By Ajibola Emmanuel
The YMonitor Quarterly show held November 25, 2018, to discuss the citizens’ role in the fight against corruption – one of the greatest challenges facing Nigeria today; that upsets virtually all aspects of the nation’s socio-economic life and one of the reasons why the poverty level remains high.
Corruption has dominated Nigeria’s political sphere, and it has become a vital issue in electioneering, and social affairs. Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari made it the fore topic of his campaign prior to the 2015 general elections, and upon getting to office, his anti-corruption crusade began.
There have been gains in the fight against corruption, like the repatriation of funds stolen by the Abacha regime, the discovery of funds at Ikoyi, and the introduction of the whistleblower policy. There have also been instances where anti-graft agencies have adopted a passive stance towards corruption scandals, and this has led to doubts about their independence.
In attendance was Mr. Akintunde Babatunde, a programs and research officer with the Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism, and Mr. Linus Unah, an investigative journalist.
The fight against corruption formed the basis of the discussion on the quarterly show, as our panelists evaluated the activities of the government and anti-graft agencies in this fight. Using the case of the governor of Kano state, Abdullahi Ganduje, it was noted that the procurement process is where majority of corruption occurs, and for the anti-corruption fight to be effective, there has to be a transparent procurement process. It is shocking that the anti-graft agencies have not taken any action regarding this case; and last week Ganduje announced a donation of N10 million to the EFCC and ICPC – though the EFCC has since denied it.
The important role of the citizens in holding the government accountable was also highlighted, as this has the potential to create sanity in the system. Civil society in Nigeria have become a burden on the government because of their activities which involves monitoring government expenditure, tracking public project and investigate government to ensure transparency and accountability.
In addition, the panelists added that citizens must sign a social contract with elected officials that will be constantly reviewed to ensure politicians are delivering on their promises, and breaking this social contract means an end to the political representation.
Our guests maintained high optimism about the fight against corruption, and advocated for a review of laws to reflect the changing socio-political clime.
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