By Joseph Edegbo:
A Media Consultant, Zubair Abdurra’uf Idris has said that Nigeria and Nigerians are seriously at a cross road in the best approach to tackle Corruption in the country.
The Consultant made the assertion at a Town Hall meeting on Anti-corruption and Promotion of Good Governance, organised by Wadata Communication (Nig) Ltd, with the support of MacArthur Foundation held on Saturday in Kaduna, Northwest Nigeria.
He said the menace of Corruption thriving within the society and Chain of governance as well as public and private enterprises has risen to an unmeasurable level.
The Consultant who is also the Programme Manager, Wadata Communication, noted with concern that communities now glorify and adorn questionable elements within their domains with honour and chieftaincy titles without proper scrutiny to their source of wealth.
Index of corruption among nations, he said, Nigeria and Nigerians have taken Pole position by either second or third from behind and that the urgly trend needed to be reversed for the development of the nation.
Towards this end, Abdurra’uf said, a new concept of fighting corruption which is Peoples’ participatory through the use of local languages on radio productions has been evolved by Wadata Communication, with the active support of MacArthur.
“Our commitment to the Promotion of good governance and accountability in this project and concept by Wadata Communication Nigeria Limited, owners of Prestige Radio, Minna, Niger State and supported by The John D and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is aimed at stepping into difficult terrain of the fight against corruption through investigative journalism and reportage in radio productions on twelve radio stations across the six geo-political zones in Nigeria”, he explained.
The Consultant told the gathering that the essence of the Town Hall meeting was to make appraisal of the new concept with a view to reducing corruption in Nigeria, through citizen participation in governance and enhancing community practice on investigative journalism.
He identified the unabated Killings, Kidnapping and abductions, especially in the NorthWest part of Nigeria as product of corruption and bad governance.
Furthermore, Abdurra’uf attributed Poverty, unemployment and other crimes to political corruption, while community corruption is as a result of Collapsed of family value system which gives rise to Kidnapping for ransom in the society.
He tasked Communities to own the fight against corruption and demand accountability by political leaders, while community leaders should take lead of sanitizing their respective domains.
The Media Consultant also urged community leaders and Non- Governmental organizations to cooperate with journalists in the production of investigative reports against corruption.
In a key note address, Dr Yahaya Onipe of the Nigerian Defence Academy sees corruption as a major obstacle to democracy and rule of law.
He advised Nigerians not to continue to remain as onlookers but to wake up to collectively fight the menace.
Dr. Onipe also urged Northern leaders to wake up, pointing out that there is no society that abandon its people that would grow.
The Don also stressed the need for Nigeria to make education rewarding than the present situation where going into politics looks more rewarding.
“The present situation is that it is no benefit for one to go to school, rather go into politics.
On her part, Prof. Hauwa Yusuf of the Kaduna State University described Corruption as misuse of power for personal gains.
She observed that the menace which was being fought in batches instead of wholistic approach covered every segment of the society including individuals.She said Nigerians should be able to identify selfish and unpatriotic ones.
Prof. Yusuf who stressed the need for reorientation, wants traditional and religious leaders to respect their exalted position and remain neutral when it comes to maters on politics as had been the practice.
“If a politician comes to you seeking for your support, all that is required of you as a traditional or religious leader, is that, I will pray for you “, she said.
The Don called for training and equipping of security personnel on investigation, evidence gathering, witness protection and oath of confidentiality.
The Town Hall Meeting was attended by members of Civil Society Organizations, the media and traditional institution.