The Centre for Information Technology and Development had on 21st of April, 2022 under its project on Mobilizing and Catalyzing Citizens Action for Accountable Election and Governance in Nigeria supported by MacArthur Foundation held its Fourth Dialogue on Anti-Corruption Fight in Nigeria with another three set of its sub-grantees; Jack Fidelis Vincent, Independ Journalist based in Maiduguri, Olumide Olaniyan of Lucidity of Absurdity (Poetry) and Fred Sam-Itepu, Head of Operation, Rise Networks while Dr. Kabiru Sufi Sa’id, Principal Lecturer, Kano State College of Education and Preliminary Studies chaired the Dialogue. As it has become tradition in the Centre that every month it’s conducting the dialogue, in the month of March, the Centre hosted Danlami Nmodu, mni, Publisher NewsDiary Online, Bikiya Graham-Douglas, Executive Director, Beeta Network and Dr. Tunde Akanni, Lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, Lagos State University with Clement Adebayo as the moderator
The dialogue started with an opening remarks by the Executive Director of CITAD, Engineer Yunusa Zakari Ya’u. Engineer Ya’u begin his remarks with aim of organizing the monthly dialogue where his stated that; the aim of the dialogue is to give the sub-grantees under this project an opportunity to regularly share their work with a wider audience in promoting accountability and fighting corruption in Nigeria. He also mentioned that the dialogue is aimed at giving both the sub-grantees and young people who have interest in the area an opportunity to discuss and share ideas. Engineer Ya’u went further to state that CITAD has for many years been working in the area of accountability and fighting corruption in Nigeria and empowering young people to demand for good governance. Buttressing further on the essence of organizing the monthly dialogue, the Executive Director said is to create a platform for the sub-grantees and those who have an interest in the area to discuss ideas and learn from each other as corruption and lack of accountability are the major obstacles towards the country’s growth and development”.
Moreover, Malam Ya’u lamented on the set back fighting corruption is recording in the country where he gave an example with presidential pardon granted to two convicted former governors of Plateau and Benue States after being tried and found guilty of stealing public funds while serving as governors in their states. At the end he urge the participants not relent on their efforts in the fight against corruption as it takes time to rid corruption out of the society.
Speaking on the different tools and mediums he utilizes in demanding for accountability and fighting corruption, Mr. Jack Vincent said in Maiduguri he used to organized small round table meetings to hear the opinions of people on how they perceive corruption and the best way to tackle it, from the opinions gather, he organizes radio programs including phone in where people call to give their own contributions and air their grievances. Also, Mr. Vincent used to do Vox Fox where he sample the opinions of the public on how corruption and bad governance is affecting their lives. Other activities conducted by this sub-grantee include documentaries. In the documentaries, Mr. Fidelis focuses more on capital projects that are poorly executed such as hospitals, roads, schools etc. in the state. This, he said they aired on their live radio program and also share on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
On his part, Mr. Olumide said their work is targeting at people at grassroots where they are enlightening them about the effect of corruption through the use of poetry. He said what they normally do is to ask people questions on the post elections issues like what their representatives are doing to better their lives. Also, Mr. Olaniyan said they organize mobile dramas where they went to local markets in Abuja in collaboration with markets officials and perform dramas on corruption. In the drama, Mr. Olaniyan said they are using four languages such as Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba and Pidgin English. Another tactic they explore is reading poems to community people on anti-corruption and accountability. In this case, he said they allow the community people to read the poems themselves in order to internalize and make the fight against corruption a habit. At the end he stated that they are sharing the messages to larger audiences using social media platforms like Facebook to popularize the messages.
Moreover, the final speaker at the dialogue, Mr. Fred discussed mainly on the application they created in order to track corruption and fake news in the area of fighting corruption in the country called “Run Am”. He said, the application is created to mobilize citizens against corruption and discuss issues of accountability in Nigeria. Speaking further, Mr. Fred said, the application is trained to source information on corruption and election from credible sources by tracing the authenticity of images used like where they have been taken, who took them and what time they were taken. At the end, this speaker said using technology to fight corruption is the best and most efficient way to rid the corruption out of our society and instill good governance in the minds of Nigerians.
At the end, some participants made comments about the topic in discussion. One of the commentators at the dialogue stated that “the anti-corruption institutions in the country are just making fool of themselves considering the action of the president and his cabinets most especially with the recent pardon of the convicted governors”.