Political accountability depends, to a large extent, on citizens’ action, a former national commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, has said.
He said this Monday in Abuja in his keynote address at the launch of a report and conference on political accountability and elections in Nigeria.
The report, based on a study of political accountability and the 2023 general elections, was commissioned by the ‘Joinbodi cohort’, a group of 17 civil society organisations seeking to uphold election integrity.
Ibeanu said, “Ultimately in a democracy, the capacity of citizens to hold public officials accountable, as well as institutions is the key to success of accountability.
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“The two strongest agencies for this are the media and civil society. The system of electoral accountability must be designed in such a way that different institutions and agencies act as checks on each other.”
The head, Nigerian office of the MacArthur Foundation, Dr Kole Shettima, noted that in trying to bring about accountability, the foundation supports investigative journalists with funds and work around the criminal justice system.
Speaking in a panel discussion titled, ‘The 2023 Elections: Media Role in Promoting Political Accountability in Nigeria,’ Mustapha Bulama, Daily Trust’s cartoonist, said: “Political cartoons are very important. They play important roles in elections and good governance. A lot of people don’t like reading for a long time, but with cartoons, it’s easier to understand by just looking at it.”