President Muhammadu Buhari said Sunday that he fulfilled his electoral promise to rid Nigeria of corruption by relentlessly fighting the menace during his eight-year administration.
“Fellow Nigerians, you know how dear the desire in my heart is to rid the country of corrupt practices that had consistently diminished our efforts to be a great country.
“I did pursue this commitment relentlessly, in spite of the expected pushback,” said Mr Buhari, who hands over power on Monday, in his farewell national broadcast on Sunday.
Mr Buhari will hand over power to the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, at an inauguration ceremony on Monday.
He said he was leaving office with “a modest sense of fulfilment”.
He also said his relentless fight against corruption was evidenced in the repatriation of “huge sums of money back to the country.”
“I did pursue this commitment relentlessly, in spite of the expected pushback. I am happy that considerable progress had been made in repatriating huge sums of money back to the country and also taken over properties illegally acquired from our commonwealth,” Mr Buhari said.
Data, anti-graft campaigners disagree
Although Nigeria has moved up four places in the latest 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), it did not improve on its previous year’s points, according to the latest index released by Transparency International (TI) earlier this year.
Despite maintaining its previous score of 24 out of 100 points in the 2021 assessment, Nigeria’s position went up to 150th in the new index compared to its 154th position out of 180 countries assessed in the 202 rankings.
The CPI is TI’s tool for measuring the levels of graft in the systems of various countries around the world. The maximum points a country can score is 100 points, and the least is zero. Zero signifies the worst score and 100 the best.
The Buhari administration recorded progress in recovering looted assets from within Nigeria and abroad, but took major missteps that are considered a major rollback on the success of the administration’s fight against corruption.
Many of the missteps are directly attributable to Abubakar Malami, who has held the pivotal office of the Attorney-General of Federation throughout the life of the administration.
About a month ago, Mr Malami, who carried on unchecked by Mr Buhari, controversially withdrew a N1.84 billion corruption case involving Nicholas Ashinze, a former military aide to then National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki.