The Senior Special Adviser to President Jonathan on public affairs has described Nigeria’s ranking as the 35th most corrupt country in the world as an improvement against when the country was ranked second on the list, just a few years ago.

Dr Okupe,  made this assertion  on  our breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, where he admitted that it is very unfortunate that corruption is in Nigeria but decried Transparency International’s failure to reckon with the progress made with the nation’s fight against corruption.

“Transparency International started the measurement of the perception index in year 2000 and in year 2000, Nigeria was second to the last….We were 180 out of 181 countries and this continued for about 5 or 6 years.”

“Now the position we are holding now is something we should be proud of, but you know it is not that we have not made any progress at all. In 2000 we were second to the last and today we are 35th as we have a President and government that is doing something, corruption is an endemic issue and the government is doing everything to combat and i have given many examples”

The President’s spokesperson decried what he claimed has an attitude in Nigerians whereby “what we are glad to talk about is the wrong things that happens to the country and we all revel in it.”

“I have said it and I am here to say it for the umpteenth time that there is more than enough evidence that there is corruption in Nigeria. I am not denying that there is no corruption in the country, it is unfortunate, it is sad, you know and I am also not disputing Transparency International’s rating.”

“If a country is extremely very corrupt, you have perception about something that has been sustained for so long and when changes begin to take place it takes time for you to notice it or to recognise it” he said as he lamented that Transparency International is not quick to update their data to reflect the tremendous progress in the fight against corruption in Nigeria by the present administration.

Okupe said it was the Jonathan administration that unearthed the corruption in the oil and gas industry, the pension fund and so the administration has not been overwhelmed by the corruption fight.

Meanwhile, another guest on the programme, Mr Gbenga Omolayole,a member of the Initiative for Democratic and Economic Advancement Strategy,  reacted swiftly to Okupe’s comments making a nonsense of his analysis saying that “the politician is trying to do his job very well but he’s got a very difficult job on his hands”.

Omolayole said several prominent Nigerians are undergoing corruption cases in different courts in Nigeria and they are at the same time being appointed as party leaders all over the country and to him that doesn’t make any sense.

Watch complete interview for more details.