From Rita in Port Harcourt
This year’s theme for the International Anticorruption Day is “Breaking the corruption chain”. Given that this period coincides with the forth coming elections in our dear nation, we call on all politicians and citizens to break all chains of electoral fraud to free our nation from corruption in democracy. Citizens must begin NOW to demand electoral transparency and accountability and participate massively in the coming round of elections to determine who leads them after the 2015 elections. This is an opportunity that citizens must not allow to slip away.
The imperativeness of citizens ensuring that their votes count is that the fight against corruption and bad governance will continue to be a mirage as long as the legitimacy of elected leaders is questionable. Only when the right leaders emerge would citizens have representatives with the right political will to fight corruption.
NIDAN in the next coming months to the general elections will therefore focus its campaign on educating citizens on electoral corruption and its effects with a view to mobilizing them to demand transparency and accountability in the electoral process.
The success of the fight against corruption in the Niger Delta begins with having democratic institutions which stems from having credible elections in 2015.
Exactly one year ago, the Niger Delta Anticorruption Network (NIDAN) launched its campaign against corruption across the nine states of the Niger Delta, which it tagged “Fight corruption”.
Since the launch, NIDAN worked tirelessly to raise citizens’ awareness to the fight against corruption by sensitizing them of their socio-economic and political rights, budgets and the budgeting process, transparency and accountability tools in order to empower them to fight corruption in service delivery and demand better quality service delivery.
NIDAN also sensitized and mobilized the grassroots to demand better quality services from the government.
The role of the media in empowering citizens to fight corruption can never be over emphasized. NIDAN’s partnership with the media has been very key to the success of this last one year as both the print and electronic media were used for its citizens and grassroots campaign. NIDAN therefore acknowledges the support of the media this last one year.
Although NIDAN is proud of its achievements in the last one year, this year’s celebration is basically a reminder to NIDAN that winning the war against corruption would take much more inner courage and collective resilience in the face of apparent resistance from the perpetuators of corrupt behaviors and practices in our country. NIDAN continues to note with anger that in spite of the huge resources accrued from oil exploration in the Niger Delta, the region is yet to boast of basic quality service delivery in health and education.
NIDAN in strong terms condemns the continuous exploitation of citizens by elected and appointed representatives and further diversion of public funds for their private gains while the supposed beneficiaries of the common wealth live in abject poverty. These selfish acts of government officials has continued to persist via the operation of systems and processes that lack transparency and accountability. Therefore NIDAN calls on the Government to create access to timely and quality information to enable active citizens monitor and supervise the affairs of government.
At the same time, NIDAN calls on citizens at all levels to get involved in the fight against corruption through active participation in democratic processes such as the forth coming elections so that the right foundations for building a corrupt free society can be laid in our region and the entire country as a whole.
Together we can break the corruption chain for a better Nigeria!
The Niger Delta Anticorruption Network (NIDAN) is a coalition of civil society organizations and Individuals committed to the fight against corruption in the Niger Delta. Simply join NIDAN by filling its membership form which can be downloaded from http://fightcorruption.ng or visit NIDAN secretariat at No.13 Location Road, Oroazi, Port Harcourt Rivers State to fill a form. You can also call 07031551194 and 08093310140, for further inquiries.