A coalition of Civil Society Organisations under the auspices of #Say No Campaign has urged Nigerians to strengthen their resolve against corrupt practices.
The coalition while staging a peaceful walk within the city of Abuja, to commemorate the International Day of Anti-Corruption, insisted that Nigerians must rise up and ensure that they say no to corruption.
Convener of Say No Campaign, Ezenwa Nwagwu, while speaking to journalists urged Nigerians to rise and be counted as voices against corruption.
“We are joining the world today to mark this day, even though we know that our institutions are rife with corruption, but to ensure that the no of citizens count, and that is why the United Nations decided that the theme of this year will be ‘Every No Counts’ “It is not the ‘No’ of the president alone that counts, it is not the ‘No’ of a governor that counts, it is not the ‘No’ of a senator that counts, it is not the ‘No’ of a religious leader that counts, it is not the ‘No’ of an economic leader that counts. It is the no of every citizen and the world is saying that if we understand the consequences of corruption, that collectively, all of us will work together to ensure that it goes right.
“The leaders of the country do not feel the pains of the citizens. When you talk about hunger, those who live in the villa, members of the National Assembly, governors do not know what hunger is, the resources that are meant to feed the citizens, get into private pockets. It is those citizens that bear the consequences of this hunger that should rise up and ensure that they say no,” Ezenwa said.
Co-convener of Say No Campaign, Mr Jaiye Gaskia, in his remarks said: “This event is to raise awareness both about the menace of corruption and also what citizens can do about corruption. It is one of the events that we are putting together to commemorate the World Anti-corruption day which is on December 9.
“So, we are doing a series of activities for a week to raise awareness. This year’s theme is ‘Every No Counts’ and implicit in that theme is that every citizen needs to play a role in fighting corruption.
“If you look at our country for example, we have been fighting corruption for decades now and we know that every successive government has fought corruption. But they have fought corruption where it is people in the opposition that are corrupt, when it is not people that are affiliated to them.
“So, the only way we can ensure that corruption is fought holistically is if citizens take a stand and ensure that we first, hold our government accountable, make sure every government fights corruption in an impartial way.
“Secondly, each one of us too should abhor the culture of impatience. It is the culture of impatience that enables us to be susceptible to corruption. We should be patient to follow processes and due processes. “And we must also hold government accountable to provide services, because it is when public services fail, that you create room for corruption. It is when poverty rises, when unemployment rises, when you have a huge gap between the poor and the rich, that is when you create the enabling environment for corruption to thrive.”