Achike Chude: Unrealistic To Expect Politicians To Respond To SERAP’s Demand For Financial Accountability

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The Deputy Chairman of the Joint Action Front (JAF) and Human Rights Activist, Achike Chude, has said that it is unrealistic for the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) to expect Nigerian governors and politicians to respond to their call for financial accountability and to explain how they spent loans that they have taken.

SERAP had, at the end of March, given the governors of the 36 states of Nigeria and the minister of the FCT a week’s ultimatum to provide the loan agreements and spending details of the loans obtained by their states, also asking for the tails and locations of projects executed with the loans.

However, in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Tuesday, Chude said, “It’s a good thing by SERAP, but it is more of idealism to expect that the political class will respond to this. And going to court is one other area- there are those that will tell you that the court is under their thumb, that they control the courts, what happens in the court and all of that, allegedly anyway. So, I don’t see anything coming out of it unless the people themselves will have to decide.”

Speaking further on the matter, Chude said, “Sometimes, you will want to feel a little sorry for SERAP and for credible civil society organisations in the country about the almost impotent situation that they find themselves in, that is trying to get the politicians to do what they are supposed to do under our constitutions, because there are enough laws in this country that should compel the politicians to work in tandem with the ideals of a democracy. The issue of accountability that SERAP is talking about is not science, it’s something that’s enshrined in the various laws that have to do with accountability of government expenditure and revenues.”

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The human rights activist said that unfortunately, the situation is that politicians and people in authority do not follow the rules that have been put in place in the constitution to ensure transparency and accountability in the spending of government revenue/funds.

He however said, “We have to continue to agitate, we have to continue to advocate, that’s the only thing we can do now. The politicians are not going to respond to anything, and that gives you an idea of the state of our polity that 36 state governors, and then the person in charge of our Federal Capital Territory, that you have to tell them, you have to try to threaten them using the legal instruments to try to get them to do what, under normal circumstances, credible, responsible politicians should be doing.”

Chude then, while proffering solutions to this issue of unaccountability from the government in relation to finances, said, “Ultimately, it is back to the people, because organisations like SERAP are just doing what they can do within the ambits of whatever laws that set them up, they cannot go beyond that. But whatever they do, whatever SERAP does, they are making a statement for the Nigerian people so that the Nigerian people should take note, and in the fullness of time, be able to do something about the information that they have.

“So, SERAP is giving information to the Nigerian people just like the media has been doing all of this while. So, there is a struggle to be fought in this country. If we don’t do that, then we’re going to go downhill.”

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Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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