Louis Onyia Uche

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2002
A Foundation for Transparency in Nigeria


This profile was prepared when Louis Onyia Uche was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002.
The New Idea
Louis believes that efforts to curb corruption in Nigeria have failed in large measure because the focus has always been on top government officials. Yet corruption permeates every aspect of Nigerian life. So, to limit corruption in Nigeria, he argues that the focus must be on every sector of society: from the cooperative's head to the town union leader to the local government chairman to the country's president. Because it is often the cooperative's chief who later becomes local government chairman, Louis believes that it is paramount to curb corruption at lower levels.
Based on this belief, he has set up an altogether new type of newspaper to report corruption at the community, regional, and state government levels. To ensure that something is done about the corruption he reports, he follows up with petitions to the anticorruption tribunal and files cases in court against offending officers. He is also forming alliances with existing citizen sector organizations both to accelerate the campaign against corruption and to check on the cases he has forwarded to the anticorruption tribunal and courts.
This idea is new in Nigeria, evidenced by its being the first time someone has developed a combined strategy of investigative journalism and legal and civil action. Furthermore, Louis's strategy of involving other civil society groups in the fight against corruption marks the first time citizen sector groups representative of different interests (human rights, women, environment, youth) have come together to fight corruption.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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