Members of the cabinet of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan have demanded that the Muhammadu Buhari administration give due credit to their former boss for numerous achievements.
In a statement distributed today, and signed by Abubakar O. Suleiman, a former Minister of National Planning, on behalf of ministers who served under the Jonathan administration, the ex-ministers stated that had “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.”
The statement accused the Buhari administration of vilifying the Jonathan in a way that was “ill-intentioned, unduly partisan, and in bad faith.”
According to Mr. Suleiman, the current government and ruling party had portrayed each and every member of the Jonathan administration “as corrupt and irresponsible, in an orchestrated and vicious trial by media [that] has created a lynch mentality that discredits our honest contributions to the growth and development of our beloved nation.”
The former ministers expressed pride in their service to Nigeria and affirmed that 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 claimed that the Jonathan administration launched a vigorous fight against corruption “within the context of the rule
of law and due process.” The statement continued: “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.”
The former ministers also credited the Jonathan administration with enthroning “greater transparency and integrity in the oil and gas sector” by investigating the theft of the country’s crude oil and designing the mechanisms to check it.
They declared that Mr. Jonathan’s administration introduced “a Nigerian Content policy” that opened up the oil sector to Nigerians “in a manner that was not previously the case.”
Mr. Suleiman’s statement on behalf of members of the Jonathan Presidency gave credit to the former president for mobilizing and securing “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.”
The statement also listed a myriad of other achievements by the Jonathan administration. These include the repair and rehabilitation of more than 25, 000 kilometers of Nigerian roads; Nigeria’s status as “a profitable and preferred investment-friendly destination;” ensuring that Nigeria’s electric power sector became more competitive and attractive to local and foreign investments; promotion of the rule of law, free speech, fundamental human rights, and a robust freedom of information regime; and the promotion of women’s rights “to participate in public life and the Federal Character principle” in addition to fostering respect for constitutional principles.
“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.
Perhaps the new administration and the APC would be sincere enough to publish the details of the hand-over notes they received.”
Mr. Suleiman challenged the Buhari administration to be “fair enough to acknowledge the good works of the Jonathan administration,” insisting that no administration could be “either completely bad or completely good.”
The statement demanded acknowledgment of “President Jonathan’s achievements in moving this country to greater
heights,” urging Mr. Buhari “to build on these achievements.”
The former ministers asked the current administration 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.”
According to the statement, the Buhari administration’s self-appointed spokespersons were peddling “various lies and fabrications” that “may entertain the unwary, but such
sensationalism may achieve the unintended effect of de-marketing our country within the international community.” It continued: “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.”
The former ministers expressed hope that “the euphoria that may have inspired the various attacks on the past administration” would wear off, enabling reason to prevail. “But we are constrained
to speak up in defense 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,” the statement concluded.