The #BounceCorruption dynamic is an initiative by YIAGA AFRICA, supported by the MacArthur Foundation. In 2017, it came into fruition with an agenda foreword of what every 21st millennial desires—a channel of using speech, words and confidence to advocate for change in democratic development and governance, and to fight against corruption.
To tell the #BounceCorruption story well, we must say how it came to be, what spurred the interest and the need for the debates that make the initiative what it is. In Nigeria today and in fact in Africa at large, we are acquiesced with the ever abundant stories of corruption in almost all faucets of the continent. From high-brow parastatals down to small-scale businesses, people are primed to delve into one corrupt practice or the other. Exhortation, collection of bribes, falsifications and forgery…it all runs through each aspect of life. It is even prominent in places like schools, hospitals and places of worship—but that is story for another day. This begs the question—how effective is our drive to curb this menace? It is clear how damaging it is, and it is also glaring the steps taken by initiatives created by the government to fight corruption (EFCC and ICPC). But one question that has been avoided is this—how is corruption affecting the young in the society? What about the grassroots, how detrimental is the decay, and has it affected what we strive to protect: our children and the youths, the future of our country?
This was why #BounceCorruption was initiated, to give our youths the opportunity to ask and answer the necessary questions. We decided to let the youths step to the threshold, asking pertinent questions that concerns them, why good governance? Why should the total eradication of corruption be important for someone like me? We hoped this conversation will spur up the need to address youths’ involvement in the fight against corruption, their susceptibility to be affected and the quick need to lead the war in its final annihilation.
In addition, YIAGA AFRICA’s #BounceCorruption team also appointed 35 radio ambassadors to champion the steady fight against corruption via the use of media and freedom of speech through their usual radio programmes and skits. These ambassadors, who in their own rights are popular and altruistic in their lifestyles, have also made the #BounceCorruption conversation become a set in stone agenda via the use of communications and media, encouraging citizens to continue in their individual lives the fight against corruption practices within their environments.
There is also the need to reference the notable partnership to the EFCC and ICPC, who are jointly committed to the cause of curbing corruption in Nigeria. On the 18th of April 2018, when the Bounce Corruption team made a courtesy visit to the EFCC headquarters in Abuja, where we were warmly greeted by the Head, Enlightenment & Orientation of the Public Affairs Unit, Mr Samin Amaddin, who expressed his gratitude for the visit and noted that the EFCC is committed to working with YIAGA AFRICA as close as possible to get the all the agendas of the Bounce Corruption initiative work for a better good.
We have to be reminded that the Public Integrity Debate Competitions ran through selected tertiary institutions in six (6) different geo-political zones in Nigeria. With support from the Student Unions, these debates were shared in three stages, beginning with the preliminary, the knockout and lastly, the final stage (regarded as the Nationals). Teams were set up to participate, with the winning schools emerging and making it through the required stages until the finals, where there will be rewards and the task of the various schools to establish Public Integrity Clubs to further deepen the cause. Also in partnership for these debates were the EFCC and ICPC who implemented the activities. It was encouraging seeing young minds come up with spontaneous but powerful, concise solutions, giving insight that really, the youths are already conversant and eager to be a part of the guerrilla to tackle corruption in Nigeria.
The winning schools from the completed prior two stages who will be attending the finals (Nationals) at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja are thus:
1. University of Calabar (UNICAL)
2. University of Lagos (UNILAG)
3. Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO)
4. Gombe State University
5. University of Maidugiri (UNIMAID)
6. University of Illorin
7. University of Benin
8. Federal University, Duste (Jigawa)
Now, as the Nationals approach steadily on the 31st of May 2018, the #BounceCorruption team are gearing up for a monumental event to culminate the various programmes done over the project’s inception. We believe that in as much as so much has been done, so much still needs to be completed, more tasks undertaken and more milestones achieved. It is a steady journey on an unsteady road, but with the level of achievement and support accrued in such short time, we are hopeful for more laudable and successful outcomes in the future.