By Miftaudeen Raji, UNILAG 

A UK-based international security and strategy expert, Miss Cat Tully has expressed the optimism that Nigeria, in its quest to defeat corruption,  could achieve the goal of transparency and accountability in governance and the private sectors by the year 2030.

She said this is achievable if the government, all stake holders and the citizenry could work with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to inspire transformation of Nigeria to a well-developed nation.

Tully made this submission on Thursday at a 2-day conference themed “Corruption, Transparency and accountability in Public and Private Sector Organisations,” organized by the Academic Stand Against Poverty (ASAP), West Africa at the department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, UNILAG.

Tully, a former strategy project director at the foreign and commonwealth office of UK, noted that the country needs to grow youths who will inspire change as researchers, journalist, activists, and play the role of responsible citizens.

She urged Nigerians to be conscious of the goal 16 of the SDGs; to promote just, peaceful and conducive society adding that the people should begin to think of how to create the Nigeria of 2030.

Noting that accountability and transparency are critical to our future, the director, School of International Futures, UK said promotion of peaceful and inclusive society was imperative for developments.

She said, “The provision of access to justice for all and building effective accountable institutions at all levels cannot be overemphasized. This will help recover stolen funds and drive innovations. That is why it is necessary at this moment to continue to talk about the future and success of our society.”

Tully had worked in the Prime Minister\’s Strategy Unit, developing domestic policy and strategic capability, including a strategic audit of the UK, public service reform and offender management. 

Meanwhile, government officials, members of academics, media professionals among other at the conference, also emphasized the need for youths, journalists and the entire citizenry to put all hands on deck in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

The keynote speaker and executive secretary, Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, (NEITI), Mr. Waziri Adio, noted that the role of oil sector is important in our life saying corruption has pervaded the democratic values of exports. 

He urged the government to focus on the extractive industry to tackle corruption and boost revenue for massive exports. “Government needs to expand the frontiers of transparency, focus more on the sector and see how it works well,” he said. 

Explaining why Nigeria is embroiled in recession, he said the country used to lose $ 4.7 bn to oil theft in a year adding that subsidy alone accounted for N1.3trn.

He said, “This is why the dollar keeps soaring over naira. It’s why some states could not pay salaries and finally the reason why the economy is in recession. The subsidy disproportionately affects the poor but the rich will not feel it. But should the subsidy be sustained, the rich will only continue to be rich while the poor remain in abject poverty.

“We found that since Nigeria started oil exploration and exportation, there are no meters where they should be until this administration came on board. The political will to fight corruption cannot be overemphasized. I advocate more political actions against corruption. Essentially, I emphasize that openness and transparency are the key success factors in development,” Adio added.

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