By Chris Ochayi
The Independent Corrupt Practices and related offenses Commission, ICPC, Wednesday, cried out that mafias in governmental and non-governmental actors are up in arms to fight back any reforms meant to fight corruption in their sectors.
The Chairman of ICPC, Prof Bolaji Owasanoye, who spoke Wednesday in Abuja at the unveiling of Corruption Tori Season two, said corruption is really fighting back in the country because it was threatened.
Owasanoye noted that corruption is a threat to national security. It is a threat to the socio-economic development of the country.
Corruption Tori is an anti-corruption amplification TV programme supported by MarcArthur Foundation, and aired on the network service of African Independent Television, AIT and Nigerian Television Authority, NTA.
The ICPC boss, who was represented by Hassan Salihu, an Assistant Commissioner at the Commission, said, “Corruption fights back only when it is threatened. When you see corruption fighting back, you know the fight is effective.
“There are many ways in which corruption is fighting back in Nigeria. It is being spearheaded by both governmental and non governmental actors.
“You can see the oil mafia fighting the issue of availability of fuel; you can see pension reforms being fought by the pension mafia and you can see that in the telecommunications sector, the mafia will fight any reform meant to fight corruption in that sector.
“So you have a lot of people that will fight back once the anti corruption fight is working and effective the country.
“Corruption is a threat to national security. It is a threat to the socio economic development of the country.
“The way forward is for everybody to come on board, just like what Signature TV is doing, in fighting corruption in this country. We have a population of over 200 million people and corruption affects each and every one of us in one way or the other.
“It is for the media, civil society organisations, and other critical stakeholders to come on board and partner with the ICPC, EFCC, and other anti-graft agencies to fight this cankerworm.”
In his remarks, the Chief Executive of Officer, CEO, of Signature TV, Vinmartin Obiora, has pleaded with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission, ICPC, to revisit the issue were officials of the National Examination Council, NECO, collude to undermine their examinations at a centre in Kaduna State.
He said the fraud which was exposed by the Signature YV, drew positive actions and is still causing action to be taken, lamenting that the authorities was trying to sweep it under the carpet.
According to him, “The story which was published by more than 25 media houses a day after it broke led to the flagging of the Examination Centre in Kaduna by NECO, an investigative enquiry set up by NECO and the Registrar suspended by the Board for the examination scandal among his other official infractions.”
According to him, “Public officers increasingly refuse to take action when our reports indict them and rather spend resources frustrating and “killing” the reports.
“A clear case is our NECO report where culprits are still walking free, the centre involved is still in business and the Ministry of Education’s silence has become so loud.”
He recalled that our relationship with MacArthur Foundation started in 2018 when we realised that the anti-corruption message no matter how loud, was not getting to the ordinary-not-so-educated Nigerians at the grassroots.
“Neither do they properly understand nor engage with the English Language being used in the anti-corruption messages nor do they feel a sense of ownership of the anti-corruption fight.
“There was a clear disconnect between the horrible cases of corruption and the appreciation of most Nigerians on the magnitude and impact of the hydra-headed monster.
“So we took a proposal to MacArthur, which they fine-tuned and which gave birth to this project.
“Our mandate was to use local Nigerian languages of Pidgin, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba to enlighten and educate Nigerians at the grassroots and amplify anti-corruption voices, activities and actions in Nigeria.
“The objective is to cause attitudinal change and make Nigerians demand accountability and transparency by holding leaders to account.
“To execute this project we found a vehicle in Corruption Tori a Pidgin English programme which is translated into Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
“Corruption Tori is aired on the Network Service of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and syndicated to NTA Partner Stations, spread in the Six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.“
On the milestones recorded in the last two years, the CEO noted that, “In the last two years of Season 1 we have made some progress and faced some challenges too.
“We produced and broadcast 92 Episodes of Corruption Tori in Pidgin English
“We translated and broadcast 368 episodes in Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba in 7 NTA Partner Stations in the Six geopolitical zones.
“We produced and broadcast 53 Special Reports on diverse corruption issues
“We published a 214 page book in collaboration with International Press Institute, entitled Media and Elections. The book among other things is a guide for journalists on a corruption free election coverage.
“We formalised collaborations, worked with, shared information and amplified anti-corruption activities/reports of a number of organizations including SERAP, Centre LSD, PRIMORG, CHRICED, HEDA, WSCID, ICIR, Yar’dua Centre, Accountability Lab and many others.
“We had special Corruption Tori episodes focus on reports by other grantees like the ones that had to do with procurement, National Assembly constituency projects, Babachir Lawal, Kemi Adeosun etc.
“We also provided audio visual support and produced mini documentaries around the reports, which brought the stories alive in a unique way and drove the message home.
“In a particular instance we collaborated with ICIR in the abandoned constituency projects in Osun State.
“The Signature team returned to Osun State working with ICIR and a Premium Times Reporter we reconstruct their earlier report with audio visuals and followed up on the progress and impact of the report.”
On Season Two and the way forward, Mr Obiora noted that With the lessons we learned in the last Two years we are ready to take Corruption Tori to a more impactful level.
“26 Episodes of Corruption Tori to be produced in Pidgin and translated into 104 episodes in 3 Nigerian languages.
“Going forward we are changing our approach to our Corruption Tori productions, our social media engagement and interface with our audience.
“We will be taking our production away from the studio frequently and doing more at locations where our viewers live.
“More of our topics, reports and stories are being taken from their local environment.
“Our Social media activities is being strengthened and will be more intentional, interactive and relate to the everyday issues our audience worry and care about.
“We are paying more attention to stories about anti-corruption wins, identifying, honouring and featuring individuals and organizations showing exemplary behavior and distinguishing themselves in the anti-corruption fight (Kano).”