The Peering Advocacy and Advancement Centre in Africa, PAACA, has tasked citizens on the need to be involved in the governance and decision making processes in their locality.
This submission was made at the quarterly review meeting of the Lagos State Chapter of the ‘Say No Campaign’ Anti-Corruption Network of PAACA, which is supported by McArthur Foundation.
While speaking at the review meeting, Ezenwa Nwagwu, Executive Director, PAACA, explained that the ‘Say No Campaign’, is aimed at deepening engagement with citizens’ groups and trade unions to take actions on issues that affect them.
He noted that, “what we have done in the 6 states and FCT where the project is running is to raise a citizen movement that is not project tied, whereby citizens are able to move actively and drive the required change they desire.”
Speaking on the importance of citizens’ engagement in governance process, Nwagwu explained that, “we make conversations around budget very academic and because of that citizens are not fully engaged in the budget process, but when this is unpacked, citizens understand that they are truly affected and should be involved in the budget process.
“We want citizens to be interested in the budget process and if citizens ask the right questions, it will reduce the impunity in which people have to embezzle public resources.”
He noted that the community members are monitoring various abandoned projects across the three senatorial districts in Lagos State, to ensure that the attention of the government is drawn to them and they are adequately fixed.
Lagos State Coordinator of the ‘Say No Campaign’, Michael Ogunsola, mentioned that some of the projects being monitored by the community members are; “an abandoned road project in Ibese and an abandoned Primary Health Centre project in Ikorodu (Lagos East) as well as Itire Secondary School, Mushin (Lagos West)”
The PAACA team and the Lagos State Network Against Corruption (LANAC), will be visiting project sites that are being monitored and pay advocacy visits to the National Orientation Agency and Independent Corrupt Practices, ICPC.
Freda Ukpoju, Program Officer, Say No Campaign, explained that the visit to the stakeholders would help to foster partnership with the organizations and help in mainstreaming the works of the network with the aim of achieving much impact.
She said, “we expect that the ICPC will help to provide institutional support to the network by mainstreaming the monitoring projects into their activities and ensuring that projects are completed. Also, the ICPC can help where the network cannot get the relevant institutions to release relevant information.”
Ukpoju also noted that the “NOA as a partner can help to amplify the work of the network to gain support of the community members and mount pressure on the duty bearers”
The Lagos State Network Against Corruption, LANAC, which comprises members of the Labour and Trade Union Network against Corruption (LATUNAC) and Community Anti-Corruption Working Group, was launched at the end of the review meeting.