BENIN-CITY, NIGERIA. April 26, 2022… As Politicians in various political parties crisscross the length and breadth of Nigeria seeking support for the upcoming 2023 general elections, Civil Society Organisations have called on all political aspirants to tell Nigerians their plans to fight corruption, considered the bane of the nation’s social and political development.
In a seven-point communique at the end of a learning summit of anti-Corruption cluster of the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) held in Benin City, the Edo State capital Weekend, the anti-corruption Cluster of SCALE project anchored by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) working in collaboration with 8 other Civil Society organisations in Nigeria, called on all presidential and gubernatorial aspirants for the upcoming 2023 general elections to publicly declare their assets.
“We call on government to revisit the law that established the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and make public declaration of asset mandatory for all public office seekers. We call on all aspirants, that for the purpose of their integrity and plans to lead Nigerians, they should on their own publicly declare their assets even before amendment of the law to demonstrate to Nigerians their readiness to fight corruption,” the communique stated.
The youths frowned at the role of godfatherism in the nation’s electoral processes and wants the trend discouraged and discontinued even as they want the gaps in our laws bridged and strengthened
“We want political offices to be made less attractive, the attractiveness of political offices with so much powers and immunity clause for some officials make struggle to enter such political offices a “do or die” affair,” the communique stated.
They called on the INEC to make Polling Units more accessible to Persons Living With disabilities (PLWD) and adopt a methodology for the blind to vote with even as they want the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to increase their effort in voter education.
Welcoming participants earlier to the summit with the theme: Election and Corruption; What can the youths do? ANEEJ Executive Director, the Reverend David Ugolor in his welcome remarks noted that the two key issues which ANEEJ anchored SCALE project seeks to address are that of anti-corruption and social inclusion which Nigerians are keen to get right as we approach the election year.
Represented by his Deputy, Leo Atakpu the ANEEJ boss noted that Corruption and Social inclusion have remained major burning national issues over the years that require adequate attention from all political office seekers. “The SCALE project desires to build on areas where there have been some progresses made in the antigraft war and push for anti-corruption reforms which will strengthen the pieces of legislation out there to address corruption.”
The Lead presenter at the learning event, Mr. Lukman Adefolahan, on his part, called on Nigerian youths not to disenfranchise themselves or mortgage their future by avoiding vote trading.
He encouraged young Nigerians to vigorously partake in electoral processes including voters’ education and choose capable hands to run the affairs of the country come 2023.
It would be recalled that the 2021 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report released recently by Transparency International ranked Nigeria the 154th of 180 countries covered as it scored 24 out of 100 points, falling back one point compared to the 2020 CPI.
Panelists at the event acknowledged that corruption remains a major obstacle to the nation’s development in spite of stakeholders’ efforts thus far, noting that the war cannot be fought by government alone and called on youths to ratchet up efforts to put their voices behind aspirants that can make a positive change by deepening gains in democracy and good governance in the country.
Other organisations working with ANEEJ in the SCALE project as cluster are: 21 Century Community Empowerment for youth and Women Initiative, Abuja; Gender and Development Action, GADA, Port-Harcourt, Joint Association of Persons with Disability (JONAPWD), Edo State; New Apostolic Church for Development (NCD), Community Empowerment and Development Initiative, CEDI, Warri, Delta State; Community Heritage Watch for Development Initiative, KAI, Akure, Ondo State; Foundation for Environmental Rights, Advocacy and Development (FENRAD), Aba, Abia State; Christian Fellowship and Care Foundation (CFCF), Owerri, Imo State.