The Executive Director, of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani), has tasked the media to commit those seeking different political offices to reform the agenda.
Speaking Friday at a capacity-building forum for journalists, Rafsanjani asked media practitioners to prioritize anti-corruption and accountability issues as they take on politicians during campaigns toward 2023 general elections.
He expressed concern that politicians hardly talk about how to tackle corruption or address decadence in the education sector. This Rafsanjani felt, was not encouraging considering the damage done by corruption in Nigeria.
“We should put these issues at the front burner as politicians begin their campaigns because the fact that they are not talking about it is of great concern”, he stated.
CISLAC boss also recalled the recently concluded primary elections that witnessed heavy financial inducement and warned that Nigerians must not go into general elections with a mindset to induce voters.
Still speaking on the ills of corruption, Rafsanjani noted that: “When there is compromise or poor handling of how to deal with the nation’s challenges, there is a huge consequence. Kano had a lot of industries in the past but because of corruption in the power sector, a lot of them have closed down, leaving many people jobless.
“A lot of people have left Nigeria because of the problems of joblessness and insecurity. It is only in Nigeria that schools will close for six months and those in charge of education have not resigned.”
Adding: “The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) got salary review since 2009 and everyone knows how expensive the country has become. Politicians and Legislators earn as much as N17 to N19million monthly aside from other benefits while a Professor after spending 30 years teaching, earns about N416,000 monthly.
“If politicians are earning so much, why look down on teachers? This is a bastardization of public institutions”, he stated.
On the security situation bedevilling the country, he said: “When you allow criminals to come in with weapons because of the little graft they offer, it is a challenge.”
He lamented how people come into the country freely with drugs and guns because of the compromise of agencies charged with the responsibility of manning the border.
“We just have to understand the consequences of corruption. It has destroyed our value system and helped to undermine development, yet we move as if everything is alright.
“We must make politicians to be committed to proper reforms. In the last seven years, some people promised to fight corruption, provide jobs and fight insecurity. But we have all seen what is happening.”
Rafsanjani, therefore, urged journalists to confront politicians with appropriate questions as a way of committing them into actions and be able to demand accountability from them when they default.
While commending their past efforts, he further tasked them to help checkmate politicians, noting that without the media, it will be difficult to get the people informed as well as hold the government accountable.
Speaking, the Executive Director, of Women in Media Communications Initiative, Hajiya Halima Ben Umar, stressed that the media should be bold enough to demand explanations from political office seekers on how to tackle Nigeria’s problems.
“We want issue-based campaign; journalists must ask questions on what they have to offer in addressing mirage of problems confronting the country, especially with regards to women, disabled and vulnerable groups.”
In his remarks, the Chairman, of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Kano State Branch, Abbas Ibrahim, described corruption as a monster that has done so much damage on the country.
He reiterated that journalists have a significant role to play in ensuring that credible leaders are elected in 2023.
Peter Hassan Tijani is the General Secretary, of the Kano State Civil Society Forum. He stated that the media is key in the mission to rescue Nigeria, adding that journalists must engage in more serious issues rather than political distractions as have been trending in the media recently.
He charged them to focus on people-orientated issues that are capable of changing the narratives of what citizens are facing in the country. He also stressed the need for CSOs to partner with the media in order to save the country from corrupt leaders.