The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL has condemned in strong terms the attack by some assailants on the residence of the Labour Party Candidate for the July 16 Osun governorship poll, Mr. Lasun Yusuf, located in Ilobu, Osun State.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director of Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “We received the sad news of the attack of the residence of the Labour Party Candidate for the July 16 Osun governorship poll, Mr. Lasun Yusuf with great shock. It would be recalled that some yet-to-be-identified people bearing arms have reportedly attacked the residence of the Labour Party candidate for the July 16 Osun governorship poll, Mr. Lasun Yusuf, located in Ilobu, Osun State. It was reported that, when the attackers could not gain entrance into the building, they fired shots from outside the premises, aiming at the upper floor of the storey building where bedrooms are, and shattered the aluminum windows.
In as much as the true intent of the assailants is not yet known, it will not be wrong to think that the attack may be politically motivated. The Lasun Yusuf that we know doesn’t appear to us as a violent person who can be a threat to the wellbeing of any other candidate. He has been in the national assembly for years and we didn’t hear any report of him attacking anybody physically or even verbally. So he is not a threat to anybody’s welfare, so whoever carried out the attack doesn’t seem to mean well for the good people of Osun state and its politics.
“We have a very strong view that politics should be a family game whereby all the contestants will see themselves as one another’s keeper. We also believe that the candidates contesting the gubernatorial elections in the state should compete under a peaceful atmosphere devoid of violent attack at one another. We believed that it should be a contest of intellect and capacity to deliver, not a capacity to foment trouble since what they are competing to do is governance not war”.
The Chairman further remarked, “Whoever wins the forthcoming election still remains a citizen of Osun state and the same applies to whoever loses and they should cooperate in developing the state rather than engaging in any form of violent attack”.
“We are still amazed at the manner of political desperation that could warrant this kind of attack on the residence of one of the gubernatorial candidates in Osun state. We hereby express optimism that the Police will rise to the occasion by investigating this case and bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to book and hope such elements would desist from their evil ways before they inevitably meet with their waterloo.”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has condemned the unprovoked attack and killing of innocent worshippers at St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State on Sunday the 5th of June, 2022.
In a release signed by the organization’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of the organization’s Chairman, Comrade Debo Adeniran he noted that “It would be recalled that some gunmen attacked worshippers of St. Francis Catholic Church, Owo, Ondo State on Sunday maiming and killing scores of them in the process.”
The attack of these innocent worshippers is senseless, barbaric, condemnable, unacceptable and uncalled for. It is another sad tale of the security situation in the country. It is so unfortunate that the security situation in the country has degenerated to an abysmal low level making all efforts aimed at restoring the lost glory of the security situation to be counterproductive.
“We were particularly saddened by the report that the two Police Divisions in Owo town and Area Command have no official patrol van to get to the scene of the crime despite having almost 50 men standby at the ACPOL, Owo. This is very sad going by the annual budgetary allocation to Security year in year out.”
“We at CACOL would like to call on the government to find a lasting solution to the menace of insecurity in the country by having a proactive approach which will prevent further atrocities of this nature. Since the security of lives and properties is the responsibility of the government, the government of the day should also look into the possibility of completely overhauling the security architecture of the country. We would also use this medium to call on the security agencies to use all legal means to bring the perpetrators of this dastardly act to book”.
We also express our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, the Catholic Church, the government and the people of Ondo State over the incident.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has thrown its weight behind the calls for probe into the activities of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, implementing agency of the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, recommended cleanup of oil polluted Ogoni land, Rivers State.
In a press release issued by the organization’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of Mr. Debo Adeniran, CACOL’s Chairman, he noted, “It would be recalled that Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP, recently called on the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project, HYPREP, a federal government agency saddled with the task of cleaning up the polluted Ogoni environment to account for a whopping sum of $800million fund meant for the exercise.
President of MOSOP, Fegalo Nsuke made the call in Port Harcourt, Rivers state capital on Thursday to mark the six years anniversary of the official flag-off of the Ogoni cleanup programme by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at Bodo on June 2, 2016, said there is little or nothing done so far. Nsuke was quoted as saying “Not much has been achieved but corruption, mismanagement and embezzlement. HYPREP has received over $800 million and additional N6 billion for water supplies. What we have seen is bribery and looting of the cleanup funds”.
The CACOL Boss hinted “The Ogoniland area of southern Nigeria is one of the most polluted places on Earth. The crops are burnt to a cinder, ash and tar smother the land and the wells are polluted with oil, making the water totally undrinkable. Entire communities have suffered as their way of life has been destroyed by the oil industry and pollution has become the norm in the Community”.
“The effect of pollution on the Nigerian delta has been great. As a result of oil spills and industrial waste dumped into the Niger River Delta, fishing as a means of supplying food for the tribe is no longer an option because very few fish remain in the river. The groundwater is contaminated and is not safe for drinking. The most immediate threat to Ogoni people is oils spills, which have damaged their land dramatically. At least one hundred pumping stations and pipelines crisscross Ogoniland. The pipelines run over farm land and through villages; leaks and spills are a common occurrence. The UN says it will take 30 years of effort to clean up the mess. Amnesty International accuses the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell of turning a blind eye to or even helping the military’s use of rape, torture and unlawful killings amid protests against pollution and poverty back in the 1990s”.
It was a huge relief when the federal Government decided to implement the United Nations Environmental Programme, UNEP, recommended cleanup of oil polluted Ogoni land by the establishment of the Hydrocarbon Pollution Remediation Project HYPREP under the Federal Ministry of Environment to achieve the under listed functions in Ogoniland and other impacted communities:
investigate, map and evaluate hydrocarbon polluted communities and sites in Nigeria referred to it by the National Oil Spill Detection Response Agency (NOSDRA) or the Federal Ministry of Environment in collaboration with the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and make recommendations to the Federal government.
implement the recommendations of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Report on Environmental Restoration of Ogoniland (UNEP Report) as directed by the HYPREP Governing Council.
Initiate, and develop work programmes aimed at restoring all hydrocarbon impacted communities and sites referred to HYPREP
Undertake a comprehensive assessment and mapping of all environmental issues associated with hydrocarbon pollution, in collaboration with NOSDRA
Provide guidance data to undertake remediation of contaminated soil and ground water in Ogoniland and such other impacted communities as may be referred to it
Technically evaluate alternative technologies to be employed to undertake remediation of contaminated soil and ground water
Make recommendations for responding to future environmental contamination from hydrocarbons
Ensure full environmental recovery and restoration of Ogoni ecosystem services for Ogoni people and other impacted communities.
It is so unfortunate that till now the performance of HYPREP in Ogoniland is nothing to write home about. The agency has not lived up to expectations. The situation in the Community has not improved even with the huge financial resources committed to the agency.
The facts are not just embarrassing but criminally so. How could we have discovered crude oil in Olobiri since 1955, yet, we are left behind by other nations especially the Arabian countries that were blessed with the resources years after us? How can we be proud of our record as the sixth oil producing country in OPEC yet the people of the oil rich communities wallow in abject poverty and deprivation worsened by a very inhuman state of environmental degradation?
We at CACOL believe that it is a tragic narration on our nation, Nigeria that despite the huge resources allocated for projects, when it comes to execution of the project, it becomes a sad story. We want to call on the management of HYPREP to account for all the money collected so far and the positive impact they have made in Ogoniland, if any. As an Agency of government, they must respond to the yearnings of the people of Ogoniland and justify the huge resources they have collected.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has hailed the arrest of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh for alleged fraud related offences.
In a release issued by CACOL’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, on behalf of Mr. Debo Adeniran, the Chairman of the Centre, he stated, “The arrest of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris and former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Patricia Etteh for alleged fraud related offences is a welcome development”.
It would be recalled that Mr Ahmed Idris, was alleged to have diverted and laundered 80 billion Naira. According to EFCC, verified intelligence reports showed that Idris raked off the funds through bogus consultancies and other illegal activities using proxies, family members and close associates. It was also stated that the funds were laundered through real estate investments in Kano and in Abuja. On her part, the former speaker, Patricia Etteh was said to have received N130m through her personal account from Phil Jin Project Limited, a firm which was awarded a N240m contract by the NDDC in 2011. Etteh who is neither a director nor the contractor, but investigation revealed that she was paid a total amount of N130 million by the contractor.
“It is very unfortunate that someone like the Accountant-General of the Federation can betray the trust reposed in him by the Nigerian state, through the very system that trained and supported him till he attained the pinnacle of his professional calling. It is more saddening to note that an exalted office he occupied is being looked upon by many upcoming Accountants and one would have thought he would be more conscientious and scrupulous in his official dealings knowing fully well that many of the younger generation are looking up to him as mentor. The money siphoned by the Accountant-General would have made considerable impact in settling the current impasse being experienced in our tertiary education system which has kept our children at home for some months now”
“For the Ex-Speaker of the House of Representatives, her case should serve as a lesson for those occupying various public offices today. They should know that they may be called upon to give account of their stewardship while in office many years after leaving the office.”
“We at CACOL, therefore, commend the EFCC for taking actions against these two people. This is a very laudable and cheering development, considering the multiplier and damaging effects of every strand of corruption perpetrated by public officials whom the country reposed so much trust in and the betrayal they used in repaying such trust. We hope the Anti-graft agency will not tarry in prosecuting them.”
The Head of CACOL added, “The EFCC and other anti-Corruption agencies in Nigeria deserve the commendation and appreciation of all patriotic Nigerians for their resoluteness and doggedness in stamping out corruption from our land. The agencies deserve our cooperation to make them succeed in their mission of bequeathing a more sanitized and corruption-free social environment to all.”
PRESS BRIEFING ON PRIORITIZING ANTI-CORRUPTION AND SOCIAL INCLUSION IN THE 2023 POLITICAL AGENDA: IMPERATIVES AND COMPONENTS, ORGANIZED BY THE CENTRE FOR ANTI-CORRUPTION AND OPEN LEADERSHIP (CACOL) HELD ON 30TH MARCH, 2022.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the press.
Corruption, wherever it occurs, represents a decline in our value system as a nation. If left unchecked, it poses a grave threat to our democratic values and our dream of being an ethical and truly developing state. Corruption is committed by individuals who are driven by greed; they steal state resources, business opportunities and consciences of civil populace that are intended to grow the economy, eliminate poverty and ensure the achievement of development outcomes.
Corruption is commonly but, unofficially conceptualized as the misuse of public office for private gain. The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that the ”State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power” (Nigerian 1999 Constitution Section 15.5). Similarly, the Act establishing the Nigerian Independent Corrupt Practices (ICPC) criminalizes corruption. According to Transparency International, corruption is: “Misuse of entrusted power for private gain” (TI 2013). Corruption includes abuse of power, but it is a larger concept and a much more serious issue than the misuse of public office for private benefits. Corruption is the breach or perversion of legal rules, established procedure, and code of conduct or social norms and values in the service of unethical or illegitimate ends. Nonetheless, CACOL defines corruption as any act of dishonesty.
The issue of corruption has continue to draw lots of attention to Nigeria and controversies in Nigeria as a result of the negative impression, perception and reputation that successive Nigerian government has earned for the country in various areas where countries of the world are ranked as far as corrupt practices are concerned.
It is against this background and the need to shift the paradigm of corruption fighting away from the ruling class that has been committing corruption crimes to the right holders who have been suffering the jeopardy resultant from such criminal activities that the Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, (CACOL) have had series of consultative meetings with some prominent Community Based, Civil Society and Faith Based Organizations in Lagos State. The fora presented an avenue for us to intimate them on the roles they are expected to play in prioritizing anti-corruption, accountability and social inclusion issues in Lagos State as the State prepares for upcoming 2023 elections. All the CBOs, CSOs and FBOs consulted expressed happiness and appreciation at the fact that such a meeting had been organized to involve them on the roles expected of them prior to 2023 elections. They also assured us of their continued cooperation and support.
From our consultative meetings with the CSOs, and FBOs in the state, it is a unanimous opinion that corruption in Nigerian environment is an act deliberately perpetrated by policy makers and a contradiction of democratic values and principles by politicians thereby thwarting accountability and transparency. Corruption is systemic in Nigeria leading to a particularistic political culture in which values are allocated based on one’s connections in the society and not merit. The weakening of political institutions and lack of political willingness in combating corruption made it a bane for good governance and development in Nigeria. The efforts to fight corruption were sabotaged by policymakers as anti-graft agencies were politicized and turned into a tool for intimidation of opposition.
Corruption is exhibited by elites in forms of bribery, extortion, nepotism, cronyism, patronage, graft and embezzlement. Corruption has been institutionalized in the entire Nigerian system including political, administrative, and bureaucratic. Corruption in Nigeria has been perceived as a brazen squander of public treasury by office holders impoverishing the masses and leading to low infrastructural development. Corruption in Nigeria is perceived either in the form of grand, bureaucratic and legislative corruption. Corruption in Nigeria can be seen in the jumbo payment of salaries to political office holders while paying the average worker a meager amount not plausible for survival.
Nigeria’s Fourth Republic commenced on the 29th May, 1999, with great hope and expectations in spite of the fact that the process was initiated and mid-wived by the military that had perpetually held on to political power and so lacked the moral justification to convince the generality of the people of its success. Many people saw the development as a dawn of a new beginning for good governance and democratic dividends. However, the euphoria that greeted the return to civil rule has been replaced by frustration and hopelessness as those elected by the majority to represent the people continue to live in opulence that does not conform to the present economic realities. Campaign against corruption by successive regimes has remained mere rhetoric just as the rule of law is mere pronouncement. Although the country has held six general elections (1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019), so far they have all been marred in controversies, fraudulent practices by both the electoral body and the security agencies with credibility and legitimacy crises as end products. In fact, it has been argued in several fora that corruption remains the worst problem challenging and hindering the country’s socio-economic and political development. In recent times, many development scholars and public affairs commentators have concluded that the socio-political and economic woes of Nigeria are rooted in corruption.
Electioneering in most multicultural societies like Nigeria is a deliberate agenda of the elites to polarize voters along ethnic and religious lines. As such, campaign messages are usually tainted with sentiments and hate speeches to divert the attention of the electorate from the real socio-economic problems of the state. Although the 2015 Presidential Election has been described as historic in the annals of Nigeria’s democratic journey, emerging realities necessitate the review of the link between campaign propaganda, electoral outcome and dynamics of governance in the post-2015 era. We have observed that high-level campaign propaganda influenced voter choices and ultimately, contributed to the victory of an opposition party in the 2015 Presidential Election. However, the winning party has substantially failed to deliver some of its electoral promises. Instead, it has deployed the state power in pursuit of sectional interests. We believe that this trend can be reversed if key democratic institutions are established and strengthened in Nigeria.
In Nigeria, political parties and candidates are usually seen as representatives of ethnic or religious groups. Individuals have strong attachment and allegiance to their ethnic nationalities and religion since these variables often constitute basis for political patronage and reward. As a result, voters are incapable of making objective political decisions on the basis of the antecedence and competence of candidates, as well as the ideological leaning of the political party. Rather, electoral choices of individuals are informed by ethno-regional and religious considerations, and pattern of voting reflects deep polarization of the electorate along parochial interests. Indeed, political parties and candidates exploit this deep vacuum to frame campaign propaganda that depicts the north-south dichotomy in order to influence electoral outcome.
Political parties have undeniably assumed an indispensable status in the democratisation process given the critical role they often play in effectuating good governance, the rule of law and human rights protection. Beyond this, political parties are seen as platforms through which the mobilisation and enlightenment of the citizens on the policy direction of the state are made possible. They perform the latter function by organizing opinions and attitudes around sets of issues of public importance which would subsequently be disseminated to the electorate through various the mass media. The essence is to consciously modify the voters’ worldview in line with the programmes, sentiments and proposals of the party in order to elicit either objective or subjective support from the targeted group.
Election promises have come to represent one of the fundamental elements of the representative democracy through which hopes and expectations are created and sustained in any society. It is also the larger context of the strategies which political parties adopt to stimulate voter turnout, motivate supporters to vote in an election and, ultimately, determine the outcome of the election. Thus, given the general distrust against election promises by the citizens, the tripodic linkage between campaign promises, election outcomes and post-election governance have constantly remained the subject of scientific inquiry. Essentially, the crux of the inquest has revolved around: inspecting the electoral promises made by politicians and political parties before an election, determining how it largely influenced the outcome of the election and understanding the modalities on ground to faithfully convert these ideas into reality in the post-election governance.
In advanced democracies like the United States and United Kingdom, election avails voters opportunity to objectively scrutinize and analyze the programs of political parties and competence of candidates. Election messages are designed in line with the prevailing socio-economic challenges of the state. In Nigeria, reliance on ethno-religious considerations for electoral decisions as seen in the 2015 presidential elections have polarised voters along religious and ethnic lines. Inciting messages, questionable promises, hate speeches, and campaign of calumny were features of the 2015 presidential electioneering. Absence of issue-based campaign in Nigeria has led to disputed elections, undermined the emergence of competent leadership, exacerbated social crises, and deepened acrimonious relationship among the citizens.
We are not unaware that faith-based organizations and ethnic-based communities have naturally been part of basic consideration in socio-political power play in Nigeria. Our concern is hinged on those demographics that are only theoretically included but practically excluded in the scheme of administering their lives and that of their progeny. They are those that we have earlier stated – the physically disabled, youth, women, displaced people, people in the rural communities, illiterates, etc. These are groups that have constitutional rights to be included in the scheme of political considerations but have no specific rights that are justiciable, that could be asserted, when such people are excluded in the act of governance. We recognize that faith-based tendencies and ethnic affinities have been adequately taken care of as primordial conditions for elections and appointments as government functionaries, albeit we disagree with using religion or ethnicity as parameter for selecting candidates for elective and appointive political offices and responsibilities. It is our belief that the principle of merit should primarily be upheld towards ensuring that it is only the most qualified in terms of technical knowledge, cognate experience and good quality of mind that are the reasons why a person is elected or appointed to serve the appropriate position of authority.
In order to ensure social inclusion in the electoral process, voters must be given information about how to register, where to register and when the registration centre is open. Women, youth, people living with disability, internally displaced people etc. may also need encouragement to register, in particular where cultural norms imply that elections are a male domain, where there is illiteracy or where there is widespread political apathy. In most countries with high illiteracy rates, women constitute the largest proportion of illiterate voters. In some contexts, it will also be necessary to ensure that information is provided in local languages.
Why is it important to foster youth political participation?
It’s a known fact that in many political parties, the relationship between youth and the parties is strained. To break a cycle of skepticism and mistrust, youth can develop the skills and motivation to successfully interact with political parties. At the same time, political parties could be encouraged to create space for them by removing barriers to youth involvement. In some contexts, youth wings of political parties have played a central role, by providing a powerbase for young members, retaining and grooming them, and reaching out to young voters.
Participation is a fundamental democratic right. It should be an end in and of itself to remove existing barriers to youth political participation. From a more purely pragmatic perspective, if young people have the perception that formal political processes are not accessible and/or attractive for them; this can shape their attitudes for a lifetime, with potentially long-lasting negative impacts on a country’s political culture.
It has been found that in new and emerging democracies, the inclusion of youth in formal political processes is important from the start.
Through their active contributions, democratic values can come to life, paving the way for the overcoming of authoritarian practices. In countries where youth led protests have forced authoritarian regimes from power, significant frustration is likely to arise if youth are not included in new formal decision-making procedures. This might have a destabilizing effect on democratization.
Further evidence suggests that youth are more inclined to participate in informal political processes. Activism, protests and campaigns are common avenues; youth are often driving forces behind reform movements. In the current world and throughout history, there are many examples of powerful youth-led protest movements. Youth also tend to get involved in civic, service-oriented activities, such as volunteering for a social cause. Many young people are more inclined to join a tree-planting project, for example, than to join a political party talking about planting trees in the future.
We would therefore make the following recommendations based on the unanimous opinion from our consultative meetings with the CSOs and FBOs in the state:
1. It is our recommendation based on our findings on the field that there is an urgent need to overhaul the whole gamut of election architecture in Nigeria through aggressive and comprehensive reforms. Firstly, there is need to strengthen the administrative, financial and institutional autonomy of INEC to regulate the use of hate speech during electioneering. In most cases, the Electoral Management Body (EMB) lacked the capacity to punish highly placed public officials who violate extant electoral rules and guidelines mainly due to institutional incapacitation. The institutional weakness no doubt, has hindered effective coordination of the electoral processes by the EMB. Secondly, INEC should be empowered to punish any candidates found to have violated the new electoral law by disqualifying and banning them from participating in elections for a minimum of eight (8) years.
2. The statutory functions of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) should be expanded to undertake the democratic role of political education and enlightenment of the electorate on the borderline between conventional campaign promises and political propaganda. In carrying out this function, the agency must prioritize use of indigenous languages in order to get to wider audience not conversant in English language. By so doing, the electorate would be well-informed on what constitutes a realistic campaign promise and a mere slanderous propaganda targeted at discrediting an opponent unjustly and scoring cheap political popularity. The NOA should also insist that Nigerians deserve the truth and should be told the truth and nothing more, no matter how unpalatable it may appear.
3. The media must be regulated by law to disseminate objective messages during electioneering. Specifically, it must be restrained from being an appendage of a given political party, showing preference for any candidate and serving as tool to disseminate disinformation and hate speeches.
4. The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) drawn from academia, trade unions, media and social research institutes should jointly conduct background checks on contestants and manifestoes of political parties, and subsequently, educate voters on the qualification of candidates and feasibility of their programs. Most importantly, CSOs should organise and insist on compulsory participation of all candidates in a televised debate. In most cases, presidential candidates abscond from debates and only educate the electorate on the policy direction of their parties during campaign tours. In Nigeria, political campaign tours is an inappropriate means of educating voters since actors utilise the platform to showcase their dancing skills, engage in names calling, and reel out questionable campaign promises.
5. Equivalent media fact-checking tools such as the Politifacts which finds out when politicians are making false claims; Truth-O-Meter that tells the voters whether the politician is saying the truth or not, and Flip-O-Meter that tells when politicians are flip-flopping promises during campaign, should be established in Nigeria.. As a corollary, fact-checker would help political actors to articulate issue-based campaign programmes reflecting the peculiar challenges of Nigerian state rather than relying on disinformation as viable means of accessing political power. The utilization of the fact-checking tools in Nigeria could help to limit hate speeches and spread of questionable campaign messages. Again, it will serve as a viable instrument for deepening democracy in Nigeria. However, the absence of these tools suggests that political parties and candidates are unhindered from coining and spreading controversial electoral promises.
6. Financial flow of political parties in terms of their income and expenditures should be closely monitored and the political actors should be compelled to give blow-by-blow account with verifiable evidence in terms of bank statements, payment receipts, etc. to ensure that they don’t overspend and they should not receive cash donations from their patrons or members. All contributions and payments to their service providers, consultants, etc. should be made through financial institutional transfers. Moreover, no politician should be allowed to distribute cash to electorates or people at the campaign grounds. The distribution of palliatives like food, household items and the rest should be limited to electorates at ward level and it should be tied to the needs of the people. The cost of the palliatives and the expenses incurred to distribute it should be manifestly accounted for. Politicians who have emerged as candidate of political parties should not distribute palliatives at all while aspirants at their ward level can do that in order to ameliorate some of the sufferings of their constituents but as soon as they emerge as candidate of their political party they should not indulge themselves in such things.
7. We would also lend our voice to the call for speedy determination of so many high profile corruption cases dotting the various temples of justice across the country. The cases involving Stella Oduah, former Minister of aviation, Orji Uzor Kalu, former Abia State Governor, Rochas Okorocha former Imo State Governor, Theodore Orji, former Abia State Governor and many other serving Senators still having corruption cases hanging on their necks should be dispensed with as soon as possible so as to serve as deterrents to others.
It is generally believed that corruption is responsible for the perpetual underdevelopment of our country and this had been enabled directly and indirectly by the custodian of the governing instrument which in most cases were not freely given by the citizens through their periodic voting exercises. We believe that this can be corrected if all the available legal instruments are diligently implemented by the wielders of political power imbued by the persistent demand of the citizenry. The citizenry can force the hands of the government officials backward from making corruption a state policy by perpetual monitoring of their activities in and outside of their places of official engagements and questioning them on issues of probity, accountability as well as insisting on the observation of all democratic principles and ethos. This is what CACOL has taken upon itself in collaboration with willing hands in the civil society and the populace to engender with a view to ensuring that corrupt elected officials are not welcome back into their ancestral communities. We believe this will deter others who flaunt ill-gotten wealth from continuing in that trade and ensuring that the innocents of their communities are not polluted to the extent that upcoming political elements will not see corruption as a dignifying career that they could adopt just like internet fraudulent practices is gaining ground among the younger generation.
Thank you for your attention.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has taken a swipe at the members of the National Assembly for voting against gender bills in the constitutional amendment process.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director of administration and programmes on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “CACOL as an anti-corruption and transparency in leadership organization received with rude shock and embarrassment, the news that members of the National Assembly voted against gender bills in the constitutional amendment process. We found it funny that the national assembly voted against bills seeking to give women more opportunities in leadership and governance at this age of our national life. Their action has sparked a protest by some women at the national assembly, who accused the lawmakers of bias. Similarly, Pauline Tallen, Minister of women affairs, said the male lawmakers who voted against the gender bills have no respect for women.”
“We are aware that when it comes to voting, more women vote than men and we believe that the quality of leadership in the country will not change if the scope of selection is not widened to accommodate more youths and women. We believed that setting aside 35 percent of the elective positions for women would have made a lot of sense because right now, the level of underrepresentation of women in key positions and decision making is alarming. Even at political party level, women should not be given only the position of women leader while all other positions are occupied by men”.
Although at our own level we believe that the bill would have been differently couched so that it will not give unintended meaning to the user either today or in future. Instead of ‘Gender parity’ or ‘Gender equality’ gender equity would have been more appropriate because it may be very difficult to achieve gender parity or gender equality but if we use ‘gender equity’ it will make a lot of sense to several people. Also, instead of ‘Gender balancing’, ‘Gender justice’ ought to have been used.
“We are of the opinion that affirmative actions should be limited to appointive positions rather than elective. The polity should not insist on affirmative actions for elective positions because if there are no candidates of a particular gender contesting, you can’t force people of that gender to contest elections but it is easier to apply it for appointive positions. We must also encourage political parties generally to encourage gender affirmative actions, meaning that there should be significant motivations for all genders to contest elections just like the different demography that exist within the parties. It will not be right to insist that if a political party does not have 30 percent or does not succeed in having the percentage stipulated for different gender the party cannot contest election.”
“It is against this background that CACOL has come out to seriously frown at the action of those lawmakers who threw the gender bills overboard without considering the effects on the psyche of our womenfolk in particular and the nation in general. The contributions of some notable women like Dr. Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, late Prof. Dora Akunyili to mention a few to the development of the country cannot be easily overlooked. By voting against this bill, these set of lawmakers are inadvertently denying the country of more capable hands of womenfolk who can contribute positively to the greatness of our nation”.
“Clearly, Nigerians would be shortchanged and greater harm would be done to the country by denying us the opportunity of allowing more competent and capable womenfolk to serve their fatherland in various capacities. We have reduced women only to the role of the voters, who are only relevant for the purposes of election. It is quite unfortunate that this is coming at a time when many other countries, even in the African region, are opening up their political space for more women participation”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has thrown its weight behind the Nigerian Senate bid to investigate the abandoned N400 billion naira National Primary Health Centre Project initiated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo across the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director of Administration and Programmes, on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “We welcome the decision by the Senate of the Nigerian legislature to investigate the abandoned National Primary Health Centre project initiated by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo”.
The resolution was reached on Wednesday during plenary by the Senate after it considered a motion to that effect. The motion, “Need to investigate the abandoned Four Hundred Billion Naira National Primary Health Center Project”, was sponsored by Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central).
Senator Oloriegbe, in his presentation, noted that the National Primary Health Center project was initiated by the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006. According to the lawmaker, the project was to build in each of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, a sixty (60) bed Primary Health Center to be complemented with a three-bedroom flat, doctor’s quarters, an ambulance, all basic hospital equipment and drugs.
The CACOL Boss stated that “It is a known fact that primary health care, as important as it is, is lacking in most parts of the country, especially the rural areas. According to UNICEF, over the past five years, infant and under-five mortality rates have remained steady in Nigeria, at 74 and 117 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively. At these mortality levels, one Nigerian child of every 13 born dies before reaching age 1, and one in every eight does not survive to their fifth birthday. This is an alarming statistics that could have been remedied if these Primary Health Care Centres were functioning in all the 774 local government areas in the country”.
“This action by the Senate is no doubt in line with our previous calls for a probe of all abandoned projects that litter the nooks and crannies of the country. The irony of this situation is that the contract for the project was awarded during the administration of Former President Olusegun Obasanjo whose administration coincidentally created most of the anti-corruption agencies in the country.
The CACOL Boss further enthused, “we at CACOL commend the Senate for this bold step. It is indeed a step in the right direction and we want them to make the report of their findings public so that every Nigerian will know what went wrong with the money allocated for this project and anyone found wanton in the award, implementation and execution of the project should be made to face the full wrath of the law to serve as deterrent to others. We also use this medium to call for stronger legislation, strategies and mechanisms that will ensure efficient project monitoring and implementation across the country”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has commended the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu for extending a hand of support for two out-of-school girls in the state. The organization however implore him to put all machinery in motion to give effect to the Child Right Act that the state has domesticated more than a decade ago, noting that if it had been earlier implemented there wouldn’t be any need for him to stop his convoy to appraise out-of-school children that he found by the road side.
In a release issued by CACOL’s Director of Administration and Programmes, Tola Oresanwo, on behalf of the Chairman of the Centre, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he noted, “We observed the interest shown by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu in the plight of two out-of-school girls in the state”
“It would be recalled that the media reported that on his way to an official function recently, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu momentarily halted his convoy to attend to a disturbing situation. It was a sight of two underage girls on an errand for a bean cake vendor during school hours. The girls were expected to be in school. But, both Amarachi Chinedu, 9, and Suwebat Husseini, 12, were forced to skip school by their parents in order to serve some domestic assistance”.
The girls were going to deliver buckets of peeled beans and pepper to a grinder when the Governor sighted them at Anthony Village area. It was a glance that presented a discomforting image for Sanwo-Olu, who revved his convoy to a stop to find out the reason the girls were not in school.
Amarachi’s story left the Governor to shudder throughout the encounter. Her mother is a teacher, but the nine-year-old was not allowed to go to school because her parents could not afford the current session’s tuition fees. Amarachi would have to miss a school year because of this reason.
Suwebat’s mother is the bean cake seller for whom the girls were running an errand. Her parents, who are Jigawa State indigenes, relocated to Lagos months back. Suwebat’s four male siblings were all in school at the time she was stopped on the road by the Governor. But her parents preferred she stayed back home to help with some domestic chores.
The decisions taken by these girls’ parents, Sanwo-Olu said, “could rob the little ones of their innocence, their future and put them at a disadvantage among their peers”. The Governor stressed that his encounter with the girls left his heart bleeding.
Salvaging the situation, Sanwo-Olu, at the scene, told the girls he would personally take up the responsibility for their education and upbringing, promising to enrol them in school to continue with their education.
The anti-corruption Czar said “We will like to commend Governor Sanwo-Olu for taking this bold step aimed at returning these out-of-school girls to school. We believe there are many Amarachis and Suwebats out there who are not that lucky to encounter the Governor. To this set of children something drastic ought to be done to save them from the scourge of illiteracy.”
We also believe that if the Child Rights Acts which Lagos state has domesticated since more than a decade ago is fully implemented there wouldn’t have been any out-of-school child in the state because it would have been an offence for parents to engage their children in economic activities or for any child to roam the streets during school hours.
The CACOL Boss added, “.Section 15 sub section 1 of the Act stated that Every child has the right to free, compulsory and universal basic education and it shall be the duty of the Government in Nigeria to provide such education. Subsection (2) stated that every parent or guardian shall ensure that his child or ward attends and completes his primary and junior secondary education. Subsection (6) of the Act stipulated appropriate punishments for a parent, guardian or person who has care and custody of a child and fails in the duty imposed on him under subsection (2) of this section.
“We hope the state government would look into the implementation of this Act and all the needed financial, human and material resources would be put in place in order for the dictates of the Act to be fully implemented and thereby sow a good seed in the educational sector of the state by reducing the population of out-of-school children to the barest minimum”.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has thrown
its weight behind the move by the House of Representative to amend the
Establishment Act of MDAs in a bid to curtail revenue leakages.
In a release, issued by the Director of Administration and Programmes
of the anti-graft organization, Tola Oresanwo on behalf of the
Chairman, Debo Adeniran, noted, “It would be recalled that The House
of representatives observed that most of the agencies leverage on
their establishment acts to spend their Internally Generated Revenue
(IGR), thereby, denying the government of needed revenue. Chairman of
the House Committee on Finance, James Faleke, disclosed this, at the
end of the first session of the Committee/Ministries, Departments and
Agencies (MDAs) interactive session on the 2022-2024 Medium Term
Expenditure Framework (MTEF) in Abuja. The Committee noted that some
of the acts that warrant certain government establishment to spend
their IGR are self-serving and against national interest, saying the
need to expeditiously amend such acts cannot be overemphasized”.
The Committee also expressed worry over the generating agencies’
refusal to remit revenues due to government, saying their action is
putting a major strain on resources, which ordinarily should be
available for government to pursue its development objectives.
The Chairman of CACOL opined that “It is now commonplace for the
Management of most MDAs to siphon money that were supposed to be
remitted to the Federal Government as a result of lacuna created by
their respective Establishment Acts. Some of them cannot account for
their internally generated revenue while others remit very intangible
and paltry sums of money to the federal government as revenue. This is
a classic example of how much damage corruption and mismanagement of
scarce resources have caused us as a nation”.
Concluding, Mr. Adeniran commended the Committee’s recommendation and
averred that, “the establishment acts which was meant to facilitate
the smooth running of these MDAs have now turned to tools or pawns in
the hands of the management of the MDAs which they use to mismanage
funds. We therefore welcome the Reps moves to amend these Acts so that
any unnecessary spending from the IGR of these MDAs would be seen as
gross violation of the law and punitive measures would be meted out to
Director, Administration and Programmes, CACOL.
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has called for the probe of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami for his alleged stalling of the recovery of $60bn stashed in the United States.
In a release issued by CACOL and signed by Tola Oresanwo, the anti-corruption organization’s Director, Administration and Programmes on behalf of its Chairman, Mr. Debo Adeniran, he stated, “The allegation made by The Prosecutor, Special Presidential Panel on Asset Recovery (SPPAR), Tosin Ojaomo, of how the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) allegedly stashed $60 billion of public funds in the United States and how the efforts by the panel to recover the funds were reportedly frustrated by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, is quite revealing.
Ojaomo, made the revelation while appearing before the House of Representatives Ad hoc Committee on the Probe of Recovered Looted Funds and Assets of Government. The Prosecutor, made stunning revelations of how the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) allegedly stashed $60 billion of public funds in the United States. He lamented that efforts by the panel to recover the funds were reportedly frustrated by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami, whom he claimed retrieved the case file from the body.
The CACOL Boss opined that, “A situation whereby the person who is supposed to be the Chief Law Officer of the country is being accused of working against the interest of the same country he vowed to protect its constitution is disheartening. The fact that a Minister of Justice can easily subvert the course of justice by manipulating the agencies under his Ministry is not encouraging in a democratic dispensation like ours”.
“It would be recalled that CACOL with some other non-governmental organizations working on issues of transparency and accountability in Nigeria wrote Mr. president in August, 2020 to request him to use his good offices and leadership to urgently ensure accountability in the corruption and mismanagement investigations at the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and the allegations of mismanagement of recovered stolen assets in the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). In that letter it was expressly stated that Mr. President should “Consider immediate investigation of the role of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Malami, in the fight against corruption, particularly his role in the alleged nolle prosequi entered in many high-profile corruption cases, alleged obstruction of requests for assistance in corruption investigation from international partners, alleged sale of forfeited oil vessel by the AGF through suspects under trial and his role in the alleged payment of the suspicious legal fees for the return of $321million to Nigeria by the Swiss government”.
Also, in a petition to the President by Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) of which CACOL is an active member, titled CALL TO ACTION – COMPILATION OF CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS AND ABUSE OF OFFICE AGAINST THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE FEDERATION AND MINISTER OF JUSTICE – MR. ABUBAKAR MALAMI (SAN), several allegations of corruption and abuse of office against the current Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami.(SAN) were detailed in that petition.
The Head of the Centre, Mr. Debo Adeniran, further stated that, “Just as been noted elsewhere, in discharging their responsibilities to the people, any governmental official, whether at the legislative, judiciary or Executive arm, would do well to adhere to international best practices and Nigerian 1999 constitution (as amended) which in no small measure sets clear ethical standards that must guide our public office holders, in discharging their responsibilities to the people. We want to believe that the recent revelation by The Prosecutor, Special Presidential Panel on Asset Recovery (SPPAR), Tosin Ojaomo, will not be swept under the carpet like other ones in the past. We call on the various anti-graft agencies to look into this allegation and take necessary steps to prosecute the minister if found wanton”