The ability of citizens to hold the government responsible for its policies is key to achieving political accountability, Prof. Okechukwu Ibeanu, a former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) National Commissioner, has said.
He said this in Abuja in a keynote address at the launch of a report 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 (CSOs) seeking to uphold election integrity.
Ibeanu said: “I think the future of political accountability depends to a large extent on citizen action. Ultimately, in a democracy, the capacity of citizens to hold public officials accountable, as well as institutions is the key to the success of accountability. The two strongest agencies for this are the media and civil society.”
The head, the Nigerian office of the MacArthur Foundation, Dr. Kole Shettima, said in trying to bring about accountability, the foundation supports investigative journalists with funds and works around the criminal justice system.
Speaking in a panel discussion titled, ‘The 2023 Elections: Media Role in Promoting Political Accountability in Nigeria,’ Mustapha Bulama, a Daily Trust 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.”