Saturday, October 5, 2013

Jonathan's Secret Assets Do Not Allow Nigeria To Qualify For Membership In A Global Anti-Corruption Body


The refusal of President Goodluck Jonathan and other public officials to publicly declare their assets as required by law, is the major reason why Nigeria has not still qualified for membership of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an influential global anti-corruption initiative backed by major nations.
Six African countries, however, have been accepted. They are Ghana, Liberia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi and South Africa.
OPG was established by eight countries in 2011 to ensure governments’ commitment to promote transparency, fight corruption, use new technologies to strengthen governance, and  empower citizens.Its membership has since grown to 60 sates, and is viewed by many as a mark of a country’s high transparency standard.Continue...

Jack Mahoney, the partnership’s Program Associate, disclosed to Premium Times that despite demonstrating an interest, Nigeria has failed to make the cut to be eligible for membership.
“Nigeria is very close to eligibility, but has not yet reached the necessary score. At last count performed in March 2013, the Nigerian Government scored an 11/16, and is therefore one point away from the 12/16 minimum score required for countries to be eligible to join,” he said.
Top on the list of the reasons given why the county is still falling short is the brazen refusal of President Jonathan and other public officials to publicly declare their assets. Last year, during a media chat, Jonathan openly stated he was not going to declare his assets:
“The issue of asset declaration is a matter of principle. I don’t give a damn about it, if you want to criticise me from heaven. The issue of public declaration I think is playing to the gallery. You don’t need to publicly declare any assets. If I am somebody who wants to hide it is what I tell you that you will even believe,” saif the President.
Besides a public declaration of assets for a country to be accepted as a member, Mahoney added, it needs to publish its annual Audit Report measured by the Open Budget Index (OBI). The Index measures the state of budget transparency, participation, and oversight in countries around the world.
In 2012, Nigeria’s budget scored 16 point out of 100, what put the country at the 80th position out of the 100 countries surveyed. With 93 points, New Zealand was rated as the country with the most transparent budget followed by South Africa with 90 points.
Mahoney also said Nigeria needs to improve its score in the Democracy Index (DI) to be considered for membership. DI measures the state of democracy in 167 countries based on 60 indicators grouped in five different categories: electoral process and pluralism; civil liberties; functioning of government; political participation; and political culture. Last year, DI Nigeria was ranked the 7th most terrorised country in the world.

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