Former President Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, defended his government’s record on fighting corruption and denied his successor’s assertion that the country’s Treasury was left empty when he handed over power last year. Jonathan, 58, was succeeded in May 2015 by President Muhammadu Buhari, who accused the previous administration of looting billions of dollars and leaving the country’s finances “virtually empty,” Vanguard reports.
“There’s no way he would have inherited an empty Treasury,” Jonathan said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in London, adding “It’s not possible.” Nigeria’s economy is contracting after a decline in the price of Brent by about half since the middle of 2014. Crude exports accounted in 2014 for as much as two-thirds of government revenue, with most state budgets relying on monthly handouts from the federal administration.
Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, said last month that a long-delayed 2016 budget might not be fully implemented. The cash crunch has dampened optimism around the election of Buhari who campaigned on an anti-corruption platform, beating Jonathan in the first election victory by an opposition candidate in the nation’s history.
Jonathan said his administration did “very well” in the fight against corruption. Former President Goodluck Jonathan expressed confidence that the authorities could reach an agreement with militants in the Niger Delta to stop their attacks that had slashed production of Africa’s biggest oil producer. “Definitely, it will be resolved,” Jonathan, said in an interview at Bloomberg’s offices in London on Monday. “Yes, government can always overcome restive movements and so on, but the Niger Delta is too delicate.
The level of damage will be too much for the government to bear. We used dialogue.” Jonathan was vice-president when Nigeria’s government offered an amnesty and monthly stipends to militants to end years of instability, which had cut oil output.