How to hold Nigerian public officials accountable
Original Story/ Image credit: Google Images
Public officials are accountable to the public. This is not a time to tour the world, pad your pockets or become a social media star. Nope, you are here to work sir.
Nigeria has a long-running history of corruption which the current presidency focused on in his 2015 and 2019 campaigns but how can we as the public hold our officials accountable.
What can we do to make things better?
1. KNOW YOUR PUBLIC OFFICERS
Stop tweeting at @buhari to fix state or local roads. Don’t tag APC Handle when you spot a bad road, know who the appropriate people to fix which road is, to help, we are collating a list of all the elected and assigned public servants in Nigeria as of December 2019.
2. KNOW THEIR CAMPAIGN PROMISES
When you know the public servants responsible for what, its time to know what exactly their campaign promises are (this is why it is important to vote candidates whose goals align with yours). If a candidate is advocating for “Clean water” hold them responsible for clean water in your state. To assist, we are chronicling a list of every campaign promise made by every elected public servant in 2019.
3. ACQUIRE THEIR TENURE SCHEDULE
Following their campaign promises, all public officers are supposed to have a schedule for their tenure that reflects their campaign promises. What roads or hospitals did a governor promise to build, well now when is he building it, what is the budget for it? To inform the public we will be collating articles of public projects that must be completed. Budgit ng is an innovative enterprise of passionate people, whose operation is to simplify the Nigerian budget and public data, making it accessible to the general public to aid participatory governance.
4. GATHER EVIDENCE AGAINST THEM
When we know the officers responsible for what, it’s time to gather evidence against or for these officers. We need to know if they are doing what they said they would do and praise or shame them as needed. We need to be as committed to praising officers as we are to shaming them. IF A PUBLIC SERVANT IS DOING THEIR JOB AS THEY SAID, THEY MUST BE PRAISED.
5. DEMAND RESULTS
When we can identify a public officer not performing their task as promised and we have evidence of this, it is time to demand results. Using social media, emails and real-life groups, we need to record (have video evidence) of asking these officers why the work has not been done and demand an update as to when it will be done. Find a video of what this looks like.
Put a camera in their faces when you ask them why they are refusing to do the work they begged you to allow them to do, let us see their reaction.
6. ORGANIZE PROTESTS
Protests are very effective ways to shame or force public servants into doing their jobs, the most effective protests are peaceful and they have a singular objective. Asking for a “better Nigeria” is not a message but wishful thinking, asking for an assigned public servant to complete a road he promised to complete is a singular objective. Protests can be online, they can be silent sitting, they can be rowdy and they can be as simple as restaurants coming together to refuse offering service to public servants not doing their jobs. To help, we will be sharing links to any protests in Nigeria you can support.
7. INVOLVE NIGERIANS IN DIASPORA
Diasporan Nigerians are always online looking in to comment on our political climate, its time for them to get involved as well. Nigerian public servants love to travel to foreign countries and we must call on our citizens in these countries to help us hold them accountable. When we here are demanding a governor perform a duty they promised they travel to Canada. Dear Nigerians in Canada, please if you see them, walk up to them and put a camera in their face and demand answers from them.
8. INVOLVE NIGERIANS IN NIGERIA
If you are online and you find people talking about an issue, it is also your responsibility to tell people who are not on the internet. The employment rate is dropping in Nigeria, there are many jobless people to involve. If you are driving to a public servant’s office to ask them questions, invite people to go with you. You need as many people as possible!
9. PAY YOUR TAXES
You can’t demand anything if you are not paying your taxes, pay all your taxes, pay on time. If you are not happy about paying a tax, be ready to fight against it.
Remember you are protected by Nigeria’s Whistle-blowing Policy
Whistle-blowing Policy in Nigeria is an anti-corruption programme that encourages people to voluntarily disclose information about fraud, bribery, looted government funds, financial misconduct, government assets and any other form of corruption or theft to the Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Finance. A whistle-blower who provides information about any financial mismanagement or tip about any stolen funds to the ministry’s portal is rewarded or entitled to 2.5% – 5% percent from the recovered funds by the Nigeria government. The policy was launched on December 21, 2016, by Nigeria’s Federal Government and facilitated through the Federal Ministry of Finance.
Getting adequate public infrastructure is your right as a citizen, and remember Cross River is an existing example that when public servants are committed to doing their jobs, development can and will happen.