The Presidency has defended President Muhammadu Buhari, saying he has achieved a lot in the area of fighting corruption in the seven months of his administration.
The Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said this in a statement on Wednesday while reacting to a recent report by the Centre for Democracy and Development
According to the report, Buhari had only achieved one out of his 222 tracked electoral promises, representing 0.5 per cent of the promises.
The CDD had based its report on critical sectors such as security, the economy, fighting corruption, oil and gas, agriculture, and social and environmental sectors.
But the presidential spokesman said it was mischievous to attribute to the President promises he did not make during the campaigns and hold him accountable.
While advising leaders of the CDD to rise above what he called petty partisanship and stop misleading Nigerians, Shehu said any unbiased person would recognise the achievement so far made by Buhari in curbing corruption.
According to him, no sincere Nigerian will fail to recognise the courage of the President to tackle corruption in a country where impunity was once celebrated.
The presidential spokesman added that within seven months, Buhari had successfully blocked the leakages in the system.
He said as a result of these efforts, the Nigeria Customs Service had quadrupled its revenue base within seven months, a feat the service could not achieve in years.
“Doesn’t the President deserve credit for this and other efforts to confront the monster of corruption?” Shehu asked.
On the economy, he said it was wrong to blame the President for the falling oil prices in the world market, a challenge which he said had made Buhari lay emphasis on economic diversification.
He recalled that President Barack Obama of the United States had inherited an economy in crisis in 2009 and was not judged in his first seven months in office.
Shehu explained that in the case of Buhari, it was a double tragedy because he inherited an economy in crisis on account of declining oil revenues and an economy also ravaged by large-scale corruption.
He, however, said progress was being made in recovering the nation’s stolen funds.
He said an escrow account had been opened for that purpose.
Shehu added, “He (Buhari) is making good strides towards improving governance by tackling corruption. Till date, a good number of persons believed to have collectively stolen billions from taxpayers have been arrested and are facing the courts.
“We are working with our allies across the world from Britain and America to France and Germany to China and the UAE to source, locate and repatriate misappropriated funds.
“So far, an escrow account has been opened for money that is being returned. This is only the start. The return of stolen funds is important, but it is just as critical to ensure that those who seek to steal realise that no longer will there be such impunity in Nigeria.”
He said Buhari’s war against corruption and terrorism had become a template for Africa and the rest of the world.
The presidential spokesman said it was, however, ironic that at home, some individuals were not prepared to give these successes the recognition they deserved.
Shehu said, “The latest CDD episode is a shocking reminder to their failed attempt to hold the President to ‘100 promises in 100 days’ which disastrously crashed on the head of the proponent.
“The elevation of the act to a new high of 220 promises is a knee-jerk reaction that seeks to play to the gallery and score points against the President.”