Posted by Theresa Moses, Lagos | 11 December 2015 | 4,016 times
The governments of Rivers, Ebonyi, Kaduna and Lagos states ranked high on the ladder of transparency and accountability in the management and administration of public funds. This was the verdict of majority of residents interviewed to determine states’ 2015 scorecard by Citizen Anti-Corruption Volunteer Corps (CACVC).
At a media interaction in commemoration of the United Nations-approved International World Corruption Day, organised by CACVC on December 9, at Durban Hotel, Ogba, Lagos, the Commandant-General, Comrade Harris Chuma, said: “This scorecard evaluates the transparency and accountability of the state governments in Nigeria. It provides an assessment of their performance on a selection of key anti-corruption indices in the course of governance. The scorecard is generally based on research and on-going monitoring of developments in Nigeria. This assessment is carried out annually; and it is used as a veritable tool to evaluate governments’ track records and commitment to accountability and integrity in public see.
“The ability to hold government to account for the use of public funds is a crucial aspect of the fight against corruption. By providing an independent assessment of the government‘s approach to transparency, integrity and anti-corruption measures, CACVC scorecard helps to hold public office holders and governments accountable to those they serve.”
According to Mr Chuma, the states were scored based on the evidence gathered from interviews and public opinions aggregated, verified and documented. “Rivers state government has beaten other states to become the government with the lowest level of perceived corruption in the public sector. It’s on extent of a state’s responsiveness to citizens’ needs, empowerment of the citizenry and improved service delivery. Existing evidence shows that Rivers State Government through some transparency and accountability initiatives created opportunities for citizens and government to interact constructively. The governor’s team was very cooperative and made efforts to ensure that budgetary information was more transparent and accessible.”
Ebonyi State, he added, came next; based on the inauguration of the anti-corruption crusade to ensure a corruption-free civil service, prudent management of state resources, and an open government policy which goes beyond information and disclosure. “The war against corruption and indiscipline has been intensified with the governor’s decision to personally monitor state’s departments, agencies, commissions and parastatals. It adopts a zero-level tolerance policy for fraud in government circles.”
The noble decision of the Kaduna State Government to enter into partnership with the technology and financial transparency advocacy group, BUDGET, has positioned the state as a zero corruption territory. “CACVC investigations revealed that the aim of the partnership is to develop an open budgeting system for the state, using digital platforms. The platform will enable citizens to monitor policies, budgets, procurement records and status of funds release via their mobile phones.”
Lagos State too has been able to clarify the state functions of its agencies and currently advocates greater transparency and accountability in the manner with which public servants go about their duties. “With the recent pronouncement by the governor who believes that the state traffic laws should wear a human face, the citizens have applauded this laudable move, which has cut down corruption problems in Lagos State Transport Management Agency (LASTMA). The state traffic management agency not until now, was a harbinger of corruption, engaging illegal arrest and extortion of motorists, scandalised with bribery and abuse of government expenditure tracking survey, which has drastically reduced leakages of funds, and guarantees improved service delivery.”
In Anambra State: “CACVC discovered high profile corruption scandals, such as lavish public spending on birthday parties, festivals, and religious activities. A case in point is the renovation of Government House Awka, which exposed Anambra State Government to darts of criticism as published on various social media platforms. Further investigation revealed that there was secrecy associated with the handing of contracts in the state, which led citizens to ask questions. The government was also not efficient in communicating events through comprehensive and user-friendly websites, and or lacked a detailed section devoted to other institutional events.”
“CACVC also mounted its corruption barometer on Imo State, where we discovered that quite a good number of citizens, especially the clergy and civil societies, constantly demanded from the government to furnish the public with information on how public monies were spent. There was a gap in budgetary and expense information on the official government website.”
•Photo shows CACVC Commandant-General, Comrade Harris Chuma.
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