President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday, January 9, 2015 challenged the Presidential candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari to release the blueprint he plans to use to tackle corruption and revive the country’s economy if elected president.
He made the call while addressing a massive crowd at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential campaign rally held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Stadium, Enugu.
President Jonathan enthused that his administration has so far fought corruption using modern methods unlike 1983 when Buhari threw innocent Nigerians into Kirikiri prison.
Mr. President said: “People keep accusing us of being corrupt; let them bear in mind that no nation can thrive with corruption. We hate corruption but the issue now is that they have not told us how they will deal with it. They should show us how they will manage the econony better than us. Let them unveil their blueprint.”
“I’ve told them that this nation must move forward. I cannot run the country based on my heartbeat but it ought to be based on global best practices. This is a man who jailed Dr Alex Ekwueme for no reason and also jailed Jim Nwobodo for 301 years because of allegation of corruption yet they were innocent. We must run Nigeria based on the rule of law.
“In a democracy, somebody is talking about throwing people into Kirikiri. That’s not what is expected in a modern democracy. We cannot go back to archaic way of fighting corruption. Today, salaries are paid through the electronic system, IPPIS for all federal workers; this has reduced corruption in the system. They want us to be fighting imaginary enemies; catch people, lock them up, show them on television and celebrate it. I can’t do that. The best way to stop robbery and corruption is to use technology.
“When we came on board, agriculture was a major avenue for stealing money but all that has changed; we adopted the technological way and today, farmers now get their fertilizers directly. By the time we finish with all the sectors, Nigeria would be completely rid of corruption. Also, their impression that everybody who flies private jet is corrupt is laughable. In other nations in America, Europe and Asia, businessmen who do genuine businesses have their private jets; are they now saying all those people are corrupt and should be thrown into Kirikiri?
“On the economy, we have the best hands managing the economy. Our Finance Minister is one of the best in the world today. They accused us of stealing the foreign reserve; it simply means they don’t know what foreign reserve is because nobody steals the foreign reserve. Buhari is coming with the same message he brandished in 1983 when he was a young man not knowing that things have changed. We cannot fight corruption his own way,” he noted.
On the issue of security, President Jonathan debunked claims that he hasn’t equipped the Nigerian military, stating that during the course of the administration, the military which hitherto had only one Frigate warship now has four, with plans already underway to build drones using indigenous hands.