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01 Mar
0

How Politicians Threaten Nigeria’s Electoral Democracy – Moshood Isah

Show me a Nigerian Politician who would rather lose a credible election than win in a flawed process – Moshood Isah

Last week, Thursday 22nd February to be precise; the media was awash with revelation made by erstwhile Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Professor Attahiru Jega that, “the desperation and recklessness of politicians is the greatest threat to Nigeria’s Electoral Democracy”.  The former INEC boss made the comment at the inaugural session of ‘Watching The Vote Election Series’, an event organized by YIAGA Africa to serve as a platform in discussing the road map leading to the 2019 general elections. Professor Jega’s comment couldn’t have come at a better time and gathering as the event was graced by election stakeholders, which include major Political Party Actors, Civil Society Organizations and Youth Groups across Nigeria.

There is no questioning Professor Jega’s firsthand knowledge of the antics of Nigerian Politicians, especially seeing as he was at the helm of affairs at INEC during the 2011 and 2015 general elections. Both elections made their marks in the history of elections in Nigeria, especially the 2015 polls which for the first time saw the replacement of an incumbent President with an opposition. The memory of how a certain “Elder Statesman”, Godswill Orubebe almost truncated what has been described as a peaceful process comes to mind. It took the calmness of the erudite Professor and other electoral stakeholders present at the announcement of results to ensure the scenario ended as a momentary distraction.

It is rather unfortunate that the key players of the electoral process are the most culpable when it comes to electoral turmoil in Nigeria. While we may heap the blame on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) when it comes to irregularities during elections. However, Nigerians are not oblivious of the fact that, politicians always try to be a step ahead in a bid to manipulate the process.

Take for example, the most recent issue of alleged underage voting in Kano, which of course is a dent on the image of the electoral body. However, it should be stated that, state electoral commissions are solely responsible in conducting Local Government Elections according to Law.

Like YIAGA Africa #WatchingTheVote training manager; Mr. Paul stated during a TV program on Wazobia TV Max not too long ago, no underage person will come out on their own to vote without politicians inducing and mobilizing them. Though election officials may be culpable as regards underage voting, report has it that politicians go as far as threatening electoral officials with guns and other weapons forcing them to undermine the process.

The lack of adequate security for electoral officials during elections is an issue for future symposium, which to a large extent makes one begin to wonder why electoral officials are vulnerable during electoral duty.

As rightly noted by the former National Chairman of Labour Party; Barrister Dan Nwanyanwu during the Election Series, Nigerian politicians do not care about the credibility of the electoral process, as they are more interested in winning elections at all cost.

As a matter of fact, politicians hardly make effort in voter education during political campaigns, as all they care about is canvassing for votes. It is surprising as well as worrisome that in this age and time, elections still register thousands of invalid votes due to lack of adequate voter education.

The ongoing debate on the change of electoral sequence by the National Assembly is another issue which tends to undermine the power of the electoral body and as a result, undermine Nigeria’s electoral process. Professor Jega also waded in on the issue noting that, the decision by the National Assembly is self-serving and goes a long way in showing how far politicians can go in deviating from laid down rules and procedure for what is obviously not an altruistic motive.

Political Analysts have come out to say that, INEC within its constitutional right has been empowered to decide the dates of election. Thus, the ongoing debate may end up in court. This litigation could be a major drawback to INEC, as it should be taking its time in preparing for the Ekiti and Osun elections.

Despite all of these, its either difficult or impossible to prosecute any politician for electoral fraud in Nigeria. Electoral violence, mobilization of thugs, vote buying and attack on electoral officials are major issues masterminded by reckless politicians and has contributed immensely to voter apathy, thereby undermining the electoral process. Also, the issue of penury of internal democracy which constitutes a major bottleneck for young people contesting elections cannot be overemphasized.

There is need for security agencies to step up their game and apprehend any politician culpable of these offences. While the sensitization of young people as regards being used as electoral thugs is imperative so as for them to know they have better and equally vital roles to play in the society.

Moshood Isah is the Media Officer of YIAGA Africa

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01 Mar
0

Check out the Judicial Survey Findings on Rule of Law

The Rule of the Law and Empowerment Initiative (also known as Partners West Africa – Nigeria) with support from MacArthur Foundation. To ensure effective collaboration, Partners West Africa – Nigeria worked with the state High Courts in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos & Ondo; Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee; the Nigerian Bar Association (Akure, Gwagwalada, Ikeja, Lagos Island, & Unity Branches), Nigeria Institute of Advance Legal Studies, civil society organizations & the media.

The goal of the project is to enhance integrity in the Nigerian Judicial system through court observation; promote implementation of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act/Law in the FCT, Lagos & Ondo states; enhance citizen’s participation in judicial processes and improve access to information on judicial proceedings with regards to compliance of the ACJA. We aim to achieve this through social accountability in the judicial sector.

A total of 65 court rooms is being observed in the three states (FCT -20, Lagos- 25 and Ondo – 20)

Download Full Report Below

JUDICIAL SURVEY REPORT Statement of Release_Q1_FCT

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01 Mar
0

Corruption: CJN unfolds 13 reforms as judges get travel guide

THE judiciary is not relaxing the efforts to restore its pride, the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen, has said.

Backlog of cases, delayed proceedings and corruption allegations agaisnt officers are some of the stains the institution has been battling to remove.

Unfolding 13 reforms designed to sanitise the judiciary and rid it of corruption, the CJN said he must henceforth approve all overseas’ trips by judges.

The CJN, who spoke yesterday at the “Dialogue of organs of government on campaign against corruption and reform of the justice sector at the Presidential Villa in, Abuja, said all travels outside Nigeria by judges will now be with his permission after an application would have been made.

The forum was organised by the Prof Itse Sagay-led Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC).

Onnoghen also directed the court at any level to award punitive cost for frivolous litigation or delays caused by counsel.

In the reforms, judges are now all to go to work and sit in their courts from Monday to Friday from 9am to at least 4pm.

He listed the reforms in an address read by the President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa.

Onnoghen said: “In the recent past, the judiciary has been accused of corruption along with the allegation that when complaints of corrupt practices and unprofessional conducts are brought before the National Judicial Council (NJC), the Council shields or delays investigating the allegations so levelled against judicial officers.

“Without considering the merit or otherwise of the criticisms, it goes without saying that the judiciary, like every other human institution, needs a rejigging every now and then to improve the functionality of the institution towards a speedy delivery of justice.

“I have recently authorised the issuance of a set of reforms which ultimate objective is the speedy and transparent delivery of justice.

“The delay in our justice delivery system is of great concern to me. This unacceptable situation inevitably dictates the need for a thorough and comprehensive reform of our justice sector to ensure access to justice at affordable costs and within a reasonable time

“Such a reform agenda must of necessity require the cooperation of the three arms of government, namely; the Executive, the Legislature, and the Judiciary, as well as other relevant stakeholders

“The reforms I have introduced cover a wide range of issues; from establishing new modalities for appointment of judicial officers, to tightening judicial discipline regulations, and fashioning out a speedy way to clear backlog of cases, among others.

“Clearly, any unnecessary delay of justice is equally an act of corruption. Therefore, to enhance speedy dispensation of justice, we are ensuring that the Rules of Court Procedure must contain a provision for the award of punitive cost by the court for frivolous litigation or delays caused by counsel.

“In the same vein, I am reviving and strengthening the Inspectorate Division to go round the country and ensure that, in line with Public Service Rules, all judicial officers go to work and sit in their courts from Monday to Friday from 9am to at least 4pm.

“And, in line with the NJC’s Revised Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, I have directed that travels outside Nigeria should be with the permission of the Hon. Chief Justice of Nigeria, after an application would have been made.

“For enhanced performance, all Judges of Lower Courts in the country have been directed to submit Returns of Cases quarterly to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC) for assessment as it is done by the National Judicial Council (NJC) in respect of serving Judicial Officers of Superior Courts of Record.

“The area of appointment, all judges of lower courts and other public officers such as chief registrars and secretaries, among others, are henceforth required to write examinations and be interviewed, in addition to submission of copies of their judgments to the NJC when they are to be considered for judicial appointment.

“For members of the Bar who seek judicial appointments, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) will, in addition to the requirements in the NJC Guidelines on Appointment of Judicial Officers, assist the NJC with a separate assessment report on all NBA candidates being considered for judicial appointment.

“In the area of discipline, members appointed to serve in any fact-finding committee will henceforth be expected to complete their investigation and report their reports within 21 days.

“And, considering the increasing number of petitions written against judicial officers, we will constitute more committees to investigate the allegations therein.

“We have a lot more in our agenda to strengthen and reposition the judiciary, but suffice it to say that fighting corruption is not the responsibility of any particular arm of government but that of every citizen of Nigeria.

“Corruption or any other form of injustice, for that matter, thrives in a culture of impunity. To carry out a successful campaign against corruption, we have to fight the culture of impunity which is an attitudinal phenomenon. If we allow the rule of law to reign, then there will be a dramatic reduction in corruption and injustice.

“Corruption starts with a decision by an individual or a group of individuals to do the wrong thing. It is as simple as that. Corruption is never an accidental act. The person who commits a corrupt act has an option to do the right thing.

“As a democracy, Nigeria is guided by the Rule of Law where the Constitution is the ground norm. It is pertinent to mention that there is no ambiguity concerning the role of the judiciary in our Constitution. It is an arbiter between parties. The core issue in the mind of an arbiter is for justice to be done and seen to be done.

“Corruption in the judicial arm of government happens if an arbiter, in this case a magistrate, a judge, a justice or a panel, having heard from all parties and having determined where justice lies, decides to do the wrong thing by giving judgment to favour a particular individual or party over another.

“On the part of the judiciary, the NJC under my watch has constituted the Corruption and Financial Crimes Cases Trial Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO) under the chairmanship of Hon. Mr. Justice Suleiman Galadima, CFR, JSC (rtd), to serve as a check on the excesses of some bad eggs in the Judiciary. I am confident that in due course of time; our efforts to rid the Judiciary of questionable persons shall yield results.

“To match words with action, we did not just set up COTRIMCO but we have devoted a 20 per cent of our already lean budget in the Judiciary to the committee to ensure their mandate is effectively executed.

“I have also issued a directive to all heads of courts to designate some courts in their jurisdictions as Special Courts to handle corruption cases. This is a step in the right direction as lingering corruption cases will be expeditiously dispensed with.”

He reminded Nigerians that their collective efforts would be required to tackle the monster called corruption.

Onnoghen said: “Every individual must resolve to do the right thing, at the right time and without compulsion if we are determined to fight the scourge of corruption to a successful finish.

“Whatever solutions the experts will proffer at the end of this dialogue, let me add this, establishing a reward system in all strata of our society to encourage the good in us, will go a long way to encourage the values of honesty, hard work and integrity.

“More importantly, we must, as a nation, humble ourselves in prayer, turn from our evil ways and find our way back to God.”

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption, Chukwuka Utazi, said: “There is too much lip service to the fight against corruption. We need to do more to strengthen our anti-corruption agencies to discharge their duties to all whether you are in the ruling or opposition party.”

On his part, Justice A.D. Yahaya of the Court of Appeal said: “If PACAC was not there, Nigeria would have been at the worst end in corruption.

“We keep talking about corruption. It is so endemic and it is alarming. The problem is the indiscipline with us. I am sorry for this country; I do not see any light at the end of the tunnel unless we face the campaign against corruption, the way it should be faced.”

The Reforms

Establishing new modalities for appointment of judicial officers
Tightening judicial discipline regulations
Fashioning out a speedy way to clear backlog of cases
Speedy and transparent delivery of justice.
Rules of Court Procedure now to contain provision for the award of punitive cost by the Court for frivolous litigation or delays
Reviving and strengthening the Inspectorate Division to ensure judicial officers go to work and sit in their courts from Monday to Friday from 9am to at least 4pm.
President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) to assist the NJC with a separate assessment report on all NBA candidates being considered for judicial appointment.
All Judges of Lower Courts and other public officers such as Chief Registrars and Secretaries, among others, are henceforth required to write examinations before being appointed
To constitute more committees to investigate allegations against judges
All Heads of Courts to designate some courts in their jurisdictions as Special Courts to handle corruption cases
20% of Judiciary Budget to be devoted to Corruption and Financial Crimes Cases Trial Monitoring Committee (COTRIMCO)
All travels outside Nigeria by judges will now be with the permission of the CJN after an application would have been made.
All Judges of Lower Courts in the country have been directed to submit Returns of Cases quarterly to the Federal Judicial Service Commission (FJSC)

Source: The Nation

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28 Feb
0

2019: INEC moves to clean up voter register, partners population commission on dead persons

The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday urged the National Population Commission (NPC) to furnish it with record of dead citizens since 2015 to enable it to “sanitise’’ the voter register.

Chairman of the commission, Mahmood Yakubu, a professor, made the request when he visited the Chairman of NPC, Eze Duruiheoma, in Abuja.

He said that the records were necessary to enable the electoral umpire to expunge names of dead persons from the national voter register.

“We will like to partner NPC and ask that the population commission make available records of dead citizens since 2015 to enable us take necessary steps to remove them from the voter register.

“We are confident that you will oblige us so that we can further clean up our voter register ahead of the 2019 general elections,” Mr. Yakubu said.

According to him, the commission is determined to do whatever it takes to sanitise the voter register as a free, fair and credible election is dependent on a sanitised voter register.

The chairman said that as provided by the Constitution, both commissions were saddled with similar responsibilities.

“While INEC is saddled with the responsibility of registering eligible voters, the population commission registers births and deaths of citizens across the country,” he said.

He disclosed that a draft copy of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between both agencies had been submitted to the population commission for its consideration.

“When the MoU is signed, it will formalise and enhance collaboration between the sister agencies for the general development of the country,” Mr. Yakubu said.

Responding, Mr. Duruiheoma commended INEC for the initiative to sanitise the voter register using records of NPC.

He said the collaboration between the sister agencies in the performance of statutory duties was very pivotal to national development.

According to Mr. Duruiheoma, “if we get our elections and censuses right, our nation will be on the way to greatness.”

He said that the commission would commence the process of making the records of deaths across the country available to INEC.

He, however, said that the commission could not pretend to have the records of every birth or death that had occurred since 2015.

“We look forward to the day when every single birth or death case will be efficiently documented by the commission,” Mr. Duruijeoma said.

He said that copies of the MoU had been circulated among relevant officers within the commission and that necessary inputs were already being made.

He assured the INEC chairman of his readiness to sign the MoU once it was finalised.

(NAN)

Source : Premium Times

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27 Feb
0

INEC Must Meet Increased Registration Demand by Citizens – YIAGA Africa

Having deployed citizen observers across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, to keep an eye on the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR) process, YIAGA Africa’s WatchingTheVote has observed that there is an upsurge in the demand for registration by citizens which must be met by the independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

According to an Observation report released by the citizen-led election observation initiative, the challenge remains that some people are not aware of the location of CVR centers while some of the machines in use are obsolete and have been breaking down in the course of registration.

According to the report, the queue at the registration centers are unabated, security deployment is not across board and most political parties are not deploying their agents. Observation reports also shows that registrants also complained about inadequate registration centers especially in big Local Governments that require at least 3 or more Registration points. Late arrival and early departure of INEC personnel was also among the challenges reported by WTV Observers.

The WTV team lauded INEC on the effective conduct of the process apart from delay in processing registrants and lack of enough machines and personnel while also applauding the resilience of Nigerians to get registered even in the face of challenges.

In view of these challenges, YIAGA Africa recommended that INEC should make available more DDC machines and personnel to meet up with high demand for registration. The report also recommended that registration period can be extended to 6pm to ensure the commission registers more people in a day as more awareness should be created on new registration centers to enable citizens locate

.

 

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24 Feb
0

2018 budget of sports ministry unrealistic – YIAGA AFRICA – CLE

YIAGA Africa-Centre for Legislative Engagement (YIAGA-CLE) an NGO, has said the 2018 budget for the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development is “unrealistic.”

The Executive Director of the NGO, Mr Samson Itodo made the statement during an advocacy visit to the Chairman, House Committee on Youths and Development, Rep. Segun Adekola (Ekiti-PDP) in Abuja.

Represented by the Senior Programme Manager of the NGO, Ms Yetunde Bakare, Itodo stressed the need to review the budget for the benefits of the youths in the country.

Itodo explained that YIAGA-CLE with support from the European Union undertook an analysis of the 2018 budget of the ministry.

He said that the aim was to ascertain the position of youth development on the priority list of the Federal Government based on the budget proposal and its responsiveness to the needs young people.

Itodo explained that the analysis also looked at the budget of the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, the Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development.

He said that the budget of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the budget for the Social Investment Program (SIP) and the budget for the National Directorate of Employment were equally analysed.

He said the youth ministry had been allocated the sum of N16.2 billion which represents 1.4 per cent of the N8.612 trillion proposal of the Federal Government.

Itodo said a breakdown of the budget indicated that the recurrent budget consisting Salaries and Overheads takes a larger share of 95 per cent while the capital budget which funds projects and programmes was only 5 per cent.

He said that the budget failed to meet the government’s policy of 30 to 70 per cent allocation for recurrent and capital expenditures respectively.

The executive director said that the ministry’s budget was very lean when compared to the role it is expected to perform.

He said that too many new underfunded projects were introduced and were likely to result to incomplete projects.

According to him, details of the budget were not explicit to ensure transparency and fiscal responsibility.

Itodo recommended an adjustment in the budget to increase the allocation for capital expenditures.

He recommended that projects on entrepreneurship, vocational skill acquisition training should be adequately funded.

Responding, the committee chairman blamed the situation on the merging of the Ministry of Youth Development and the Federal Ministry of Sports.

Adekola said that the merger had really affected youth development as the focus is now mainly on sports.

He said that the mandate of youth development had been relegated to the background.

Adekola said that during the budget defence, the committee was vehement that there was nothing in the budget to take care of youth development.

The Chairman said most youths are not gainfully employed and that the thousands of youths roaming the streets was responsible for the unabated spate of militancy, terrorism, prostitution and the menace of herdsmen.

“So I agree with you that the budget did not take adequate care of youths, it is unfortunate that we have already passed the budget defence stage.

“However, we will make sure a holistic investigation and forensic auditing is carried out in the ministry,” he said.

The Chairman said that the committee had made a case for the establishment of a youth commission to take care of the welfare of young people

Source: NAN

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23 Feb
0

 #WatchingTheVote Election Series: Politicians Greatest Threat to Nigeria’s Electoral Democracy – Jega

Former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said politicians were the greatest threat to Nigeria’s democracy.  Jega said this during the Watching the Vote Election Series held in Abuja with the theme “Is Nigeria’s Democracy Under Threat?, as he explained that the recklessness of Nigerian Politicians to destabilise the democratic process needs to be checkmated

Prof Jega who chaired the maiden edition of the Election series organised by YIAGA Africa said, “Nigeria like all countries face threats to its democracy, we must identify the threats that have the tendency to derail the development of our democracy and address them.

Bar. Dan Nwanyawu, Prof Jega and Idayat Hassan during the WTV elections series

“We must also checkmate the threats of politicians to undermine our democracy because all we need now is adding value to the process and We also need to mobilise our people in towns and villages to be part of the electoral process and ensure that we do not engage in authoritarian reversal which would take us several years to get back on track.

“The signals are there, the fragility of the system is evident, we are a country with enormous systemic security challenges.” The former INEC boss, therefore, advised that Nigerians should have quality representatives that would provide good governance and protect the interest of the people.

Jega also faulted the power of the National Assembly to alter the sequence in which elections are conducted saying, change in the election sequence undermines the independence of electoral body.

Professor Jega pointed out that several sections of the constitution also stated that the power to organise and set the date for elections remain the exclusive preserve of INEC. He also decried that more funds would be needed to finance the conduct of elections if the nation was to go by the recommendation of the National Assembly.

The panel discussion which was moderated by Seun Okinbaloye had former Chairman of Labour Party, Dan Nwanyanwu, Chief Executive Director of Centre for Democracy and Development, Idayat Hassan to discuss roles of Political parties and Civil Societies in Nigeria’s Electoral Democracy. Also, on the panel of discussion is Udo Jude Ilo, the Country Officer and Head of Nigeria Office of the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

Panelists at the WTV Election Series

On the theme, Is Nigeria’s electoral democracy under threat? Ms Idayat Hassan decried the stage of our electoral democracy saying, having 68 registered political parties is a major issue as majority of the parties don’t have representation in the entire 36 states of the federation especially at the grassroots.  Similarly, Udo Jude Ilo also agreed saying there should be a threshold of registering political parties as it is not sustainable to continue to spend huge funds in conducting elections in Nigeria.

With regard the roles of political parties play in Nigeria’s electoral democracy, Barrister Dan Nwanyanwu said, political parties are much more concerned winning elections rather than the credibility of the electoral process itself. According to him, For us to have a level plain ground for all and a stronger democratic system, there is need for voters education.

As part of conscious effort to improve our electoral democracy, Director General of National Orientation Agency (NOA), Dr Garba Abari who is also present at the WatchingTheVote Election Series said, Nigeria’s democracy was under threat and the signs and indicators were evident. Abari stressed the need for government to partner CSOs to educate Nigerians on elections to especially curb invalid votes. He said NOA was concerned about the number of invalid votes that kept recurring during elections, adding that there was need to educate the electorate on election procedure.

DG NOA, Dr. Garba Abari speaking in Voter Education

According to the Executive Director, YIAGA Africa, Samson Itodo, the Election series could not have come at a better time with barely 385 days to the 2019 General elections. Mr Itodo said, there was need for Nigerians to redesign what the future of the nation would look like. Itodo said the election programme was timely as it was aimed at assessing the state of Nigeria’s democracy and to chat the way forward.

Participants at the WTV Election Series

WatchingTheVote Program Director Cynthia Mbamalu giving her vote of thanks, said 2019 elections is going to be critical to us as Nigerians thus we at YIAGA will continue to engage citizens to ensure credible elections in Nigeria.

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23 Feb
0

STATEMENT BY YIAGA-CLE AT AN ADVOCACY VISIT TO THE CHAIRMAN HOUSE COMMITTEE ON YOUTH DEVELOPMENT

Honorable Chairman,

YIAGA Africa-Centre for Legislative Engagement (YIAGA-CLE) with support from the European Union undertook an analysis of the 2018 Appropriation bill from a youth perspective to ascertain the Federal government’s priority for youth development based on the budget proposal and its responsiveness to the needs young people. The analysis looked at the budget for the Federal Ministry of Sports and Youth Development and some social and economic including the budget for the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the budget for the Social Investment Program (SIP) and the budget for the National Directorate of Employment.

Considering that the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development’s (FMYSD) was created with the mandate to provide overarching policy direction and coordination for youth development in Nigeria, the focus on the budget for the ministry was to ensure that the budget was structured to fulfil the Ministry’s mission of providing the necessary infrastructure, sustainable framework, policies to enhance the development of the Nigerian Youth, the protection of their rights and continuous improvement of the quality of life for the entire citizenry and making Nigeria one of the leading sporting nations in the world.

The budget for the Ministry is divided in into four parts according to the four parastatals under the Ministry. This include; the FMYSD – Head Quarters (HQ), the Centre for Citizenship and Leadership, the National Youth Service Corps, the Nigeria Football Federation and The Nigeria Institute for Sports.

The FMYSD has been allocated 1.4% of theN8.612trillion budget proposal of the 2018 Federal Government budget, this amounts to N116,220,852,559. A breakdown of this budget indicates that the recurrent budget consisting Salaries and Overheads takes a larger share of 95% while the capital budget which funds projects and programmes is only 5%.

 General observation on the FMYSD budget

Generally, it is observed that the FMYSD budget is very lean when compared to the role it is expected to perform. A break-down of the budget indicates that the recurrent expenditure as it is currently proposed gulps 95% of the budget while the capital expenditure is limited to only 5% of the budget. This at first instance presents a major challenge considering that share of capital is lopsided and fails to meet the government’s policy of 70 to 30 for recurrent and capital budgets. Interestingly, most of the expenditure lines are administrative in nature. In other words, priority is placed on procurement of items such as vehicles, computers, furniture fittings, repairs of offices etc.

In addition, the proposed budget for the FMYSD introduced too many new projects, which are underfunded with the likelihood to result in several incomplete projects thus adding to the growing number of abandoned projects. Details of budget line were not explicit to ensure transparency and fiscal responsibility. For instance, budget items in the FMYSD – HQ and the Nigeria Football Federation budget for sporting activities within the recurrent budget were not clearly stated. Both agencies could end up expending public resources for same activities if the type, location and beneficiaries are not clearly stated. Some of the specific observations include:

  1. The review of FMYSD budget shows that all the agencies did not apply the principles of good budgeting. Budgets of agencies were unrealistic given the magnitude of the problem and challenges youth face in Nigeria.
  2. The review of the national Youth policy tagged as an ongoing project means it was not completed in the last fiscal year. It is not clear if the amount budgeted for this fiscal year will be enough to complete the process. A national Youth Policy should be current and developed to address present day challenges while acting as a guide to develop relevant youth intervention in Nigeria.
  3. 49 new projects of FMYSD –HQ are too many resulting in a lean budget spread across many activities.
  4. Budgets for entrepreneurship and skills building aretoo lean to yield any significance in numbers of youths reached or results.
  5. A budget of N15m each for 40 Federal Universities, 21 Federal Polytechnics and over 100 Unity Schools respectively for sports equipments is lean. It is not clear  how many schools  in each category will benefit from these equipments
  6. Youth training on citizenship and leadership should be prioritized in the FMYSD 2018 budget, given the worrisome trends in youth agitations across the Country.
  7. Public private partnerships for the provision of entrepreneurship, vocational and sporting activities through the agencies should be encouraged and such budgets captured within public funding to ensure accountability.
  8. The Ministry should adjust its pattern of allocation to the 70:30 percent rule for Recurrent and Capital budget respectively, reflecting the policy on public finance
  9. Allocations to youth programmes should be strictly for young persons. Lumping budgets for youth with women was seen across most of the sectors. Although both are vulnerable groups their needs are surely different.

Recommendations

  1. It is therefore recommended that the MDAs adjusts the pattern of allocation to the 70:30 percent rule for Recurrent and Capital budget respectively, reflecting the policy on public finance management which the Federal Government has adjusted to.
  2. New projects within agencies should be reduced to a manageable number that will allow for optimal funding of project and possible completion within the medium term, depending on the size of the project.
  3. Projects on entrepreneurship, vocational skills should be adequately funded or left to specific ministries with direct functions such as NDE. There is need to harmonize youth programmes to ensure synergies and reduce duplications – a guideline on responsibility and budget priority for youth within federal agencies should be produced by the FMYSD.
  4. To avoid duplications, budgets for Sporting Activities in FMYSD-HQ and the Nigeria Football Federation should provide details on type, location and target audience. This will ensure a more transparent and efficient allocation of resources.
  5. Youth training on Leadership is very important. The Citizens and Leadership Centre’s budget should be increased to provide at least 6 zonal leadership programmes yearly. The agency should also reflect it revenue generating capacity within its budget.
  6. Public private partnerships for the provision of entrepreneurship and sporting activities through the relevant agencies should be encouraged and such budgets captured within public funding to ensure accountability
  7. The MDA’s should budget separately for youth activities from that of women and children. Since this is an area of intervention that needs strategic approach, it is important that allocations are separated; this will also enable tracking of funds and oversight of budget.

In conclusion, YIAGA-CLE is of the opinion that the budget of the Ministry as proposed is unrealistic given the magnitude of the youth demography and challenges youth face in Nigeria. This challenge is not peculiar to the budget of just the FMYSD but extends to the other social and economic sector that directly or indirectly impacts on youth development. Identifying this challenge and underscoring the importance of inclusive budgeting that meets the needs of the youth, YIAGA-CLE has designed a toolkit for Youth Development. This toolkit will be presented to the Committee of Youth Development and partners working to promote youth development. This toolkit will further strengthen the oversight function of the Committee for regulatory supervision of public expenditure to ensure transparency and accountability of public resources that truly meet the need of young people in Nigeria.

 

Samson Itodo

Executive Director

 

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22 Feb
0

‘Corruption getting worse in Nigeria’ — Transparency International releases 2017 index

Corruption is getting worse in Nigeria, according to the latest corruption perception index (CPI) released by Transparency International (TI) on Wednesday.

While the country scored 27/100 and was ranked 136th in 2016, the latest CPI scores Nigeria 28/100 but with a rank of No. 148 out of 180 countries surveyed — a significant 12 places below where it was the previous year.

This will come as a blow to the President Muhammadu Buhari administration who came into office on the strength of his anti-corruption credential.

Although the administration has put many suspects on trial and seized assets of politicians and government officials, it has also been accused of condoning corrupt practices by top government officials.

The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption in the opinion of experts and business people, uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean, according to TI.

NIGERIA NOW MORE CORRUPT THAN KENYA

An analysis by TheCable shows that Kenya, which was rated more corrupt than Nigeria in 2016, has now overtaken the west African country, climbing to 143 from 145.

Other sub Saharan African countries ranked higher than Nigeria are Botswana — whose joint 34 rank is the best in Africa — as well as Rwanda (joint 48) and Nambia (joint 53).

Nigeria is ranked 148 along with Guinea and Comoros.

In 2015, Nigeria scored 26/100 and was ranked 136 — although only 168 countries and territories were surveyed then.

New Zealand maintains the No. 1 rank with a score of 89/100, Denmark No. 2 with 88, while Finland, Norway and Switzerland are joint No. 3 with 85.

‘CORRUPTION FIGHT IN NIGERIA STALLED’

Meanwhile, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), the national contact of TI, says it is “seriously worried” about the new but unfavorable trend in the fight against corruption in the country, as buttressed in the newly published CPI.

“On the African continent, Nigeria ranks 32nd position in Africa out of 52 assessed countries in 2017. While Botswana leads the continent with the record of competent and largely corruption-free public administration, Nigeria hopelessly falls behind with 27 points. In West Africa, Nigeria is the second worst country out of 17 countries leaving only Guinea Bissau behind,” CISLAC said in a statement released on Wednesday evening.

“This fresh setback in the fight against corruption confirms that grand-corruption, political corruption, nepotism, favoritism and bribery persist in Nigeria at all levels. It is CISLAC’s view that the negative perception is mainly a consequence of the inability to combat grand corruption and astronomical plundering of public coffers costing the Nigerian tax payers around 25% of annual GDP. Since the current administration has come to power on the anti-corruption ticket, no significant politically exposed person has been duly sentenced on anti-corruption charges,” it added.

Source: The Cable

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21 Feb
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Is Nigeria’s Electoral Democracy Under Threat? Prof. Jega Set to Chair  Watching the Vote Panel Discussion

The 2019 election is barely 360 days away and we are yet to conclude on the amendments to the Electoral Act, the budget for the Independent National Electoral Commission for 2018 that directly impacts on the planning for the February 2019 General Elections and the increasing demand by citizens for the auditing of the National Voter Register especially with the controversial allegation of underage voters from the just concluded Local Government Elections in Kano State. In addition, is the rising insecurity, the rise of ethnic militancy and fragmentation as well as the poor state of the economy remain key issues as we move towards the 2019 General Elections.

As Several issues dominating the electoral discourse remain contentious and while each side of the argument will affirm superiority, the important question on how all these impacts on the success and credibility of the 2019 general election is yet to answered. The maiden edition of the YIAGA Africa WatchingTheVote Election Dialogue Series will be providing a platform for key stakeholders to debate on these issues while seeking to provide answers to the question: “Is Nigeria’s Democracy Under Threat?” The Panel session which will be chaired by the Immediate Past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC); Professor Attahiru Jega, billed to take place on 22nd February 2019 with Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, Udo Jude Ilo, Idayat Hassan and Chef (Barr.) Dan Nwanyanwu as speakers. The WTV Election Dialogue Series is a high level electoral policy dialogue designed to create a platform for engagement on the 2019 general elections in Nigeria. The event-based series provides an opportunity for key election stakeholders and citizens to engage on pathways for ensuring free, credible and peaceful elections in 2019.

While the 2015 general election was largely believed to be free and fair, it was far from perfect with records of poor voter turnout. The 2019 elections present’s more intriguing prospects with more citizens getting interested in the election as indicated in the rate of turn-out for the Continuous Voter Registration exercise and the whole discourse on having more young people and new alliances contest for the elections. As an active participant in the elections and one of the Election observer groups in Nigeria, there is no better time to build on the lessons learnt from previous elections and engage stakeholders; INEC, Political Parties, Civil society Organizations (CSOs), Media, Security Agents and citizens for better preparation for the forthcoming 2019 general election. This is most needful as Nigeria begins the countdown on the “Road to 2019” General Elections.

 

Signed

Samson Itodo

Executive Director, YIAGA Africa

 

 

 

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