AFF’s Unique Journey to Ending Corruption in Nigeria, By Godwin Onyeacholem

The gathering did not fall short of expectations in any way. A healthy convergence of deep thinkers, men and women who harbor a noble vision of an improved society, driven by focused leadership that offers transparent and accountable governance, would offer no less. Corruption, its harmful effects and how Akin and his wonderful team worked from the grassroots were openly dissected throughout the ceremony …

On Tuesday July 13th, two separate events took place simultaneously in Lagos and Abuja. The event in Lagos was an extremely engaging media dialogue on the sensitive national issue jointly convened by the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) and the African Center for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) on the occasion of Wole Soyinka’s birthday, dear Nobel Prize winners and an enduring totem of fairness, justice, freedom and justice. The prop for the discourse was a new book of essays, Remaking Nigeria: Sixty Years, Sixty Voices, edited by Chido Onumah of AFRICMIL.

The other role in Abuja was to publish a report by the Akin Fadeyi Foundation (AFF) to raise the curtain for three years (2018-2021) of implementing Corruption Not-In-My-Country, one of The John. sponsored anti-corruption project, Draw D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, an extremely popular and impactful private grant foundation that supports nonprofits in about 50 countries around the world.

On the latter, just as important occasion, people withdrew for two main reasons. First, to honor Akin Fadeyi, Founder / General Manager of AFF, for doing so much specifically to ensure that we have a country where corruption and other forms of wrongdoing that threaten the well-being of society are significant be reduced even if they are completely wiped out is not feasible. Second, to meet and exchange ideas with fellow citizens and duty-bearers who are just as concerned as one about the extent to which endemic corruption continues to deplete the country and block development.

The gathering did not fall short of expectations in any way. A healthy convergence of deep thinkers, men and women who harbor a noble vision of an improved society, driven by focused leadership that offers transparent and accountable governance, would offer no less. Throughout the ceremony, corruption, its harmful effects, and how Akin and his wonderful team worked from the grassroots to change citizens’ attitudes towards corrupt practices, was openly dissected.

To say that Akin has a seductively great passion for justice is to affirm the obvious. He knows enough to understand that nothing threatens justice more than corruption. The guy will not simply avert his eyes from unjust or unjust actions in all their varied nuances without mustering energy and raising a limb for corrective action or a long lasting cure. In a nutshell, this seems to be the reason for the creation of AFF.

For one, the open sesame to this wave of unrestrained propriety was sometime in June 2017 in the case of Joy Odama, a 200-grade mass communications student at Cross River State University who was allegedly murdered in Karmo six months earlier. a suburb of Abuja, from an Alhaji Usman Adamu. Akin and I worked on justice for the Odamas without ever seeing each other, but it should not be because the police, led by Ibrahim Idris at the time, thwarted all reasonable efforts in that direction. It turned out that Ralph Nkem, then chief superintendent of the police and then head of the Karmo Police Station, was a constant friend of the suspect, and so in the end they made sure that the victim, the perpetrator and society.

Shettima said the relationship went smoothly and the foundation was excited about the positive change in civic behavior brought about by AFF’s Corruption: Not-In-My-Country initiative. He then announced that the MacArthur Foundation had decided to sponsor the project for three more years.

But as you can see, Akin is adamant and has been in that mode from the start, say those who know him enough. Unfortunately he was not present at the event, but who better to point to his exuberant spirit than his good friend Azubuike (better known as Azu) Ishiekwene, editor-in-chief of LEADERSHIP and a remarkably astute columnist of fascinating fertility himself.

Azu, who stood up for Akin and made the welcome speech on his behalf, remembered with gusto one day Akin walking into his office in Magboro on the outskirts of Lagos as Executive Director (Publications) of The PUNCH and three demos. Azu said he gave it to him and after listening to the stuff he was immediately convinced that the porter had a mission to complete. Just then, he said he had put him in touch with Elder Folo Olamiti, a senior journalist who at the time held a top position on the Independent Commission on Corrupt Practices and Other Related Crimes (ICPC). And boy, has Akin been proven since then!

The words of Dr. Kole Shettima, Co-Director, On Nigeria and Director, MacArthur Foundation, Nigeria Office, further revealed the promise that Akin symbolized. Shettima, a warm-hearted intellectual who is known and respected in government, corporate, and civil society circles, delivered a message of goodwill headlined that he never knew Akin until he met him on Simon Kolawole Live, a weekly column in THISDAY, written by Kolawole, who founded and runs The Cable newspaper. Kolawole is also the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Akin Fadeyi Foundation.

Specifically, Shettima had read about the foundation, not even in the main column, but marginally, the Kolawole traditionally reserved for “four other things” of his interest. Intrigued by what he was reading, he decided that the MacArthur Foundation would work with AFF to change people’s behavior for a better society. They began by sponsoring Akin for a week-long intensive course in behavioral science at the Kennedy School of Government in Havard, USA.

Shettima said the relationship went smoothly and the foundation was enthusiastic about the positive change in civic behavior through the AFF initiative Corruption: Not in my country. He then announced that the MacArthur Foundation had decided to sponsor the project for three more years. And then the hall burst into thunderous cheers and applause.

Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, whom Shettima likes to refer to as the Corps Marshal of the Federation, led a team of senior officials from the Federal Road Safety Commission to the event and said it was a moment to appreciate the strategic partnership between the FRSC and AFF. Boboye praised the MacArthur Foundation’s renewal of the project, saying that such a gesture could only be reserved for an organization like the AFF, which has done exceptionally well so far. He said FRSC will continue to work with AFF, not only to achieve their separate goals, but also in the interests of the country.

TEXEM

Aptly titled The Journey, the report is a 56-page glossy document that contains everything readers need to know about AFF and its work. Dr. Otive Igbuzor, Executive Director of the African Center for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Center LSD) and Chief of Staff to the Deputy Senate President, presented the report, describing AFF’s intervention as a rare feat in civil society work.

The keynote address was given by Yusuf Ali, a senior advocate from Nigeria who remembered knowing Akin in Ilorin about 40 years ago. He said Akin was in secondary school at the time and that Nigeria always came to the house his late wife, then a youth service member, shared with another colleague. Ali vividly remembered him as “the boy who always came into the house in his school uniform and looked very dirty”. But conversely, he saw him then as a diamond still covered with dust, a clever boy whose eyes glittered with future excellence. Ali said, “Akin reconnected with me about four years ago and I am not surprised at how far he has gone and what he has done for himself and the foundation today.”

The scholar silk, who published a book entitled “Anatomy of Corruption in Nigeria” in 2016, spoke on “Anti-Corruption and Government Cooperation: A Strategic Recipe for Building a Nation”. From his presentation it can be seen, as he himself agreed, that corruption in the country is worse today than ever before. That corruption has indeed skyrocketed under a government whose main campaign promise is to fight corruption on all fronts under a supposedly incorruptible leader would no doubt be dismissed as irony of epic proportions.

Aptly titled The Journey, the report is a 56-page glossy document that contains everything readers need to know about AFF and its work. Dr. Otive Igbuzor, Executive Director of the African Center for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Center LSD) and Chief of Staff to the Deputy Senate President, presented the report, describing AFF’s intervention as a rare achievement in civil society work.

Corruption: Not-In-My-Country has registered itself as the most far-reaching AFF project after three years of implementation. It includes documentaries with one-minute video sketches, the radio play series “Never Again”, the TV series “Badt Guys” and programs to build capacity in some secondary schools in Abuja. The heart of the project is the FlagIt app, an innovative technology platform that is developed and used as an instrument for reporting and displaying corruption and misconduct by public officials. It is also used in schools to check for corruption and other types of wrongdoing and has had tremendous success at Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, for example.

As AFF program manager Oluwatomi Okeowo said, the foundation’s overarching goal is to achieve “active civic participation” in efforts to achieve good governance and a better country. In this way, the foundation counts on the support of partners.

Godwin Onyeacholem works with AFRICMIL.

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