The All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party had another round of debate to convince more people on why they should trust them with their votes in the 2019 elections.
In the Twitter debate organised by Tap Initiative, Gbenga Olorunpomi, Senior Special Assistant, Electronic Media, to the Governor of Kogi State, represented APC, while Ilemona Onoja, former spokesperson for the defunct Bukola Saraki Presidential Campaign Organisation represented the PDP.
Speaking on the current state of the Nigerian economy, Onoja faulted the Muhammadu Buhari administration’s economic policies, stating that government inconsistency, bad economic policies, and method of tackling corruption have also contributed to the current situation of the country.
“The govt’s ‘freeze/accuse first & investigate later’ approach to fighting corruption is also a critical factor. This approach has frightened investment is critical sectors of the economy and has dissuaded private sector spending in many quarters as there are genuine fears that the govt, which is more interested in weaponizing allegations of corruption against any than actually resolving incidents of corruption, will target unfairly (perhaps illegally) target individuals and corporates. The government’s haphazard approach to fighting corruption is a factor in Nigeria’s economic downturn,” he wrote.
Olorunpomo, however, disagreed with Onoja, stating that Foreign Direct Investment keeps increasing in the country.
“I disagree that the fight on corruption is chasing away investors because FDI keeps coming in by the millions of dollars. It increased by 435.64 USD Million in the second quarter of 2018. Investors know we are doing our best to protect their investment”, he said.
The APC representative also said the party, through its whistle-blowing policy, has recovered about N500billon and this has helped to reduce cases of corruption.
He continued: “The whistle-blowing policy introduced by this administration has yielded fruits. Only yesterday, the EFCC has said that the substantial part of the N500 billion recovered by the commission was through the whistle-blower policy.”
He added that institutions such as the EFCC, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau, Police are empowered by law to investigate and prosecute anyone found wanting on the issue of corruption and members of the public are encouraged to report cases of corruption against public officials even by the president through petitions. Onoja maintained that PDP commenced the whistleblower bill APC is using today.
“Practically every anti-corruption tool & agency was established by the party in its bid to combat corruption. Even the famed The Witness/Whistleblower Protection Bill (SB 158) was sponsored by Senate Minority Leader, Senator Biodun Olujimi who now serves as Minority Leader of the Senate, and merged with an earlier Bill (SB 157) sponsored by the late Senator Isiaka Adeleke.”
Commenting on the corruption tag of PDP, Onoja asserted that Nigeria’s ranking while the party was in power strengthened, attributing it to technological tools put in place by the government. He claimed that since the loss of the party at the 2015 elections, several of these gains have been reversed.
Contradicting Onoja, Gbenga posited that the campaign to rid the APC of the perception of systematic corruption will be long and expensive, adding that “What we have succeeded in doing is [ridding] us of grand corruption, which accounts for about 50% of public theft. No longer is the CBN getting orders to unilaterally and illegal fund political primaries. NPA is contributing more to coffers. FIRS is on track to hit N5.3tr in collections. JAMB is making so much, we have reduced price of forms. We have cut FG salaries by N6b a month by removing ghosts.”
He maintained that these actions by APC are yet to be reflected on the corruption perception and called on the world to note actions the party is taking to tackle corruption and put them on record.
“We intend to maintain this trajectory and, soon, we expect Nigerians, the world and TI to take notice, especially as ease of business improves and barriers to productive disappear. Let’s not forget. Corruption Perception Perception Index (CPI) score relates to perceptions of the degree of corruption as experienced by business people and analysts and ranges between 100 (highly clean) and 0 (highly corrupt).”
Tap Initiative, organisers of the Twitter debate, explained that the debate is to make the two major parties portray the tactics they hope to employ to demonstrate political will in the anti-corruption movement.
SOURCE :sahara reporters (news)