A Model Manifesto for Tackling Nigeria’s Corruption, By Onyinye Ough
Nigeria’s main opposition party, the All Progressives Congress Party (APC) recently presented their draft road map on fighting corruption as part of their manifesto. APC has identified some entry points for tackling corruption in Nigeria- in particular ensuring the independence of anti-corruption agencies through funding them directly from the consolidated revenue fund, speedy trials of corruption cases and placing the burden on person with inexplicable wealth to prove their innocence in corruption cases. Yet the draft APC road map did not go far enough and missed some key areas. Below is my proposed manifesto for tackling corruption in Nigeria:
1. Tackling Corruption in Oil Industry
Reclaiming Missing Revenues
- Conduct an independent forensic audit of unaccounted oil revenues potentially owed to Federation Account. Make the findings of the report publicly available and establish a repayment plan for any outstanding revenues from NNPC.
Tackling Oil Theft
- Government will put in place three pronged approach to tackle oil theft, addressing security of pipelines, tackling organised crime, and ensuring alternative livelihoods of the poor.
Controlling Fuel Subsidies
- Payments for petrol or kerosene subsidies will only be paid if there is verification that the product has been imported and there is adequate provision for funds in the Federal Budget.
- All oil bloc allocations should go through transparent and credible licensing rounds (with no exceptions for “strategic national interest”)
- No more confusion over oil production or revenues. Establish system for metering oil production and oil exports, making data publicly available.
- Terms and conditions of oil contracts to be made publically available.
- National oil company (NNPC) and key oil sector institutions to become accountable to all Nigerians. It will be compelled to publish full independently audited accounts annually and required to answer questions from its shareholders the Nigerian People.
- Increase the representation on the board of NNPC and key oil sector institutions (DPR, PPPRA etc) to include a broader range of Nigerians including key oversight institutions (CBN, NEITI, Ministry of Finance, Federal Inland Revenue Service), and representatives of credible CSOs.
- NNPC fast tracked toward commercialisation, with clear governance and oversight established.
2. Tackling Corruption in Public Service
Merit based Recruitment, Promotions and Postings
- While respecting Federal Character principles all public service recruitments, promotions and postings shall be driven solely by merit and not by connections to influential individuals.
Tackling the Ghosts in the System
- Remove all ghost workers and ghost pensioners from public service payrolls and prosecute all perpetrators.
Public Service Conduct and Protection
- Ensure full implementation of asset declaration. All public officials who have not complied with existing rules will be compelled to leave public office.
- Ensure appropriate legislation in place to protect whistle-blowers and encourage culture of reporting corruption.
Transparency in Contract Awards
- Improve transparency in contract awards. Ensuring contracts over N500,000 and the names of companies winning the bids are published transparently on the relevant public agency websites.
3. Tackling Corruption in Political parties
- Clean up political party financing and expenditure. Publish list of all political party donors that donate over N500,000 with exact details of how much was provided. Political parties and candidates will be required to publish all their campaign expenditures.
- All Political Parties will be expected to publish independently audited accounts every year or risk being de-registered.
- Free broadcasting airtime will be provided to political parties to help reduce cost of financing campaigns.
- Empowering INEC to ensure strict adherence to the spending limits for political parties and candidates as stated in the electoral act 2010.
4. Anti-corruption agencies
- Help guarantee independence of key anti-corruption agencies they will be allowed to retain a percentage of the proceeds of crime to boost their funding and incentivise asset recovery.
5. Empowering citizens in the fight against corruption
- Enforce the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act and take action
6. Presidential Powers
- Presidential pardons will no longer be granted to people convicted of corruption charges.
These are my reflections on what a substantial manifesto for tackling corruption should include. I hope the APC will do some further work on their own draft and that PDP will also consider a comprehensive response as they put together their own. I urge Nigeria’s leaders not to miss the opportunity to make this a key election issue. 2015 needs to be about clear policies not personalities and empty words.
Onyinye Ough, a development practitioner, and blogger, has studied and worked on issues of good governance within Nigeria for about a decade. She is publisher of the very interesting blog, Step up Nigeria [http://www.stepupnigeria.blogspot.com]