disambiguate its report for Nigeria and specifically show what states are responsible for the rating it is giving the country.

It also warned the disgruntled Nigerians to call off their offensive and focus on things that would truly advance the wellbeing of Nigerians.

Read the full statement below:

Transparency International (TI) recently published its Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for the year 2020, which placed Nigeria on the 149th position of the 180 countries it reportedly surveyed.  Because TI’s fixation of Nigeria on this slot is no longer news, its proxies in the country have resorted to dramatizing the survey by celebrating how Nigeria is now West Africa’s second most corrupt country.

The National Transparency Initiative (NTI) finds it odd that the purveyors of this demarketing report went to town to celebrate their achievement as if a negative rating is something to be proud of. As confounding as this macabre celebration of Nigeria’s corruption rating is, it is necessary to properly situate the reason for the joy being expressed by these detractors of Nigeria. These are people with long-running contracts with foreign interests to undermine the sovereignty and integrity of Nigeria and constantly framing the country as corrupt is one of the myriad strategies they have adopted to achieve this dark objective.

Without mincing words, NTI is specifically calling out Auwal Musa “Rafsanjani” who is the Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Head of Transparency International Nigeria. It is pertinent to disclosed that Rafsanjani is on the board of Amnesty International (AI), another International NGO that has fully deployed to harass the Federal Government of Nigeria and government institutions to prevent them from doing their job. The deployment of Transparency International and Amnesty International is such that the former uses corruption as a basis to block Nigeria’s ability to procure critical military hardware to fight Boko Haram/ISWAP insurgency while the latter replicates the same tactic while citing human rights abuses on the part of security forces.

World Trade Organization hopeful, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is another of the disgruntled elements that stoke TI to undermine Nigeria. In her case, it is easy to see what she stands to gain. She finds it necessary to instigate conditions that exonerate the governments she served in the past from being properly branded as corrupt. Recall the double-faced character of this woman who as Obasanjo’s Finance Minister keened endlessly that Nigeria must pay off its debts to move forward only the same person as Goodluck Jonathan’s Finance Minister to come out say Nigeria cannot survive without borrowing. What was never revealed to Nigerians is that facilitating the repayment under Obasanjo attracted commissions on the transaction amount just the loans obtained under Jonathan had incentives for those who brokered them. She definitely knows about corruption.

We are not losing sight of Mrs Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili, the fanatical hater of President Muhammadu Buhari, who is fortunately awake to the fact that the likes of Oby should not be allowed anywhere near public office given the damage she can do to the country through the implementation of phantom reforms that do not endure the test of even one month of her being out of office. Like the unholy combo of TI and Amnesty international, Oby combines a dangerous mix of being an anti-corruption activist, human rights activist and security activist to hound the government at every turn. She actively suggests to the TI-AI circuit how best to undermine the government’s image and she does this without thoughts to the fact that she was once a member of the Federal Executive Council like Okonjo-Iweala and should be more circumspect where the wellbeing of the country is at stake.

There are a whole lot of these disgruntled persons with selfish interests that have been driving the campaign of calumny against Nigeria using Transparency International. They start this process by lining up respondents to provide responses that will skew the outcome of the survey in a manner that project Nigeria as a country that is exceptionally more corrupt than other nation. Whereas, if the process is conducted without being tainted with the animosity that the Rafsanjani crowd harbours against the government of the day the result will show significant improvement owing to the efforts that the government has made.

National Transparency Initiative is concerned at the consequences that this obsession with demonizing President Muhammadu Buhari is having on the overall perception of Nigeria. President Buhari will complete his tenure and leave office but the bad reputation that has been tagged on the country will remain. This has consequences for the confidence investors repose in Nigeria as a business destination and in the contemporary business environment that is highly globalized the implication is that the demarketing of Nigeria will starve the country of business opportunity, which will lead to unemployment that will then fuel desperation and lead to actual corruption.

Attacking the Federal Government with the blackmail of corruption each time CPI is published also distract attention from the exact spots Nigerians should focus on. The States. The bulk of the anecdotal incidences that TI uses to compile its index about Nigeria are at the state level, which means that the Federal Government is being made to take the fall for the wrongdoings committed at the state level, which the government at the centre cannot do anything about since this will amount to being dictatorial. TI and its cheerleaders are eager to push President Buhari into wielding the big stick, which he has no constitutional backing to wield, on state governors so that they can brand him a dictator.

TI and its circuit of liars must also situate the roles that individuals play in the instances of corruption being reported. It is not enough to cite how people reported giving a bribe as it is pertinent that the bribe givers should also be recognized and held accountable as an enabler of corruption instead of being packaged as heroes by TI, Rafsanjani and company. They should look inwards and see how the bogus honoraria and allowances they pay participants at their brainwashing workshops and conferences are also a form of inducement that amount to corruption. The desperation of the beneficiaries of such payments to qualify for future payments is what leads them to fabricate lies about corruption, which in itself is corruption.

Our thoughts are that if TI is serious about reporting corruption then it should disambiguate its report for Nigeria and specifically show what states are responsible for the rating it is giving the country. Since it has consistently treated Nigeria as a county if interest this should not be difficult for it to achieve.

In the meantime, we urge the alliance of the disgruntled that is weaponizing the CPI to harass the government of President Buhari to call off their offensive and focus on things that would truly advance the wellbeing of Nigerians. Nigerians live in their own country and they can relate first-hand about how things have changed for the better in terms of how it is no longer easy for people to pocket government money and covert same to personal use. It will therefore take more than a jaundiced TI report to tarnish President Buhari’s legacy on the war against corruption.

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