Labaran Maku Versus Transparency and Accountability


Former Nigerian Minister, Oby Ezekwesili, who was also at one time "Madame Due Process is stepping up the national conversation. Last weekend, in her remarks during the convocation lecture at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, she accused the Nigerian government of squandering about $45 Billion in foreign reserve account and another $22Billion in the Excess Crude Account left after the last administration. Following the reports of her speech in the press, the Minister of Information, Labaran Maku, accused Mrs. Ezekwesili of misinforming the Nigerian public, insisting she has doesn't have sufficient understanding of government finances.

According to SaharaReporters, "although Maku made these sweeping statements, he did not provide any substance to his attempted rebuttal of Mrs. Ezekwesili, who was briefly the Minister of Education before her departure for the World Bank. But Minister Maku did say of Mrs. Ezekwesili that she “collected” N352.3 billion as Minister of Education, suggesting that Ministerial budgets are normally “collected” by Ministers."

"Shying away from the central issue, Mr. Maku merely urged Nigerians to acknowledge the achievements of the government. He did not say what those achievements are. Nor did he say whether the government will accept the challenge to publicly debate the facts concerning government expenditure of Nigeria’s oil revenues."

Apparently, I was not in office with the former Minister, Oby Ezekwesili, but I find it gratifying that she's not backing down. She said earlier today, “I have already asked the Federal Government to a PUBLIC DEBATE of the FACTS raised in my speech. Such an open debate of facts and figures of oil revenue since 2007 would help situate public accountability as the centerpoint of our democracy."

I agree with her sentiments that by publicly debating those who challenge them, the current government will be building a "democratic culture of responding to citizens' demands for accountability especially at a time when the general public is eager for improvements in the good governance records of the Administration.”

Labaran Maku, the ball is now in your court. If you're too shy, we'll take anyone to speak for the Federal Government at this great debate.