A new book titled, “Fighting Corruption is Dangerous: The Story Behind the Headlines,” which is written by a former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has revealed insider details that will impact Nigeria’s political economy for a very long time.
According to the book which is meant to contribute to the global understanding of the challenges that reformers face when fighting corruption in developing countries, former President Goodluck Jonathan’s concession in the 2015 elections to Muhammadu Buhari, was a decision he reached on his own with little or no prodding from outside forces.
Okonjo-Iweala in the new book, detailed what happened on that fateful day when unknown to all present at the presidential residence in Aso Villa on March 31, 2015, the then president had already spoken to his rival in the presidential election, Buhari, and conceded while various high level government officials and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) bigwigs were discussing whether or not he should concede.
ThisDay reported that Okonjo-Iweala revealed that with the room full of people giving conflicting advice, she leaned towards the president, who was seated by her, to impress it upon him the importance of conceding before the results were completely collated and announced, and that he listened to her whispered words and then spoke loudly in response to the hearing of everyone in the room, “It is done. A few minutes ago, I called to congratulate President-elect Buhari.”
In her book, the former finance minister also recalled the support she got from Jonathan over her refusal to pay spurious subsidy claims and bogus judgment debts to oil marketers and other individuals respectively.
While admitting that certain high level persons were convicted, the book expresses frustration that not more corrupt people were convicted during the Jonathan administration even while acknowledging that this may have been due largely to the slow pace of the Nigerian judiciary.
The much-awaited book, which the minister describes as “a personal account of an important aspect of my work in government – fighting corruption” renders the moving and insightful tale of her experiences while serving in the Jonathan government.
The former minister states in her book that she was inspired to write the book in order to make sense for herself and others who have asked to know what was behind the attacks she suffered after leaving office, to highlight the efforts made by the Jonathan administration to fight corruption based on her personal experience, and to “shed light on the perils, pitfalls, and successes of confronting corruption”.
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