The Centre for Anti-corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has welcomed the news of the eventual passage of 2018 budget by both chambers of the National Assembly with bated relief and cautious optimism.
CACOL Executive Chairman, Mr. DeboAdeniran, noted that the national budget is finally seeing the light of day almost five months behind schedule with N9.12tn (Nine trillion, One Hundred and twelve Million Naira) approved as against an initial proposal of N8.612tn (Eight Trillion, Six Hundred and twelve Million Naira) submitted on November 7, 2017, by the Presidency.
In same statement by the CACOL Chairman noted that the budget document shows provision for debt servicing of about 23% (Twenty Three percent) of the entire budget and reflected on how “this calls for a serious rethink in our debts accumulation, management and dispensation if we were to ever break from a depressing state of national dependency and underdevelopment”. While agreeing that borrowing for infrastructural development and other avenues that could rejig productivity and self-reliance are not condemnable, Mr Adeniran noted that “the resultant effects of such debt profile should be made manifest within a reasonable length of time while conscious efforts are made towards a healthier economy through bigger Gross Domestic Product (GDP), National Security of people and their properties and other veritable indices of growth and development”.
Mr. Debo Adeniran further said, “CACOL greets the increase in budget volume for the Health sector by a significant shift, especially the final approval of 1% of the overall budget voted towards primary health care provision, which is long overdue. However, the organization decries the embarrassing low budget allocation to Educational sector. Though the N541.2b (Five Hundred and Forty One billion, Two Hundred Million Naira) allocation seems a significant increase from less than N400b allocated to same sector last year, the import of less than 7% macro allocation pales when compared to 26% (Twenty six percent) UNESCO recommendation to education.”
“Also, Nigeria’s allocation to Educational sector has consistently remained one of the lowest even in the West African sub-region with countries like Cote D’ivoire allocating 25 percent, Ghana- 23%, Cape Verde -13 percent, Benin Republic- 15%, etc. On face value, this gives a veiled abhorrence to Education in an age where it is generally agreed that education remains the key to individual and national rebirth, i.e., growth, cohesion and development”, the CACOL Chairman opined.
Advising on the need to fast-track the implementation of the budget due to the late passage of the law, Debo Adeniran averred, “Due to the importance of budget as a veritable mechanism of financial interpretation of and list of to-do by the Government, we call for speedy Presidential assent and strict adherence to its faithful implementation by all organs of government. We also hope and pray for a more robust and speedy passage of our national budget in future”
The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has urged the nation’s Anti-Corruption agencies to be more diligent in the execution of their duties.
The call was made by the group in a press release issued today by its Executive Chairman Mr Debo Adeniran.
Reacting to the failure of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC and Independent and Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission, ICPC, to arraign Senator Jonah Jang and Yusuf Pam before The Plateau State High Court on Monday, the CACOL boss expressed the group’s displeasure with the turn of events leading to the delay in the prosecution of the former governor and his suspected accomplice.
Media reports had indicated that the EFCC’s reason for not producing Senator Jang who has been in its custody for over 168 hours was due to logistical challenges while a court clerk who was queried by the presiding judge on the matter said ICPC officials refused to pick their calls when attempts were made to contact them through telephone.
CACOL’s boss further observed that the average Nigerian was aware of the “African Time Syndrome” in which important arrangements and commitments are left pending until the eleventh hour.
Mr. Adeniran opined that the inability of the EFCC in carrying out its duties effectively can also be on account of inadequate preparedness as the excuses given by the EFCC could have been easily avoided or managed if effective preparations were carried out.
According to him: “While the Centre was not pleased with the delay in prosecution and trial of the Former Governor of Plateau State, Jonah Jang, and his accomplices, it would be an unforgivable offence to condemn outrightly all the Anti-Graft Commissions for this uncalculated mistake. The EFCC’s and other various Anti-Graft Commissions and Agencies have been quite pro-active in their contributions to the Anti-Corruption Struggles and their commendable efforts are evident in the various victories that have been recorded in the diligent prosecution and convictions of corrupt individuals in recent times.”
The group therefore urged the Anti-Graft Commissions to be diligent in their activities towards curbing Corruption and all its vices.
According to CACOL: “In the same light, we call on the Government to be more responsive and supportive in rendering assistance required to ensure the fight against corruption is fought holistically.”
Opening Remarks by Comrade Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman, Centre For Anti-Corruption And Open Leadership, CACOL, at the Exploratory Conference on the Lagos Open Parliament (Part four), LOP-4, held on 3 May, 2018 at the RIGHTS HOUSE, 48, Adeniyi Jones Street, Off Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos
I, on behalf of the entire members of the Centre For Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, am glad to welcome you all to this event. We deeply appreciate the honour you bestowed on us as demonstrated by the timely arrival of everyone here today, for this Exploratory Conference; a key component of the process that will culminate in our periodic Publication called the ‘Lagos Open Parliament, LOP’. We say, a big thank you to all for coming.
Majority of us here today, are conversant with the LOP and can simply aver that, “there goes CACOL again, doing what they know how to do best”. But some are probably just getting to know about the LOP as a Project of our Centre for the first time. It thus becomes imperative to give a background on what the LOP is all about. I therefore crave your indulgence to briefly do so.
The LOP, as a project of CACOL, focuses on the periodic analysis of government’s general performance in Lagos State. The programme utilizes public and media assessments’ of government’s performance including field work (empirical and practical assessments). The research strategy deploys government activities with the goal of ensuring transparency and accountability. The tool includes questionnaires, interviews, news analysis, visual investigations involving the usage of videos and photographs etc.
This exploratory meeting involves gathering of citizens from all local governments in Lagos State to give individual and collective opinions on governance in Lagos State as it affects budgetary implementation and to advise if the tools used and the data collated so far is adequate for such assessment, and if not adequate, this conference is meant to advise on other plausible means of assessing budgetary implementation in Lagos State.
The present LOP is the fourth in the series; the first and second editions were published in 2012 and 2014 respectively during the administration of the immediate past governor of Lagos state. The third edition was done in 2016 during the tenure of the present governor Mr Akinwumi Ambode. The present edition, LOP 4, currently under processing is the second under this administration. It is intended to assess budgetary implementation in Lagos State within the last two years. It is also to serve as an avenue to find out areas that we ought to assess and which we are yet to, as well as a channel to find out if there are areas we have over-assessed that the Lagos public would want us to adjust. This is with a view to ascertaining what the expectations of citizens are so that the State Government can make additional efforts towards meeting them.
We therefore, ask everyone here, to mobilize his or her compatriots towards indentifying the projects we are going to mention here and others that you know of that the Government is embarking on in your area and might not have been captured by what we have compiled so far.
Since our research strategy utilizes different tools to carry out what we consider to be self-assigned patriotic task of monitoring government activities; including questionnaires, interviews, news analysis, visual investigations involving usage of videos and photographs etc., we want you to utilize all the channels that are open to us to give us feedback, so that your contribution will be part and parcel of the final compilation that is going to be published as a booklet called LAGOS OPEN PARLIAMENT 4:
Everybody here is expected to respond to a questionnaire right here and whatever your individual input through the questionnaire shall be computed with the one we have earlier gathered. We also expect you to take some copies of the questionnaire of which photocopies you can also make for other compatriots back home, so they can also respond in their own way and you can transmit them back to us through electronic media if physical return of them may be difficult for you. The electronic links to the LOP-4 questionnaire are: https://goo.gl/forms/EAXMlEVPUlKZRH5C3, #
The LOP, as a Project of our Centre, was conceived to be done annually but dearth of fund and hands, it has not been easy to meet such annual target. For this therefore, we solicit everyone’s cooperation in our efforts to make our government more accountable, more responsible, more responsive to the citizenry who are the original owners of the instrument of governing that is entrusted to the government for public good.
I want to conclude by thanking you all again for honouring our invitation. Please we encourage us all to participate in the deliberations which we promise to be very incisive. We also urge you all to be diligent and candid in your responses to the questionnaires which is meant to enhance true assessment of infrastructural development of our State.
Keynote address by Comrade Debo Adeniran, Executive Chairman of Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL at the Summit on Civic Education #EkitiVote2018 organised by Ekiti Project Vote 2018 at Christ School Alumni Hall, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria on 22 February, 2018
I must express my delight and appreciation for the honour and privilege of being Chairman/Keynote Speaker at this all important and very auspicious Summit on Civic Education organized by #EkitiVote2018. I am truly humbled and doubly honoured as I have also been nominated for the esteemed ‘The 2018-2019 Ekiti Project Vote Role Model /Ambassador Award’, just as I thank the organisers for deeming me worthy of this honour.
The significance of today’s event at such a crucial and decisive period when our country, Nigeria is preparing for yet another set of elections coming up between 2018 and 2019 cannot be overemphasized considering that the coming electoral processes present another opportunity for Nigerians to decide those that would govern them in the nearest future through the ballot.
Our Vote, Our future
The theme of the Summit “Ekiti 2018: Our Vote Our Future” is very apt based on the nexus it highlights; that is the connectivity between voting in the present and the socio-political and economic consequences on the society in future. As they say the people deserve the kind of leadership get because they through their votes establish a social contract between them and those that govern.
The importance of voting as a civic responsibility is paramount to the success of democracy as it is the only legitimate way to participate in deciding how governments emerge and the means through which the people can take control of their socio-economic destiny indirectly through their elected representatives. By engaging in civic responsibility, citizens ensure and uphold certain democratic values enshrined in the founding document, that is, the constitution of the country.
The voting process empowers and grants the people the right to voice their opinion, and agree with or disapprove of the actions taken by the stewards of public trust, who we help put into office to represent us. Many people do not exercise this right yet they will bash, ridicule, make declarations about and slander the people elected into office and the government itself and ultimately condemn themselves to a fate of ‘suffering and smiling’.
It is instructive to highlight that with the experience of recent elections, particularly the 2015 general elections, the chaos that hitherto characterized our electoral system have been greatly diminished whereby the votes of the people are evidently counting as the country’s democratization process deepens.
If as a people we are worried about the trajectory and direction of our country, if we are concerned about our fate as a people; then we must bring down the walls of apathy by shunning petty sulking and complaining, we should instead take action by performing our civic responsibilities.
We must accept that the present in terms of governance performance is as a result of the choices we made in the past elections in same the way our future socio-economically will be determined by our voting patterns in the oncoming elections.
It is based on the foregoing that civil populace must be enlightened on the consequences of their actions or inactions as far as carrying out their civic responsibility of voting is concerned particularly.
It therefore behove on the civil society organizations, community based organizations, political parties and relevant government agencies especially the National Orientation Agency, NOA and the Independent National Election Commission, INEC to make concerted efforts in the civic education of the people. Efforts such as this summit and other strategic tools must be deployed in reaching the minds of the people achieve a populace that is at all times conscious of their civic responsibilities.
Since the return to democracy in 1999, less than 40% of registered voters [28 million out of 58 million in 2015]; meaning less than 20% of our total population have been deciding our fate as a nation through their votes in elections! With less than 20% of the population that have been voting; the reality is that the winners of the [presidential] elections have been elected by less than 10% of the population [in 2015, the winner of the election had less than 15 million votes out of a population of more than 160 million in total]. With our population being very youthful, the number of registered voters in Nigeria should be within the range of 90 million to 100 million people!
The implication of all these is that only a minority of our population has been participating in elections, even worse, is that our leaders have been elected by an even a smaller minority of our population.
We must wake our people from their sleepless slumbers; we must facilitate a qualitative and quantitative collective consciousness that would enhance the participation of the silent majority. It is such a consciousness that can galvanize people to getting registered on the voters register; getting their PVCs; participating in the campaigns by interrogating the candidates and parties with the coming elections.
Quintessentially, it is significant to point out that routine election as a democratic practice does not necessarily translate to collective control of the socio-economic existence of the people. Even though our constitution provides for government to ensure the socio-economic rights of the people whereby their security and social wellbeing is prioritized in a way that the wealth of the people is not concentrated in a few hands as required of a democracy, the aberration of this reality is what obtains.
Consequently, as the 2018 – 2019 elections approach and with the excruciating conditions of living of the majority, Nigerians must rise in unison to struggle for the assertion of their socio-economic rights as dialectically required components of a democracy under best practices. Chapter 2 of the Nigerian constitution should be the guide in the choices we make in the elections by ensuring that the governments at all levels commit to the security and social welfare of the populace before earning their votes.
The economic practice of neo-liberalism that has continued to be imposed on country by successive governments is antithetical to democracy given that it has only succeeded in widening the gap between the rich and the poor. The Bretton Woods institution dictated neo-liberal policies which have failed almost in every country it had been imbibed must be abandoned to achieve a socio-economically harmonious existence of the people.
Beyond elections, Nigerians must invigorate the struggles for social emancipation holistically because the present status quo will perpetually ensure penury in their lives if the system is not overhauled and replaced with a more humane one that would guarantee the social welfare and security of life and property. Today, if Beko was to be alive, he shall definitely lead the campaign for socio-economic rights, not campaign for one thieving party or the other through the rituals of four yearly balloting:
SOCIO-ECONOMIC RIGHTS ARE NON-NEGOTIABLE: LET’S DEMAND FOR ITS ENFORCEABILITY IN THE COURTS OF LAW AS NIGERIANS:
The right of all Nigerians to work and to be well remunerated must be recognized
Right of all to be well Sheltered – Housing for all
Right to Education at all levels at the expense of the State
Right to receive medical treatment at the expense of the State
Social Welfare Schemes for Nigerians, for the aged and physically and mentally challenged
Unemployment Benefit Package for all adults that not productively engaged.
Fair wages for fair labour
Management of the commanding heights of the national economy for the benefits of the entire nation and never concentrated in the hands of a cabal.
Bridge the gaps between the wretched and the super-rich, economic inequalities and social injustice.
“Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it, or betray it.” — Frantz Fanon
The electorates of Ekiti must shun amala and ‘stomach infrastructure’ politics now, and that is the generation role history has imposed on us. Once again, I thank the organizers for this delightful opportunity, I am humbled.
Thank you all for your attention. Long Live Ekiti! Long Live Nigeria!!