From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
CHAIRMAN residential Advisory Committee on war against corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), yesterday, declared that Nigeria would have completely become a failed state like Zimbabwe and disintegrated had former President Goodluck Jonathan won the 2015 presidential election.
Sagay, who expressed his dismay at the level of corruption that took place Goodluck’s administration said by now, the country would have been under the yoke of ferocious economic disaster if the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had not emerged.
He made the declaration as the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) disclosed that the Federal Government is on the verge of signing into law, a bill seeking to empower the anti-corruption agencies to recover stolen public assets.
The duo spoke separately in Abuja at the anti-corruption summit organized by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) in conjunction with ONE Africa to brainstorm on issues ahead of the May 12 global anti-corruption summit in London.
Prof. Sagay, who lamented that corruption is fighting back in Nigeria to frustrate Buhari’s anti corruption war disclosed that “those fighting back are corrupt Nigerians with huge war chest at their disposal.”
He said the painful aspect of it was that those fighting back are using looted funds to engage large number of senior lawyers to frustrate cases in court.
But, he lauded the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) which he said have taken care of unnecessary delays in the prosecution of criminal matters.
The professor of law disclosed that huge sums of money belonging to the country and earmarked for the procurement of arms to fight the Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East was looted under the administration of former president Jonathan.
He appealed to Nigerians to be patient with Buhari’s administration so that it can deliver on its promises.
“Given the unrestrained stealing and the enormous economic pillage under the Jonathan administration, it is not surprise that the Nigerian economy is lying prostrate. The present administration needs time to fill in the big holes that were left by the previous administration.
“It is, therefore, irrational for anybody with perverse mentality to say that they should bring back corruption. The truth is, if Jonathan had won the 2015 election, by now, Nigeria would have completely become a failed state like Zimbabwe with huge inflation rate of N10 billion, or probably all of us would have carried our little belongings to seek refuge in neighbouring countries.
“Nigeria would have witnessed a ferocious economic disaster if Buhari administration had not emerged. All that is going on now is the rebuilding process of the economy that was so destroyed by the previous administration. Those praying for the return of Jonathan should thank God for not answering their prayers because it would have been a terrible nightmare.
“We must be patient and rational in our thinking for the inevitable change of the Buhari administration to come. It will surely come, but it is not a magic wand.”