A civil society group, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) has developed a five-point anti-corruption commitment for candidates in the February 16 presidential election.
Adetokunbo Mumuni, the Executive Director of SERAP, unveiled the document at a Pre-Election Public and Enlightenment Session on Anti-corruption on Monday in Lagos.
The contestants in the presidential poll include President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress (AAC).
Others are Kingsley Moghalu (Young Progressive Party), Gbenga Olawepo-Hashim (Alliance for New Nigeria), Tope Fasua (Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party) and Ade Byron (Kowa Party).
Mr Mumuni said Nigeria’s leadership in the next dispensation must demonstrate sufficient will to tackle corruption, which had been the bane of the country’s underdevelopment and the cause of widespread misery among its populace.
He said to this end, SERAP had developed the five-point anti-corruption commitments for presidential candidates in respect of security votes and power sector corruption.
According to him, the other commitments include judicial corruption, the establishment of special anti-corruption courts and removal of immunity for president, vice -president, state governors and deputy governors.
Mr Mumuni said: “We expect that the electorate will demand their candidate’s commitment to these as part of the focal point of their campaign agenda.
“It is fortuitous in that it is coming at a time when corruption has assumed alarming dimensions in the public and private space.
“Most importantly so, at a time that we have political gladiators seeking in earnest for attention from the electorate.”
He said the document was part of SERAP’s contribution to not only guide the political leaders in their delivery of the social contract but also to hold them accountable for their actions when they attain power.
Also speaking, Dele Seteolu, a lecturer at the Department of Political Science, Lagos State University (LASU), said the commitments developed by SERAP were capable of setting Nigeria on the right path.
Mr Seteolu noted that SERAP scheme of security, power, judicial based corruption, removal of immunity clause and creation of special courts were concise and meaningful attempts to engage state officials on the challenge of corruption.
According to him, the removal of the immunity clause and the creation of special courts to adjudicate on corruption-related offences were long overdue.
“There should be political pressure on the political class, especially the presidential candidates to foster legal processes that would lead to the creation of special courts and the extensive reforms of the judicial organ.
“The allegation of corrupt practices in the judiciary are mind-boggling and creates fear in the public space on the prospect of earning justice at the courts.
“It is imperative to expose every corrupt judicial official for trial with a view to redeeming the bruised image of this organ,” he said.