Corruption has serious economic and political implications for the success of the reform programmes in Africa. While these reforms seek to introduce competitive mechanisms for organizing the structures of power, production and services. Corruption stifles competition in any form and on many fronts. It facilitates the circumvention of competitive procedures. Economic and political reforms are aiming at reducing the cost of production and services. Corruption increases costs as it raises the transaction costs and consequently the prices of commodities and services. It undermines efficiency as it leads to delays in completion of projects and in some cases to semi-finished or non-existent projects. Bad governance negatively and directly affects returns on public investments. Corruption is very costly for investors and it defies all conventional arguments about comparative advantage. Unless it is handled it will continue scaring away investors from and impede development of Nigeria.
These issues need to be critically analysed and strategies for combating old and new forms of corruption, involving the active participation of the Civil Society discussed and charted out. Public officials, academicians, leaders of religious groups, NGOs, political parties and representatives of the people at various levels need to be given opportunity to understand corruption from different angles. Ultimately is the need to build enduring alliances between the CSOs and the anti-corruption institutions in the country.
Beyond all these, the fact still remains that Nigeria is a corrupt nation. Corruption is so pervasive in Nigeria that almost all facets of human life are affected by one form of corruption or the other even, in the houses of God.
Workshop and consultative forum on the Role of Civil Society in Combating Corruption in Nigeria
This course is aimed at providing opportunity to members of Civil Society Organisations from training institutions, NGOs dealing with governance, media and other relevant sectors to understand, to discuss and to chart out strategies for combating old and new forms of corruption in Nigeria, through active collaboration with the anti-corruption institutions in the country.
The target group and how the members will be selected
The primary target group for the training workshop will be trainers and researchers based in training institutions, research bodies, NGOs, the media and other organizations dealing directly with issues of accountability and good governance. Such a group has a big potential for organizing similar courses at national and local level or enhancing its capacity to advice policy makers on issues of good governance. The second target group for the forum are policy makers, the anti-corruption institutions, the judges, the legislators and donor agencies.
Who will be responsible for the selection?
The participants will be selected through a public adverts in networks and selective invitation of potential partners. Selection will be based on the potentials of the applicants to re-transmit lessons learnt and also, position in organisation. An independent selection committee of reputable personalities in the community will be constituted to compile the final list of participants from the list of applicants. Gender equity will be a criterion in drawing the final list.
The reasons for setting up the refresher course
In November 2004, the Institute for Social Studies, the Netherlands in collaboration with Human and Environmental Development Agenda organized an alumni refresher course on strategies for combating corruption in Africa for its West African Alumni, in Lagos. The course was very well attended but it was broader in terms of participation from West African countries. Few Alumni from Nigeria in participation felt the issues addressed were not Nigeria specific, even in the face of the country’s international rating at the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. In discussion with some alumni, it was agreed that a separate course should be mounted with the specific attention on the situation of the country.
It is in view of this request that HEDA developed a new course concept and further seeks support from a donor agency towards the implementation of the workshop in collaboration with the statutory anti-corruption institution in the country.
Presently, a commitment is already extracted from one of our partners to provide us with part funding to organise the five-day training workshop and requested to source alternative funding to convene the consultative forum. This forum, convened at the end of the training programme, is the icing on the cake for the workshop. It is designed as the forum to bring the members of the CSOs in close interaction with representatives transparency and accountability institutions in the country.
Delivery of the Course and Working Procedures
The course will be delivered through lectures, discussions, debates and workshops. Four sessions will be given per day, with the exception of the first and last day. Participants are expected to arrive on the first day, most likely a Sunday, from the evening and a get together dinner will be hosted for them to interact. The morning of the second day will be for speech making keynote address by representatives of the Anti-Corruption Institutions. A paper will be presented with a group discussion later in the day. The last day will be devoted to the development of strategies for engagement and development of anti-corruption charter. The morning session of other days will be used to introduce key issues, concepts, theories and practices. The second half of the morning will be used for discussion of the issues raised by resource persons. After lunch another presentation will be made and participants will go into small groups to discuss and prepare presentations on key issues as guided by the resource persons as the last session on views and positions on issues assigned. It is expected that the discussions on the group reports will be organized in such a way that they stimulate debate and exchange of ideas and strategies.
At the end of the course on the fifth day, the whole day will be spent on group work. They will put together the group reports over the whole course, select key issues and recommendations and compile them for presentation to the final plenary.
Representatives of Anti-corruption institutions and other institutions will be invited to share experiences with the participants on the second and fifth day to jointly work on a strategy for engagement of the institutions by the CSOs. The purpose will be to make a few recommendations that can feed into the national policy in the country. Another issue they will work on, in groups and report to the plenary, is how they are going to continue as a networking and what type of links they want to establish with the Institutions and HEDA.
It is a common knowledge that part of the reason behind the failure of people to engage the anti – corruption institutions (ICPC, EFCC, CCB and PCC) and bring corrupt practices to fore is due to lack of information on the laws establishing the institutions and means of accessing them. A compendium of Local and International instruments on anti-corruption and internet resource guide is most desirable, with reports of the outcome of the workshop and the anti-corruption charter.
The report/compendium will subsequently circulated across the six geo-political zones of the country at no cost to the CSOs, government institutions and media houses.
The proposed period of implementation is 3 months starting from the month of August 2006. While the process of mobilisation and resource development will be carried out within months of August, the workshop and forum is to be convened in the last week of September and report writing, production of compendium and online resource and interaction forum coming to effect in the 1st week of October.
Day 1: Arrival and registration of participants
Day 1 Evening: Reception and workshop introduction for Participants.
Day 2 Morning: Opening Ceremony and Keynote Presentation
Day 2 Afternoon: Definitions and Forms of Corruption
The objective will be to cover as many definitions and forms of corruption as provided by various authors, ECA, World Bank, the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, the 1997 UN Resolution on Corruption and the Lima Declaration.
Day 3 Morning: Corruption and its Economic Impact
The main focus will be on the impact of corruption on allocation and utilization of resources, efficiency in the performance of public functions and delivery of services. It will also cover the impact of corruption on national incomes, welfare, state revenues and on the cost of production and investment.
Day 3 Afternoon: Corruption, Politics and Democracy
The main objective will be to find out how corruption gets entrenched through patron client networks and coalitions between business groups and politicians. Focus will be on lootocratic and kleptocracies that emerged in Haiti, Paraguay, Nigeria and Zaire. The sessions will examine methods such regimes used to retain power. Such methods include adopting market oriented policies in order to remain on good terms with the West, and organizing privatization policies as a way of acquiring public assets at give away prices. Other methods include forming alliances with and subordinating criminal gangs and using devil worship or cults to retain control over criminal gangs, public servants and to scare the opposition.
The working group will focus on Combating Political Corruption
Day 4 Morning: Democracy and Accountability: International Experiences
The focus will be on Australia and Bolivia as cases where democracy, openness and political will reversed trends of corruption. In the seventies Australia was rocked by scandals but the existence of a genuine and effective opposition, an informed civil society and a professional justice system reversed the trends. Bolivia was once notorious for entrenched corruption. But since democratization in1982 it reversed the trends due to genuine representative democracy, participatory decision-making and statute backed systems of accountability. The discussion will focus on genuine democracy as an anti-corruption strategy.
The working group will focus on Empowering the Voiceless
Day 4 Afternoon: Civil Society – Government Partnership in fight against Corruption
The objective will be to use African case studies to share experiences on anti-corruption strategies. Botswana and South Africa will be used to show how prevention, prosecution and public education combine to produce results. Mali and Senegal will be used to show how deregulation and reduction of administrative discretion have reduced corruption. Malawi and Tanzania will be used to show how lack of political will and failure to involve civil society in the fight against corruption can lead to the entrenchment of corruption.
The group works will focus on the Educating the Business
Day 5 Morning: Ensuring the Independence and Effectiveness of Anti-Corruption Agencies
The objective is to x-ray the shortcomings of the agencies with recommendations for the way forward. Representatives of anti-corruption agencies and institutions will be invited to share their experiences with participants. This presentation will be in break-up working groups for extensive deliberations.
The focus of the working group will be Strengthening Agencies of Restraint
Day 5 Afternoon: Workshop on Strategies for Policy Change on Corruption (All stakeholders)
Based on the group reports for each session and the general discussions the whole afternoon will be spent in groups strategizing on how to make policy recommendations and develop activities for increasing awareness about corruption and how to confront it. They will also be asked to design proposals for cooperation between the network (HEDA) and the ICPC.
Working Groups will be required to work towards suggestions and strategies that will be adopted and form the unofficial anti-corruption charter of Nigerian Civil Society/Institutions. This will be a working document for ICPC, Policy makers, Parliamentarians, Judges and the CSOs in the fight against corruption.
Day 6: Departures.
The objectives of the workshop and forum
The course has the following short-term objectives:
a) Identifying old and new forms of corruption and widening the knowledge of participants on the causes and impact of corruption on the country’s integrity and development.
b) Examining the impact of corruption on economic and political reforms in Nigeria.
c) Facilitating a search for comparative systems and strategies for confronting the challenge of corruption as an obstacle to democracy, economic development and national integrity.
d) Facilitating activities in the areas of joint activity development by ISS alumni engaged in training research and advocacy with the aim of integrating into their programmes training issues on forms of corruption, its impact and ways of combating it.
e) Provide a platform for the exchange of ideas and interaction between stakeholders in the anti-corruption crusade.
f) Establish the first ever platform for the direct involvement of the CSOs in the activities of the anti-corruption institutions and policy makers, toward a holistic approach to the fight.
The long-term objectives are:
a) To use the course as pilot project for establishing a network of trainers and human rights activists dedicated to issues of accountability and transparency in Nigeria.
b) To form basis for cultural change and entrenchment of ethics in the young generation and the new professionals.
c) To build on the existing activities and programmes of HEDA within the framework of HEDA’s collaboration with the Anti-Corruption institutions, and provide an opportunity for HEDA to link up Integrity and accountability organisations in the country.
d) To generate, exchange, share and disseminate information on good governance best practices.