When President Goodluck Jonathan, during his 52nd independence anniversary speech, said, "In its latest report, Transparency International (TI) noted that Nigeria is the second most improved country in the effort to curb corruption," he was criticized by a lot of activists and groups. This statement was described as false. Nigeria still holds an embarrassing "prominent" 143th position out of the 183 countries in Transparency International's 2011 Corruption Perception Index. The recent dust trailing the leaked report by Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force led by Malam Nuhu Ribadu, the former head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has left some shocked at the audacity of corruption flowing in the oil and gas sector. Perhaps this will re-establish the fact that where wiping out corruption from Nigeria is concern, we are still far behind. This is no child's play.
However, the fight against corruption is not a fight to be left to President Goodluck alone. If we are serious about winning the war and liberating our country and resources from the shackles of fraud and greed in all sectors then we must all stand up to the responsibility and start fighting corruption from the very level that we are. I know, this sounds like a broken record. But the reality is that nothing will change if we do not change anything.
For example, if you drive through the red light and you are stopped by a traffic warden who gives you the option of tipping him or paying xxx amount as a fine for breaking traffic law, instead of bending to the temptation of giving that bribe, why not take the high road? Do things right by paying the fine? It is by refusing to pay bribe that we are able to reduce the gluttony among some public officials. We can apply this common culture at other levels.
In the fight against corruption, we are not as powerless as we think. A lot of innovative tools have been launched to empower individuals take initiative and expose all forms of corruption around them. The advent of technology makes the efforts even sexier.
The Executive Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes commission, Ibrahim Lamorde, speaking through his Chief of Staff, Dr Jimmy Imo once stated that "the battle against corruption has become so sophisticated with the advent of modern technology …" How are we as Nigerians taking initiative to leverage on this tool?
The recent launch of AntiCorruption Internet Database (ACID), a multifunctional web repository for all corruption related issues in Nigeria is a first step to ensuring that we are able to rate ourselves as well as our leaders on corruption related issues. How does the website work? The portal http://www.antigraft.org has different strategic tools that everyone can use to report corruption or feel the pulse of corruption in the country. Below are some of the tools you and I can use:
ACID Wiki: A source of information concerning definitions, laws, treaties and strategies concerning corruption.
Asset Declaration: A list of Nigerian politicians and government officials that have declared their assets. The "Report Asset tool" helps user report known asset of political actors and also upload supporting documents.
Bribe Reports: A tool to report corruption cases either from public or government agencies. Also allows for user to upload supporting documents. (Multi-media and textual).
Budget: Monitor Public Projects yourself
View and share Budgetary Infographics
Download budget resources such as actual budget documents and budget monitoring toolkits
WANGONeT's Corruption Calculator: An application which computes the opportunity cost of acts of corruption. It provides contextual comparisons into the actual cost of stolen and misappropriated funds.
Corruption Profile: A list of individuals who have been involved in corruption allegations, cases, and convictions.
National Applaud Ranking: Applauding outstanding individuals who work hard despite the temptation of corruption. Users can nominate and vote for ANY individual they believe is worthy of applaud.
If we, if we all take responsibility and become our own corruption watch by reporting cases from grassroots like our lives depend on it, then maybe, just maybe, corruption will indeed become history, its culture wiped out from every sector in Nigeria.