The Deputy Director Nigeria Office, MacArthur Foundation, Dayo Olaide, through Say No Campaign weekly DoroCorruption discussion series on instagram live, said COVID_19 met Nigerian under a climate of weak accountability institutions; not for the lack of the laws or legislation, but mostly those involved in the fight against corruption were basically confronted with compliance and enforcement challenges; getting agencies to comply with the provisions of the freedom of information act, public procurement legislation, treasury single account guidelines, and annual public audit requirement of MDAs, and it appeared to have exacerbated.
On the renovation of national assembly complex amid the dwindling health sector, Mr. Dayo opined that it is a misplacement of priority to be allocating more funds to renovating the National assembly, for a country that is faced with a pandemic that met a very weak health sector, as a result of inadequate funding, lack of training for health workers and poor state of infrastructures over the decade. What Nigeria needs to prioritize at this point is public spending to improve the health sector, strengthen the infrastructures, and improve governance of the sector, to promote transparency and Accountability.
Mr. Dayo suggested a situation where the covid19 agencies can be closely monitored vis-à-vis the provision of the frameworks developed by the office of accountant general of the federation, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and the various other relevant rules, whether in terms of the public procurement Law, the treasury portal that require every MDAs to publish every spending- if there can be compliance with these rules, Nigeria will be in a better position to track government spending, and on the basis of that, demand accountability.
He exhorted citizens’ participation in tracking the government’s covid19 spending, because the process of holding government to account under covid_19 spending is not for the civil society organizations alone, but a shared responsibility between citizens and government agencies like Federal ministry of Finance, Federal ministry of health, and the National Assembly. The pandemic provides Nigeria with a unique opportunity to prioritize reforms in the health sector, but unfortunately, broader governance reforms, broader infrastructure reforms, governance human resource improvement that needed to happen in the health sector is yet to receive public attention, therefore, he urged every right thinking Nigerian policy maker to support a radical increase in government spending in the health sector as a priority, above any other sector at this stage.
According to him, citizens’ involvement in anti-corruption stand as an important part of any sustainable anti-corruption campaign, because in the absence of citizens, we ask the government to fight themselves, which is highly unlikely to happen.