“The book has been trashed by many people, including the author. Anything in that book should not be taken serious.” – Issa-Onilu
Ndubuisi Orji and Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Two chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Seye Ogunlewe, a former Minister of Works, and Chief Dubem Onyia, also a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, have berated the Presidency for faulting the assertions by former President Goodluck Jonathan in his book ‘My Transition Hours’, that the fight against corruption and management of the economy were better under his administration.
Jonathan, who presented the book to the public last Tuesday, had faulted the approach of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government to the fight against corruption, even as he blamed the government for leading the country into economic recession.
But the Presidency in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media, Garba Shehu, accused Jonathan of playing the ostrich in its response, noting that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration had done better than the immediate past government in both the fight against corruption and management of the economy.
National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Kola Ologbondiyan, told Sunday Sun in Abuja that it was astonishing that the Presidency would attempt to shift blames for its failures when it was obvious that the APC-led Federal Government had destroyed the country.
Ologbondiyan said that instead of picking holes in the former president’s book, the government should address the issue of a recent report by the House of Representatives linking Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to alleged mismanagement of N5.8 billion intervention fund by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Ologbondiyan said: “The House of Representatives in a report just made a declarative statement on the person of the Vice President, under whose direct supervision is NEMA. What are they saying about that? What are they saying about humongous corruption that has pervaded the air under this administration? As we speak the nation is destroyed under this leadership. I think they should address that.”
Besides, the PDP spokesman said it was unfortunate that the Presidency was more interested in playing politics at a time the entire nation should be mourning the killing of soldiers by insurgents.
“Is that what we are saying at a time when our soldiers are being killed? Does that show that this government is responsive? When officers and men who are in defence of the territory are being murdered, they are busy politicking and politicising; does it show responsiveness? I think that this is the moment that calls for nationwide mourning. It is not a time to play politics,” he stated.
On his part, Onyia told Sunday Sun that the current administration was a complete failure both in the management of the economy and fight against corruption.
He said: “The only way you can determine whether this present government is serious about fighting corruption is by what they have done from the time they took over from 2015 till date. Have they been able to sanction, arrest and prosecute any of their own associates, officers that they appointed, who are alleged to be corrupt? For example, the issue of the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), who was indicted, has he been prosecuted and sent to jail? The issue of Maina, the pension issue, has anybody been indicted? Has any money been recovered and the issue of the former DSS boss, is he not walking about freely. Tell me one thing they have done to show that they are fighting corruption. They cannot be saying they are fighting corruption, where there are no evidences before Nigerians and the international community to show that they are fighting corruption. These things are as clear as daylight. You cannot compare Jonathan’s government with what is happening now.”
Similarly, Ogunlewe said that it was the policies and statement of the government, as well as its propaganda and inability to form the cabinet within its first six months that threw the country into a recession.
“Their pronouncement during those six months brought recession to Nigeria. They said you could not assess your money abroad with your ATM card. They made such pronouncement. In panic, everybody turned to withdraw their money. They said there would be no foreign exchange for school children studying abroad. People that were abroad were stranded; they couldn’t access their money. Eight billion dollar was removed from the system in panic. And we went into recession. Their pronouncement, their statement and their propaganda at that time heated the system. For- eign companies ran away and they are still running up till today.
“So, it is their statement and policies. Their statement was against international investors. And they ran away. For six months they couldn’t form a cabinet. So, there was instability in the system and it is their fault and they cannot go away with it. That is history. It is written down. It is what they said that drove away everybody,” the former minister stated.
He added that it was expected that the government would want to boast about fighting corruption, noting that it was the report of the report of international organisations like Transparency International that would give a clearer picture about whether there was more corruption under the Jonathan administration or under the APC-led Federal Government.
APC’s National Publicity Secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu, in his reaction described the book by former President Goodluck Jonathan, as tissue of lies, insisting that it is full of fallacies.
Issa-Onilu, who dismissed the contents of the book, added that nobody should pay any attention to the book.
“There has been adequate reactions from the Presidency and there is no need reacting again. For purpose of emphasis, they have described that book as elementary tales and I can tell you the book contains tissue of lies. He has equally come short of disowning the book when he claimed the content did not capture all his thoughts.
“The book has been trashed by many people, including the author. Anything in that book should not be taken serious. It has been proven that even President Jonathan won’t want to be associated with it.
“All the review has shown clearly that the book is full of fallacies. The APC should not glorify that book by wasting time to react to the content of that book. The content shows that it is a comic book only fit for elementary school…”