Five political parties, including the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have pledged to introduce an “open and digitised asset declaration system’’ when voted into power at the centre.
The pledge came through their representatives at the BigDebate on Corruption and Accountability meeting organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Abuja on Tuesday.
The other four parties are: the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Abundant Nigeria Renewal party (ANRP), African Action Congress (AAC) and the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN).
Mr Kazeem Afegbua, the Spokesperson, PDP Presidential Campaign Council, said that a lot of Nigeria’s challenges in terms of corruption happened in public offices, thus the need for open asset declaration.
“We subscribe to the idea of public declaration of asset; however, it is one thing to declare assets and another for people to have access to the assets declared.
“So PDP ,when voted into power will open up the system by ensuring that Nigerians will have access to assets declared by public servants, and we would deploy technology that allows transparency in governance,’’ Afegbua said.
He said that the PDP would work toward making the people to own the country again and also put in place systems that would isolate the government from anti-graft agencies.
This, he said, would strengthen the agencies that fight corruption and make them independent of the government’s monopoly, adding that fighting corruption would be a collective efforts of citizens and government.
He said that the PDP would also demonetise politics and the electoral process and make it possible for people to have access to how political parties conducted their primaries and other affairs.
Mr Egbeola Martins, National Publicity Secretary, YPP, said that over 90 per cent of corruption in Nigeria was as a result of budget padding and contract inflation.
Martins said that the party, when voted into power would, digitise Nigeria by ensuring that all government activities and transactions were in the public domain.
He said that the party using ICT would ensure that Nigerians had access to assets declaration online and could download budget and other procurement information while every procurement process would be automated.
He said that since the bulk of corruption in Nigeria was in contract inflation and budget padding,the party would subject budget to external auditing to ascertain the real amount.
The spokesman said that when human activities or manual activities were reduced using ICT, then corruption would have been half way dealt with.
Mr Tope Fasua, presidential candidate of the ANRP, expressed the need to overhaul the Nigerian system, and that restructuring should be written into the constitution of the country.
Fasua said that ANRP was a computer party that would digitise the nation because technology would address the menace of corruption in Nigeria.
He said that his party would subject leaders to publishing their account and publicising their assets so as to curb looting money or corruption.
He said that the party would pay N45,000 minimum wage when voted into power and advocated that the 2019 budget should be increased to N15 trillion to effectively solve issues.
Mr Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), said that the party would ensure transparent contracting process and make publicly available public asset information and strip corrupt leaders off national awards.
Sowore proposed to pay N100, 000 minimum wage to avoid stealing in the public service, adding that there was no reason why a Nigerian should work for 38 years before earning the monthly salary of a Senator.
He said that the reason for corruption was the way the political class was structured, adding that the party would sanitise political parties and demonetise the electoral process.
Mr Paul Isamade , National Secretary, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria(ACPN), said that the major corruption issue started in political parties and called on the Federal Government to take over the funding of parties.
This, Isamade said, would help in curbing corruption and parties would no longer be hijacked,adding that ACPN would ensure it ran a transparent, accountable and accessible government that was open to all.
Ms Idayat Hassan, Director CDD, said that the event was organised to engage leaders of political parties on how to tackle the issue of corruption ahead of the general elections.
Hassan said that it was imperative that leaders of political parties and their presidential candidates engaged in robust conversation on their preferred policies and programmes to rid the country of corrupt practices.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the All Progressives Congress (APC) did not turn up for the debate and according the organisers, no reason was given for the absence.