BY TAHIR MAHMOOD SALEH
A situation like this when corruption infiltrates all angles and sectors including the anti-graft agencies and civil Society Organizations in Nigeria, then we are in serious danger, it can be particularly devastating, threatening hard gained improvements in human and economic development, security, and population health. Yet, the multifaceted and complex nature of corruption makes it extremely difficult to tackle, despite its enormous costs, which have been estimated in billions. While for those that are charged with corruption allegations always come up with ill and sickness tactics to boycott the investigations either in courts or at the national assemblies.
Numerous public initiatives have attempted to mitigate the observed consequences of corruption in Nigeria, thus include the ICPC, EFCC, Code of Conduct, Anti Corruption Units in all federal parastatals, Public Complains and Anti Corruption. Anti-Corruption Commissions can be helpful in alleviating corruption issues and strengthening accountability among service providers.
A sampling of these include reducing costs by bulk purchasing of supplies, public hiring and management of personnel in order to keep human resources “in-house”. These initiatives reflect efforts to internally manage and control delivery to safeguard basic standards and improve quality. However, these efforts may have had the opposite effect. They have served to fuel corruption and erode quality precisely because institutions managers and employees are milking down the economy of the country for themselves and their families.
Coming up with Anti-corruption Institute in Kano State deserves an applaud not a political view, Barr Muhy Magaji deserves a medal for this idea, the Institute supposed to conduct researches on the sociological and psychological aspects of corruption, at the same time serving as a capacity-building center for the people working in anti-corruption agencies and projects. I believe the number of corruptions that’s all days on increase should be studied, the attitudinal and behavioral change on corruptions should be given a high priority while the punishment on the other side.
Managing Public Complain and Anticorruption Commission needs a strong man, no-nonsense, considerate, capable of standing for the justice, truthful apolitical, sincere and faithful being and thus what Riming Gado is. I was shocked during the lockdown when I heard him over the radio fighting against hoarding and price skyrocketing in the state, I was like is this development really going on in my state, at the same time having an issue with public office holder, allegedly siphoning public commodities meant for palliative support to poor people.
Establishing desk offices in the 44 local governments of public complaint is indeed a great achievement while having public trust is the greater achievement. All days attending to huge number of peoples complains, mediating, resolving and filing unresolved to courts.
Today many civil society organizations are planning and implementing anti-corruption projects to specifically improve service delivery and openness in the governments’ activities. Fundamentally, a lack of accountability derives from a number of factors, including inadequate management, lack of oversight, poor training, and an absence of performance incentives, which in turn make accountability impossible.
Advocacy is more powerful with partnerships between civil society organizations at the national level, that have access to decision-makers, and the local level, who can ensure that service delivery is supported by systematic or policy changes. Engaging constructively with authorities is the most effective way to resolve issues and achieve change.
The Institute would serve as a training arena for all arms of government and other non-governmental organizations to conduct researches and learn towards evolving a homegrown anti-corruption approaches that reflect the peculiarities of the Nigerian context especially Kano State. Going against it using baseless political affiliations is uncalled for, most especially from the uncultured youth on social media that give regards to no one in the Arewa they always shout for, this is not in the culture of Arewa.
This is not a rejoinder to the video allegation, but let’s ask ourselves is collecting 10% from contracts awardees’ Haram for all the Kano State Governors? If it was legalized so even if that was the same 10% from the contracts then we wasted our times on a baseless topic of discussion for those that blamed Rimin Gado on not treating the file.
Corruption is a killer disease but still no country with zero percentage of corruption, all attempts of prevention and punishment is on reducing the percentage of corruption to the barest minimum but not zeroing it. Social auditing is one of the most successful mechanisms in the fight against corruption it was tested in many countries that include India and South Africa I would prefer it as a citizen-driven mechanism in the fight against corruption.
Countries that were ranked in the corruption perception index like Somalia does not mean they cannot rectify the ugly situation using the behavioral and attitudinal change. While countries that were ranked high like New Zealand and Denmark that scored 9.5 out of 10 (2011) does not mean they have zero percent of it. Having a working anti-graft agency with well trained personnel from anti-corruption centers like the recently established in Kano would contribute towards scoring high. Note that the Index only measures public sector corruption, ignoring the private sector. More so Media outlets frequently use the raw numbers as a yardstick for government performance, without clarifying what the numbers mean.
Trained and supported volunteer citizen committees can be powerful agents to identify corruption and push for improvements, even on technical issues.
The anti-graft agencies should put into consideration corruption cases in some areas that are not on forefront, such as the corruption in the health sector ( diverting public health equipments, payments on non-payments services), education sector (students are asked to pay to pass a course, for one to pass an exam must purchase a book or handout published by the course facilitators, sex for marks), constructions and procurements at Primary Health Care Management Board, constructions and procurements at State Universal Basic Education and service delivery in governments offices.
Barr Muhyi should consider creating a tracking team on the above issues comparison of the PCACC, CSOs, Media Personnel and Influential’s. Establishing anti-corruption consortium that would include all third sector organizations working on anti-corruption in the state and other relevant stakeholders perhaps reviving the Open Government Partnership (OGP).
Tahir Mahmood Saleh, a development worker, writes from Kano.