Amadi charges public officials to restore citizens’ hopes in Nigeria

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*says culture of accountability can prevent abuses of power

Dr Chima Amadi, a public affairs commentator and Chairman Steering Committee, Centre for Transparency Advocacy (CTA) has charged public office holders to take brave decisions and implement policies to address the source of Nigeria’s current challenges.

Amadi feared that citizens have lost confidence in the country, and called for immediate actions to restore citizens’ hope in the country.

He spoke on Thursday in Abuja in a paper presentation titled “Nigeria’s Political Trajectory: A Tale of Hope or Ineptitude” at the Public Presentation of the Book ‘Politics, X, and Power’.

He argued that at the return of Democracy in 1999, Nigerians had hope for a better system of governance.

He noted that though, things were not perfect during the 4th Republic, as there was still a lot of corruption, ineptitude, and inefficiency, but there was growth enough, economically, and politically, for the Nigerian people to have hope that we were on a path to sustainable development.

He, however, said as democracy deepened, it seemed that there was the determination by a powerful few to destroy the very institutions capable of checkmating each other, upholding the rule of law, curbing the excesses of the nation’s elite, securing the nation, growing the economy, and protecting the lowly.

“This destruction did not happen overnight. It may have been accelerated over the last few years, but there has been a sustained effort to destroy the fabric of the nation for the protection and benefit of a few. Moreover, it has taken many shapes and many forms,” he said.

He said further that, “It has happened in compelling prosecuting agencies to ignore the prosecution of people who break our laws as long as they are close to those in power. It has happened by bending institutional laws to allow people to make millions of dollars at the expense of the economy.

“It has happened in systematically weakening our security agencies by the theft of monies meant for equipment for and welfare of our men and women in uniform. It has happened for a few people’s political advancement over the Nigerian people’s collective will. It has been death by a thousand cuts to the point that one wonders how Nigeria survives.

“The tales of incredible levels of corruption—the invasion of the homes of Supreme Court justices and the removal of a Chief Justice of the Federation—the ineptitude of the security agencies—primarily the police—the inefficiency of the civil service and the destruction of critical economic infrastructure are unending. Each example is more mind-boggling than the last. Each tale defies belief.

“We are witnessing, in real-time, the capture of the Nigerian state by the nation’s political elite for the purpose that the elite may destroy its soul to enable it to suck out its resources. We are witnessing the judiciary cower before the nation’s elite and the executive pocket the judiciary. Long gone are the days of institutional independence when arms of government jealously guarded and performed their constitutional roles. Long gone is that glimmer of hope that this country would not only survive but that it would thrive. That hope has long since been replaced by a pervasive air of doom, despondency, and despair.”

Amadi said if we are to survive as a nation, the elites need to learn that it is in their enlightened self-interest to forge a common consensus that develops the country, grows the economy, secures the people, protects rights and enforces obligations.

He argued that to remedy the ills, Nigeria must focus on building solid democratic institutions, including the judiciary, electoral commission, and legislature, adding that Ensuring their independence, transparency, and accountability can help to uphold the rule of law and prevent abuses of power.

He said, “Similarly, implementing electoral reforms to enhance the integrity of the electoral process is crucial. While I concede that there have been improvements and progress in our electoral system over the years, a lot still needs to be done in the area of prosecuting and punishing electoral offenders. The inability to accomplish this is the reason why some still dare to engage in electoral fraud.

“Given that corruption has been a pervasive issue in Nigerian politics, implementing robust anti-corruption measures, including prosecuting corrupt officials and establishing transparent procurement processes, can help restore public trust in government institutions.

Holding political leaders accountable for their actions and ensuring transparency in government processes are essential for good governance. Strengthening oversight mechanisms and promoting a culture of accountability can help prevent abuses of power and ensure that elected officials serve the people’s interests.”