By Joel Popoola
Here’s irony for you: Nigerian politics has a better reputation with international experts than it does with Nigerians.
We all know that when it comes to reputation, the Nigerian government can be its own worst enemy.
Whether it’s accidentally appointing dead men to government commissions, or copying entire laws off the internet like a naughty schoolboy, our political class has kept us laughing for longer than Papa Ajasco!
That’s why many Nigerians will be surprised to hear of research from the University of Edinburgh Global Integrity’s Anti-Corruption Evidence (ACE) programme, which shows how much better Nigeria is getting at tackling corruption.
The study reports that the prosecution of high-level corruption cases in Nigeria has noticeably improved in recent years with “key legislative reforms, as well as innovations and pragmatic adaptations undertaken by prosecutors and investigators (underpinning) much of this progress”.
The international academic observers even describe the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as “a robust and effective agency”.
The report concludes:
“By looking at evidence of what is actually happening, rather than relying on apocryphal accounts or worn-out stereotypes; policymakers, practitioners, civil society and international partners can work together more effectively to support effective anti-corruption law enforcement practice in Nigeria.”
The President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration obviously understand how important these changes are to the government’s national and international reputation and performance. It is therefore, believed that the government will prioritised these changes in the coming days.
Sadly, Nigerians themselves are not as impressed with the progress being made.
The Pew Research centre reports that more than seven-in-ten Nigerians (72%) believe the statement “most politicians are corrupt” describes our country well, and six-in-ten say it describes Nigeria “very well.”
Just 39% of Nigerians are satisfied with the way democracy is working in our country – with 60% not satisfied – and 57% stating their belief that no matter who wins an election, things do not change very much for Nigerians.
And as Nigerians, we have to face facts; there’s a reason people feel this way. The international Corruption Perception Index (CPI) still ranks us 146 out of 180 countries, making us the 34th most corrupt country on Earth. One online poll even suggested that 80% of Nigerians think that placing is deserved.
As the Acting Chairman, EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, stated recently that: “Corruption is a huge burden to our nation. It has spread to insecurity, poverty, unemployment, falling standard of education, weak access to affordable health care, falling infrastructure and so many others.”
What is to be done?
Well, the ACE study recommends that Nigeria’s main anti-corruption agencies; the EFCC, ICPC, and CCB should “increase transparency as well as intensify collaboration and information sharing with other government agencies and non-governmental partners”.
I believe that this recommendation should be followed throughout Nigerian government. And that’s where technology comes in.
Nigerians need to see the progress that is being made. And in the twenty-first century, people increasingly find information they get from their peers to be the most credible. But to many Nigerians, the political class feels far away and irrelevant. It doesn’t have to be that way. The power to change is in our hands. Literally!
26 million Nigerians voted in the last presidential election. 24 million have social media accounts.
39% of Nigerians voted in the last presidential election. 46% have a Facebook account.
Online and on handheld devices, are increasingly where connections are made in modern Nigeria.
My Digital Democracy project was established to make electors and elected true peers, connecting people with their elected officials via their phones using our free Rate Your Leader app. The app also allows leaders to explain direct to the people they serve– without any sort of spin or fake news distortion – what decisions they have made, why they have made them, and how it affects local people.
This in turn leads to greater levels of trust in a political class that the voters can see are working for them, and accountable to them.
Another survey reported that almost half of Nigerians believe that corruption cannot be defeated.
It can, but not before our political class takes important steps to improve its image through greater accountability and transparency.
But thanks to smartphone technology, that can be done from the comfort of their homes, with the touch of a button.
Joel Popoola is a Nigerian tech entrepreneur, digital democracy campaigner and creator of the Rate Your Leader app.
Kila Inaugurates YWC Global Library Project Committee, Calls for Participation
In a bid to preserve and promote Yoruba culture, the Yoruba World Congress (YWC), led by emeritus professor and leader, Banji Akintoye, has unveiled plans for the YWC Global Library.
In unveiling the project, the YWC Secretary General, Prof Anthony Kila explained that the YWC Global Library will have two parts: Brick and Mortar Libraries in various parts of the world starting from Ibadan and Lagos and the Digital Library that everyone anywhere in the world can access and at any time.
To manage the project, the YWC has put together a team of experts who are academics, IT practitioners, education managers and lovers of Yoruba culture.
The project will be led by a steering committee to be chaired Prof Ajayi-Soyinka and with Dr Pat Akinbola (Secretary) Princess Olayinka Adebayo, Mr Babafemi Odutayo (Esq) Dr Sunkanmi Odejide and Mr Luke Tikare
In his address to steering the committee, Prof Anthony Kila stated that our lofty aims include conserving and promoting Yoruba arts, language, history, cosmogony, literature etc. This project will help put Yoruba people and culture on the world map and also put libraries in our peoples mind.
Prof Kila also noted that to make the YWC Global Library a success, all hands must be on deck and asked all Yoruba people come up with what they can offer the project. “We shall be need Suggestion of list of books, Journals Art Work etc., Ideas on how to maintain the best Yoruba library in the world, Donation of books (new and old), journals, art work and Donation of Funds.
To Participate and Donate to the YWC Global Library Project, all are urged to visit the website www.yorubaworldcongress.org
WAEC to Release Fresh 2020 WASSCE Timetable
The West African Examination Council is set to release a fresh timetable for the 2020 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination.
Speaking at a Presidential Task Force Briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said school facilities would be made available for revision classes ahead of the examination.
Nwajiuba advised parents to take note of the date, noting that “as soon as we conclude WAEC, we will take up the NABTEB and NECO exams.”
He added, “The idea is that we have a month from now till then. Those who can and those who are willing, the states who are willing should make their schools available for their children to revise.
“We’ve done the most we can to talk with our representatives at WAEC and this (Monday) afternoon, we confirmed dates allotted for the exams will be from the 4th of August through to the 5th of September. “Local timings will be published.”
The minister, therefore, urged all candidates to start preparing for the examination, saying, “We will be asking that those who are not prepared yet should please go and prepare.
Subsequently, WAEC Nigeria stated via its Twitter handle, “The Head of the Nigeria National Office of WAEC, Mr Patrick Ehidiamen Areghan will address the Press tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. #StayTuned #WASSCE2020 #Timetable”
Also, speaking in a telephone interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday morning, the Head, WAEC Public Affairs, Mr Damian Ojijeogu, said Ehidiamen would address a number of issues regarding the 2020 WASSCE.
He said aside from the timetable, health and safety guidelines would be issued including the mandatory use of face masks for all candidates, temperature checks, use of sanitisers, amongst others.
Ondo Ex-SSG Vows to Work Against Akeredolu’s Reelection
A few hours after the resignation of Mr Sunday Abegunde, as Secretary to the Ondo State Government, the governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, appointed Mr Tayo Oluwatuyi, as replacement.
Akeredolu announced Oluwatuyi at the weekly media briefing in Akure, the state capital on Monday.
Abegunde had resigned through a letter which partly read, “I, Hon. Ifedayo Sunday Abegunde, the Secretary to the State Government of Ondo State hereby tender my letter of resignation.
“I want to thank Mr Governor for giving me the opportunity to serve the Government and people of Ondo State.”
However, Abegunde later granted an interview in Yoruba language on Crest FM, during which he said he resigned from office because of the ill-treatment meted out to him by the governor.
He said, “I suffered in his (Akeredolu) administration because he didn’t release any fund to my office. He has been telling lies that he was giving me N5m every month even when he knew he didn’t give me such money.
“Akeredolu didn’t win the election in 2016 but we made it possible for him to become governor. We were the pillars behind him and we will not support him again. He will lose this time around.”
Abegunde, a two-term member of the House of Representatives further said that he resigned because he could no longer be part of a government that made its subjects to pass through hardship.
He said, “The Akeredolu’s administration is making the entire people of the state to suffer and I cannot be part of that any longer. ”
In his reaction, Ondo State Commissioner, Mr Donald Ojogo, said, “We make bold to say that there can’t be a better reaction than the fact that the man talking has since been replaced with immediate effect. This means he has not been missed and shall not be missed at all. So we wont join issues with the former SSG.”