WAYS TO SOLVE CORRUPTION AND THE CHALLENGES NIGERIA FACES
The above title was the caption or the discussion of the day in the interview done with the National Conscience Party Presidential Candidate Chief Martin Onovo. Chief Martin Onovo has once worked abroad and related the system of government there with that of Nigeria while sorting ways to answer the questions thrown at him. Alongside with him during the interview session was the party’s National Chairman Dr Yunusa Tanko. Chief Martin Onovo was asked how he would tackle the poison of corruption in Nigeria if elected as President. The Chief gave four bullet points as answer to this question. He called it the 4E’s which he delivered thus:
ENLIGHTENEMENT: He stated that Nigerians should be enlightened on the dangers of corruption and the repercussions of it to the development of the nation. He clearly explained that if proper public awareness program is done to tackle embezzlement and misappropriation of funds by those in government, Nigeria would be a better place and that is what his government intends to do when elected into office. The public, in person of Nigerians need to be sensitized as they have a large role to play in helping the nation curb corruption. To me anyway even Nigerians themselves are also involved in corruption at various levels of strata they represent and clearly I don’t see how public awareness program will solve this. Is he telling us that Nigerians are not aware of corruption in the nation and the dangers it poses, yet we still breed it. However, since he is a Presidential candidate, he might have a way of making that possible. I might be short sighted you know.
EXAMPLE: This was where Chief Martin Onovo started interesting me. He said here that the next way to solve the problems of this country is for those in government and leaders at various agencies and institutions should portray themselves as good examples of integrity and that when they do that others will follow suit. Chief Onovo vehemently laid emphasis on this as he saw this to be one of the most important among the 4E’s of tackling corruption. As I said earlier on about this being interesting, I believe laying good examples by our leaders will help the younger generations and even the adults to see those in leaderships as role models and mentors if the need arises. This is what I believe is the real enlightenment program, a public awareness that is done not by voices or words of mouth but spectacularly by actions.
EMPOWERMENT: This is also crucial as Chief Martin Onovo says that the public and also the government should be empowered in tackling corruptions. The ways of empowerment varies as it could be setting up legal ways of dealing with any corruption case. It includes also setting up various bodies to examine and investigation of any act of corruption just like how we have the EFCC and can also be in conferring authority upon various caucuses in the public to report, examine and investigate cases of suspected acts of corruption. This I see will be very effective after a good example has been laid as said earlier on.
ENFORCEMENT: Finally enforcement which is the last but not the least ways of dealing with corruption. But this stage is for whoever could not learn from the three points above. Chief Martin Onovo says that when the government tries to tackle corruption by first enforcing it i.e. probing and arresting individuals suspected to be corrupt, it would not solve the problem of corruption. I see Chief Onovo saying there that that will be like cutting a tree from the top instead of cutting it from its roots. So Chief Onovo says this should be the last thing his government will do as regards corruption if he was elected as President on March 28 general elections. This is arresting and jailing individuals who are found guilty of any corrupt activity. My problem with all he said was that does he know the meaning of corruption? If he does know then he will also understand that there are various forms of corruption and how does he intend to tackle all those? To me solving the problem of corruption is like building a nation from the scratch especially when corruption has gone into the nooks and crannies of the nation. This is a challenge that came up immediately after when we gained Independence as a sovereign nation back in the 1960’s, a problem which the plotter of the first military coup in Nigeria wanted to solve in person of Late Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu. He failed or let me say his collaborators failed and we are still on the road to a better Nigeria till today when other countries like Singapore who gained independence 3yrs after us as a part of Malaysia and 5yrs after us has a sovereign state on its own have gotten to their destination and still planning another journey forward.
Chief Martin Onovo also spoke about the power sector when answering the question of tackling the problem of corruption in Nigeria. He said that in 1999, Nigeria budgeted US$51 BILLION to pump into the power sector in order to increase the 3000 megawatts produced to a higher figure by 2014. He said, looking down the lain 15yrs after that, the megawatts produced is still at 3000 when by now it should have been 25000 megawatts. He argues that, where did that money go to? And that the problems of Nigeria are basic and do not require any complexity but that corruption is what has crippled this nation.
Sitting beside him was still the National Conscience Party Chairman, Dr Yunusa Tanko who has been silent for a while during the interview session. A question was thrown at him too which is why the other political parties like theirs have not reached out to a larger percentage of the public as regards to their plans for Nigeria if elected? The interviewer posed that it’s only the voice of PDP and APC that has been heard all over the nation and Nigerians are really not aware of other parties. Dr YunnusaTanko rightly set the stage in answering the question. He broke out with the fact that parties like theirs which are just starting and are not really popular have not been supported by the government in any way. He says that parties like theirs cannot do more than their power as regard financial buoyancy and that the finances they get as a political party are donations from members and also well wishers of the party and that is the money they use to do small campaigns and awareness in radio, posters, and handbills. He clearly stated the large amount required by media houses like AIT or Newspapers like THE PUNCH just to do an advertisement of their party and presidential campaign. This is the major problem that has not allowed them to reach larger percentage of the public and he gave a solution by saying government should have a certain financial support for all political parties in Nigeria during campaign exercise that would enable them to contest for election with other parties at a common ground.