Tuesday, October 9, 2007

This allAfrica.com article doesn't suggest that the Human Rights Watch report on Nigeria says anything new. Nigerians know the 2007 elections were a sham, that corruption is endemic (must have learned that phrase in primary school), and that as long as godfathers and corrupt politicians continue to gain more than they stand to lose, things are unlikely to change much. But why bother? Do such reports (like many before) shame our leaders into acting, or our people into demanding more from them? Whenever i meet a Pakistani, a friendly conversation usually gets kicked off by a shared acknowledgement of our countries' ongoing competition to be at the top of Transparency International's Most Corrupt list. SO WHAT will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
Your views on the "findings" of this new report and the effects of such reports on the state of affairs are welcome...


Nigeria: Violence, Corruption Institutionalised - HRW Report

Nigerian leaders are so violent and corrupt that their conduct "more resembles criminal activity than democratic governance", according to a scathing report issued by Human Rights Watch on 9 October.

"Violence, corruption and impunity are not just problems that government has failed to tackle; they are systemic abuses that flow from the heart of the very same government institutions that should be working to combat them," the report, titled Criminal Politics: Violence, "Godfathers" and Corruption in Nigeria, said. In some Nigerian states, powerful political "godfathers" control politicians, the report said. "In return, the 'godfathers' have captured government institutions to serve their own interests."

In Oyo State, one of several examples cited in the report, the ruling "People's Democratic Party (PDP) godfather Lamidi Adedibu recruited gangs that sowed terror on the streets of the state capital Ibadan and other cities".

Besides surveying what it calls "systemic violence openly fomented by politicians and other political elites", the report shows "corruption that both fuels and rewards Nigeria's violent brand of politics at the expense of the general populace". The report also seeks to show "the impunity enjoyed by those responsible for these abuses".
According to author Chinua Achebe, winner of the 2007 Man Booker Prize, "Corruption in Nigeria has passed the alarming and entered the fatal stage; and Nigeria will die if we continue to pretend that she is only slightly indisposed."
At the same time, the report said corruption and mismanagement had led to the waste of record oil revenues that could have been used to tackle poverty and improve access to basic health and education services.

HRW said efforts to investigate and prosecute corrupt politicians "focused on enemies of the [former President Olusegun] Obasanjo administration, [thus] undermining if not destroying the credibility of those efforts altogether."

Written by senior researcher in the Africa Division of HRW Chris Albin-Lackey and consultant Ben Rawlence, the report is based largely on missions they conducted to Anambra, Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Katsina, Lagos, Oyo and Rivers states and the capital Abuja before, during and after the April 2007 elections.

The report called for an end to impunity. "One obvious and important place to start would be for the federal government to enact and aggressively implement the long delayed Freedom of Information Bill, which would make it possible for Nigerians to peel back the veils of secrecy that allow many government officials to conceal the evidence of their misdeeds by denying access to even the most basic government-held information."

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]



Hmmm, I have all sorts of thoughts running through my head on this matter.

I can unequivocally say that again, there is nothing new in the report. However, it is wonderful that for the sake of prosperity and precedent reports such as these highlight the plight of Nigerians in their quest for true democracy and good governance.

Unfortunately, a group like Transition Monitoring Group, which already came to these results a long time ago, will not get the same media focus and hype that a foreign org like HRW gets. I hope that overtime, home grown organizations like TMG, Nigerian Lighthouse and others will be in a position to influence Nigeria from within and effect the necessary change that country needs.

Nice post!

Omodudu said...

We have seen lots of this in the past. Great post, I am impressed.

Kome said...

I don't think the point of this publication is for people to add it to a list of similar acknowledgemtns. It is more of another attempt to get us to do something.

There is difference between acknowledging the current plight and level of corruption in Nigeria, and with finally saying enough is enough and I am going to hold myself personally responsible for ensuring that I not only end corruption when and where i see it, but take steps to prevent it.

I am one of many that are guilty of saying corruption needs to end, but that is not the only answer. We need to act towards preventing it...as the old adage goes...prevention is better than cure!

So i'm challenging everyone who reads this post to think about what they can do to educate themselves and others to prevent them from falling into the path of the corrupt.

The only reason corruption is still so prevalent and appears to be blossoming like a morning rose is because more and more people are being led astray...

What will you do about this?

Misan said...

Very right. How do i hold myself and my PEERS accountable for their actions? and even their parents' actions? our generation has already become one that hails and celebrates with governors'/senators' children for their parents' looted wealth, so we might be too far gone already, but we certainly can't give up and let it pass onto the next generation. it's especially easier for those living outside nigeria to jumpstart this idea of holding our peers accountable, as the consequences are less severe than for those living at home. that's just one small step which can have great ripple effects if we stick with it.

Let's make our society one that shames wrongdoers, as we continue to wait (and work towards) the day when our judicial system is efficient enough to properly deal with them.

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