because you may remember that we discussed it a month ago, at the end of February, and we talked about the issue of trust, and how, because we have an Integrity, Ethics and Accountability deficit, that we have this trust deficit. But I think that since then, events on the Corona virus front have really moved on apace, if I can put it like that, in the sense that we seem to be having … on the one hand we have … it seems as though we have a good technical response in regard to the issue of tracing and treating people who have come into contact with Corona virus carriers. But on the other, we have these … questions at every level …
mean what happened, according to the NNPC, a truck ran into a gas processing plant and it exploded, and that caused damage to the houses around, and it also caused damage to the NNPC pipeline. Now … it’s not been quite clear, because looking at the damage that was done in Abule Abo, it … of course I don’t know how many gas cylinders we’re talking about, but the extensive amount of damage, I mean I take my gas cylinders to a gas filling, a gas processing plant, and it’s in the middle of a residential area of course, but I can’t imagine that they have that many cylinders, I just can’t imagine what’s going on.
Good evening everybody in the studio, because we’ve got a lot to discuss. Obviously what I really wanted to discuss with you guys from BudgIT, Damilola and Olaniyi, are some of the IDEAS issues that arise from the Budget, but I thought that in light of the disclosure, or the confirmation as Aghogho said, that we have a confirmed case of Coronavirus in the country, that there are some IDEAS issues that arise before we get to the budgetary aspect of it. Because, I mean, I was listening to the radio this morning, and I don’t know if you know that Nigeria’s obviously not the first country to have this … have a confirmed case … Aghogho, I’m looking at you using your hand sanitizer there.
You’re welcome. Ier, as I was saying, what IDEAS tries to look at in issues of moment, are Integrity, Democracy, Ethics and Accountability. Now it comes under the general heading of anti-corruption, but as we always say, corruption is not just about the money and where that’s gone. Because in … when a report of this nature comes out, I think – I mean, before I get into the issues of who is accountable for it – I would like you to perhaps just give us a brief explanation of what the report is. It’s a very short report, but in that … in its nine pages, including the cover page, it packs a powerful punch. And I wonder if you can give us a brief explanation of what’s in the report?
The BBC report is about a particular form of torture used by the security agencies in Nigeria called ‘Tabeh’. But it … it speaks to … they focused on a particular form, but it actually speaks to the wider issue of Accountability, and that’s why IDEAS, which as you know is about Integrity, Democracy, Ethics and Accountability, that’s why IDEAS is asking this question: Who is being held Accountable where the security agencies breach the laws against torture?
eah, I mean I think Rotimi, the first thing that we need to, when we’re talking about IDEAS, this is not … people have been talking about this as though it is a political decision by INEC, or as though it is a subjective matter within the discretion of INEC. And so I think that if we are trying to see: Is INEC behaving … with … in an Ethical manner, behaving with Integrity and so on, we need to emphasise that actually, at this point in the proceedings, the … those issues don’t really come into it because INEC is applying a formula that had been put into the issue of registration, or of deregistration, by the Fourth Alteration to the Nigerian Constitution, which was the amendment to section 225A of the Constitution. So what has been done is not that INEC has woken up and decided: We have too many parties, we’re going to remove some of them. INEC has actually done what it should, what is expected of it, and …
Well, as I said, there are … this matter raises IDEAS issues, because as you know IDEAS is about Integrity, Democracy, Ethics and Accountability. And one of the issues, one of the questions that has been raised, is that: Where does this come from? … And the Government, in its publicity, is saying: It is the 2018 law, Transport Sector Reform Law of Lagos State, that we are merely enforcing. Ok? So that’s one aspect of it. And of course the immediate response is: But that particular piece of legislation said that the ban on plying certain named routes would only affect those motorcycles which had an engine capacity of less than 200 cubic centimetres. And, but the government, in its publicity, Lagos State Government in its publicity, has been justifying … the question had been asked: Why is it going … why must it affect “Gokada” and … similar ride-hailing … people who use ride hailing apps? Why is it affecting those? And it does seem to me that the government, if it’s going to say that: We’re standing on the 2018 Law, then it has to stick to that.
But before I get into the discussion with Joshua about the role of the creative arts in public awareness, education and so on, I should say that one of my … our correspondents on Twitter did express some sorrow that the programme only lasts for such a short while, and that we should have some phone-in. And so I was sort of saying: Yes! You see! My listeners are keen to have me! Then he said: Yes, because I wanted to correct a mistake that you made in your last programme! So I think I should correct that mistake, which was that I was talking … it’s education-related, I should say. We were talking about the decision by JAMB that … to demand what I said was the National Identity Card, and then they later said: Ok, no, you don’t need it. But what Mr. T.C.P. Whyte said was, that he wanted to correct, was that JAMB asked candidates to get their NIMC, their National Identity
Hello Rotimi. But I always like to try and accentuate the positive, so I would rather say that rather than saying we’re going to look at abuse, we are going to look at the IDEAS issues in the use of public property and the use of public power generally. I mean, the one that springs to mind immediately, the one that I put out on the Twitterfeed, was the question of so many people who were trying to register for JAMB (the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board) examinations, and they were instructed that they would not be able to register unless they had their National Identity Card. Now, there are issues with the National Identity Card as it is, I’m sure I’ve told you that they awarded me my law partner’s date of birth and said that I can’t change it, even though the Bank Verification Number on which it was based had been changed.
Well, it’s in the same stand … it stands in the same shoes as the Hisbah in Kano, because I notice that the … the National Congress of Northern Youths, or some similar group, had complained … National … Northern Youth Council of Nigeria … had berated the South West Governors for establishing Àmọtẹkùn, and I’m just thinking to myself that the issue should not be that because the Governors have joined up together. I mean one of the things that we’ve always said about the question of whether we want to establish regional governments, is that you don’t have to be forced into cooperation with anybody. That’s why you found Lake rice because Lagos decided to cooperate with Kebbi state on the issue of rice production. Now, the South West Governors have decided to cooperate on the issue of a state security type of outfit.
Well, it’s not … flood has been our own issue. Flood, soil erosion and so on. But Rotimi, we … if we’re talking about what we don’t want to come our way in 2020, that’s one thing. But the President in his New Year message to Nigerians, did tell us about a lot of the things that would be coming, not just in 2020, but in fact, one of the first references that he made, was in his speech, where he talked about what would be coming in 2023: which is to say that he would not be contesting for elections. Now, in IDEAS we try to look for the IDEAS content, that’s Integrity, Ethics, Accountability; and I thought that that statement was particularly important because he combined it with a promise to seek “valid ethical elections”, and … to assist the Independent National Election … Electoral Commission and our neighbouring countries to strengthen the electoral process in Nigeria and across the region. And the reason why I thought that … although
Oh, really?! Well, definitely I have to first of all say ‘Compliments of the Season’. I hope that all IDEAS listeners had a Merry Christmas and that they are looking forward to a Happy, Prosperous, Peaceful etc. etc. New Year. One of the things that may or may not determine the shape of the New Year is the topic that we’re going to be discussing today Rotimi, which is the apparent volte face by the Attorney-General of the Federation over the issue of compliance with orders of court. You will recall that a few weeks ago, when the Attorney-General … when there was this very unseemly and disgraceful fracas in the Federal High Court after Omoyele Sowore had been released, and then he had come to court and he …
I know that you’re coming, you’re coming a bit on a red-eye basis, but I know that we wouldn’t … we might not have got you otherwise. And you know, this programme is about Integrity, Democracy Ethics and Accountability, so it does seem to us that the role of the ICPC is particularly important in seeing how those values can be enhanced, supported or upheld, and I wonder if you can just give us a brief encapsulation of what the ICPC is, because so many of us mix it up with the EFCC?
Thank you very much. Well, I know that people will be thinking that … will be anxious to hear this … what was originally a mystery … a mystery guest that Rotimi has in the Public Square, but I want to say that we on IDEAS, we are looking at always the Integrity, the Democracy, the Ethics and the Accountability in the issues that actually may affect us in our day-to-day lives and in our relationship with the government. And that’s why I’m so happy to have on the programme with me, Tunji Andrews. You all know him, he’s an economist. And the discussion is going to be about the Open Treasury Portal. And I think that … before we get into discussing what impact it’s going to have on Nigerians (you know, as they say: What’s that got to do with the price of fish?) We … we … Perhaps Tunji you can just in a succinct way, tell us what exactly is the Open Treasury Portal? Who has access to it? And … can an ordinary Nigerian make use of it?
O, thank you very much Aghogho, and today we’re actually … I’m always saying that in IDEAS radio, Integrity, Democracy, Ethics and Accountability … we are always trying to accentuate the positive part of the anti-corruption struggle in Nigeria. As you know, next Monday is going to be Anti-Corruption day in the country. So, instead of always looking on the negative side, we want to look and see what are the positive things that are being done to improve transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s public space. And that’s why I’m particularly glad to have as my guest on the programme Mr. Waziri Adio, who is the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. I don’t know if he’s on the line? Waziri, are you there?
we’re going to be looking at the issue of the IDEAS component when we think about Activism Against Violence Against Women. And I’m actually a little bit stirred by … on this subject because there was a tweet on my Twitter feed of a confrontation between an … very much aggrieved consumer of electricity and representatives of an electricity company in Lagos. And the … one of the representatives of the electricity company was a woman and she was holding a wire and the … or some cable, and the aggrieved consumer was also holding the cable, and they were sort of dragging it, and the man was obviously – I mean, I would say he was at breaking point – but at the point of his … as part of his reaction he started stripping himself and then he threatened to rape the representative of the electricity company, at which point of course she let go of the cable
Ok. Well, Bayelsa is … I think Bayelsa is a little bit … there are two parts to it. We’d already been discussing the fact that there are so many … there are so many security agencies deployed in the state, and, you see there’s a point at which it becomes counter-productive, because as I said, if the intelligence agencies and the security agencies had done their job and were working in harmony, then there shouldn’t be a need for such overwhelming security presence, unless the purpose of the security presence is something else, which is to say; either to intimidate voters, or it could equally be, to again pass a message to those who might want to use violence in the elections, that we’re on ground to stop it.
Yeah, I think that … the first aspect of it, because obviously when you are having an election, whether the same person, the incumbent is running for office, or whether the incumbent’s party is hoping to be re-elected, or whether somebody else wants to get in; it’s in some ways a verdict on what has gone before, the previous four years. And I guess that from … as I’ve always said, that in the Public Square, the Public Square of IDEAS is the square of Accountability, because this is the point at which the voters effectively are telling you to Account for the way you’ve governed the state over the past four years.
Ojugo Uche who is the Head of Research at BudgIT. Thank you very much. Ojugo Uche has been here before, but she’s also joining the conversation. Gbolahan Olojede is an economist as well as public affairs analyst, thank you very much, as well as ..
I want to introduce Adeolu Adekola, he is the Senior Programme Officer of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism … and he’s here to talk to us about the investigation that has been carried out under the auspices of the Centre and others into the huge amount that’s been spent on Nigeria’s electricity over the past 59 years. And for me, there are two aspects to it. One … because in IDEAS we deal with Integrity, Democracy, Ethics and Accountability.