Why Transparency International corruption index report on Nigeria is a sham

Former Chairman, Special Investigation Panel on recovery of Public Property, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla

By Okoi Obono-Obla

Transparency International is no doubt a respected Non-Governmental International Organization which is primarily devoted to internationally promoting and encouraging the virtues and ethics of accountability and transparency in the comity of nations across the world.

The a vowed mission of Transparency International is to stop corruption and promote transparency, accountability and integrity at all levels and across all sectors of society.

Conversely the core values of transparency international Our Core Values are: transparency, accountability, integrity, solidarity, courage, justice and democracy.

I was one upon a time the Cross-River State Secretary of Transparency in Nigeria (which is the Nigeria local group affiliated to Transparency International) some donkey years ago.

I used the platform of the group to fight corruption and graft in the administration of former Governor Donald Duke of Cross River State (1999-2007).

Donald Duke is one of the promoters of former President Olusegun Obasanjo so-called Coalition Movement that have vowed to campaign against a second term for President Muhammadu Buhari.

Transparency International is run by a Board of Directors that is under the or the appointment of an Advisory Council. The Advisory Council is a group of individuals with extensive experience in the areas of Transparency International’s work. They come from diverse geographical, cultural and professional backgrounds.

The council is appointed by the Board of Directors to advise them and to support the work of the organization as a whole. Olusegun Obasanjo is a member of the Advisory Council of Transparency International.

In so far as the recent activities of former President Olusegun Obasanjo are concerned in Nigeria political scene, I consider him as a major opponent of President Buhari.

So, there is a linkage or nexus with the influence and clout of Olusegun Obasanjo on the activities of Transparency International and his opposition to President Buhari which is manifest in the recent report of corruption index perception released by Transparency International that scored Nigeria a dismal low despite the unprecedented and tremendous efforts of the administration of President Buhari in fighting corruption in the country.

In that regard the report of Transparency International in so far as its concerns Nigeria is bias and therefore a sham.

It is far from the reality on ground. There is a fundamental principle of natural justice that says that no one should be a judge in his own cause. Olusegun Obasanjo’s membership of the Advisory Council of Transparency International has cast a pall and doubt on the integrity and credibility of its report as far as it involved Nigeria and the efforts of the present administration to cleanse the Augean stable of stench of corruption and graft was instituted by previous administrations in the country.

I say without fear or contradiction that if the report of Transparency International is not fiction, Nigeria would not have rated today by the World Bank as 145th position out of 190 countries in the Ease of Doing Business index for 2018 The World Bank stated recently in its Ease of Doing Business report titled, “Doing Business 2018: Reforming to create jobs”.

The report indicated that Nigeria had moved up by 24 points from 169th position on the 2017 ranking and also 170th position on the 2016 ranking to 145 in the World Bank’s 2018 report. Nigeria has been identified as one of the top five countries for growth acceleration for 2018. Other countries in the group include Kuwait, Oman, Kazakhstan and Tunisia.

Sovereign Direct Investment in Nigeria increased by 798.35 USD Million in the third quarter of 2017. Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria averaged 1317.76 USD Million from 2007 until 2017, reaching an all-time high of 3084.90 USD Million in the fourth quarter of 2012 and a record low of 501.83 USD Million in the fourth quarter of 2015. Foreign investors cannot pour into the country if Nigeria is p[received as notoriously corrupt as painted in the report of Transparency International.

A clear indication of foreign investor’s confidence in Nigeria is the fact that Nigeria’s finance minister, Kemi Adeosun said the country’s $1 billion Eurobond offered in the international market has been oversubscribed at an interest rate of 7.875%.

She said the Notes were approximately 8 times oversubscribed with orders in excess of US$7.8 billion compared to a pre-issuance target of US$ 1.0 billion. According to her, this demonstrated strong market appetite for Nigeria. “This is despite continued volatility in emerging and frontier markets and shows confidence by the international investment community in Nigeria’s economic reform agenda.”

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