It is an achievable goal to reduce corruption to the barest minimum in the society. Although a daunting task, it is one that civil society organisations, citizens, media, government authorities and all stakeholders in the society must take on to shun the destabilising impacts of corruption in Nigeria.
As part of the effort to amplify citizens voices against corruption, YIAGA AFRICA through its Bounce Corruption Project commissioned radio presenters across Nigeria to amplify citizens voices through innovative programs that are peculiar to each state in Nigeria. In the last 12 months, these programs have successfully engaged grassroots citizens to be on the lookout in their own communities while holding leaders accountable.
With support from the MacArthur foundation, the Bounce Corruption project takes a bottom-to-top approach in sensitising and mobilising citizens to work against corruption in all its forms including political corruption, extortion and bribery. As a matter of fact, the Bounce Corruption radio ambassadors, particularly winners of the Bounce Corruption Innovative Contest—an annual award to the best citizens anti-corruption programs in states across Nigeria—have played a key role in bringing the anti-corruption fight to the grassroots in various states.
In Bauchi state for instance, GlobeFM’s Hannatu Poloma organises a weekly radio program to sensitise youths on issues regarding corruption in their communities. Just before the 2019 elections, she had an interview with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) North-east zonal public relations officer amongst others, on vote buying and selling. She also held discussions with journalists on the matter in an attempt to sensitise all citizens eligible to vote. Subsequently, she brought citizens on the radio show to discuss, and held a vox pop to amplify anti-corruption on the streets of Bauchi State.
Likewise, Onyimiebi Siasia of Radio Bayelsa holds a 30 minutes program, Let’s Kick Corruption every Tuesday, where people call in to offer their thoughts on corruption issues in their communities. Through the phone-in participation, Siasia has been able to make citizens see that the fight against corruption is a collective responsibility.
According to Peter Cheman Koti of Gotel FM in Adamawa state, his Bounce Corruption Show reached close to one million listeners in one month. Peter was able to engage listeners on the best ways to expose and fight corruption, while doing a follow-up with them via social media and phone-in engagement sessions on the radio program.
Elsewhere in Nigeria’s capital city, Kimberly Nwachuku holds a program on Nigeria Info, Abuja to engage citizens on the anti-corruption fight as well. She also holds a periodic tweet chat in collaboration with BigMo (Moses Nwokedi) where citizens discuss corruption issues as it affects them. The Bounce Corruption project beckons on all Nigerians to be responsive in changing ill-social patterns in their individual communities and these ambassadors are using radio as an important grassroots tool to inform and educate citizens.
The high point of these programs is that citizens are becoming more informed to demand for accountability and transparency in the polity. The government, particularly at the local level are also becoming more responsive and aware, as the radio programs often feature government officials who in turn give direct responses to citizens’ concerns as expressed on the platforms.
As YIAGA AFRICA continues its mission to raise over 20 million voices against corruption through the Bounce Corruption project, there will be more annual innovative programs, driven by radio ambassadors especially those participating in the Bounce Corruption Innovative Contest Program, to amplify the fight against corruption across various states in Nigeria.
— Fisayo Okare, YIAGA AFRICA