By Aisar Fagge and Uzair Adam Imam
The fight against corruption should not be left in the hands of the government and their agencies alone because of their apparent weaknesses. A lot of corrupt practices are taking place undetected by public anti-corruption agencies.
Prof. Ismail M. Zango, the Director of Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, Bayero University, Kano (Mambayya House), made the above statement while speaking to The Daily Reality at a “One-Day Review Workshop of Civil Society Anti-Corruption Networks in the North-West Zone” organized by the centre.
Speaking about the time the centre started organizing workshops on the fight against corruption, Prof. Zango said:
“In 2018, the centre received a grant from MacArthur Foundation to engage faith-based organizations to actively participate in the crusade against corruption. And since then, we have worked with a number of CSOs and NGOs from different parts of Nigeria. So that was the first phase.”
Commenting about the achievement recorded by the campaign so far, the director said:
“The major success was that we were able to work with religious organizations. We invite Muslim and Christian clerics to enlighten them about the role they can play in fighting corruption using their pulpits through their sermons. We have also established anti-corruption clubs in secondary schools as well as tertiary institutions.”
“Government alone cannot fight corruption. But if you have civil society; if you have faith organizations; if you have community-based organizations all of them working together, the only thing that remains is to inculcate in them the culture of transparency and accountability,” he added.
There was a round-table discussion and Q & A session where leaders of selected CSOs from the North-West zone were given 10 minutes to report their activities and some of the challenges they faced.
Some of the “citizens” [members of CSO] blame donors for forcing them to do their bidding while others disagreed, stating that the problem was from the CSOs for selfishness, lack of transparency, accountability and being unethical in some deals.
Zahra’u Ahmad from Kebbi objected, pointing out that “Donors are not the problem, CSOs are. So if a donor comes to you with a project that goes contrary to your religious and traditional norms and values, just say no to his money. Another problem is we see these organizations like ours, which is wrong. These organizations belong to the community.”
While giving the vote of thanks, the Deputy Director, Research and Documentation, Dr Samaila Suleiman Yandaki, tasked the CSOs to be innovative in their fight against corruption by not solely relying on budget monitoring as indicated in their reports.
Some leaders of the CSOs presented papers that attracted questions, observations and commendations.