Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), an NGO, on Monday called on Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) to carry out massive awareness campaign to promote citizens’ participation in governance.
The Team Lead, PERL’s Engage Citizens Pillar, Mr Abel Adejo, made the call in Kaduna, at a close of a one-day sensitisation on legal instruments for effective citizens’ engagement using the Open Government Partnership (OGP) platform.
The meeting was organised by an NGO, Network of Citizens in Governance, with support from PERL.
Adejor said that the campaign was necessary to enlighten citizens on available legal instruments with which to effectively participate in governance and demand for quality service delivery.
According to him, market women, traders and a larger section of the population in rural areas do not know about their rights and how to demand for them when such rights are denied.
“Civil society organisations have a duty to bridge knowledge gap on citizen’s rights, and how to participate in governance in ensuring that government works for the people.”
Earlier, Mr. Saied Tafida of Follow Taxes, explained that the state had in 2017 signed onto the OGP with five commitment areas, which people can use in demanding for improve service delivery.
Tafida, who is also the Secretary, OGP Kaduna, lists the commitment areas as open budgeting, open contracting, ease of doing business, access to information and citizens engagement.
According to him, the essence of the OGP is to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency and accountability to empower citizens, fight corruption and strengthen governance.
He, however, said that not much would be achieve without active citizen’s engagement of the process by demanding improve services and holding government accountable.
“We can’t hold government accountable If we do not play our roles well as citizens. As citizens, Nigeria belong to us and the government is supposed to be working for we the people.
“As such, we are supposed to be responsible in setting government agenda through dialogue and advocacy.
“We have a role to play in policy formulation, decision making, policy implementation and policy evaluation toward ensuring improve quality of services and prudent use of public funds,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Yusuf Goje of Coalition of Association for Leadership, Peace, Empowerment and Development, said that citizens have a stake in governance and have a right to demand for quality service delivery.
According to him, governance is not yielding the desired result because citizens are not asking those in position of authority questions, and are not demanding for services that they are due to them.
Goje explained that the meeting was organised to equip citizens and organised-groups with Knowledge and approaches to tap into the advantages of OGP in Kaduna state.
“The goal is to equip citizens with the knowledge about Kaduna State fiscal responsibly law, public procurement, tax codification law and free om of information.
“It provides a platform for us to brainstorm on approaches in strengthening the enforcement of relevant laws in demanding transparency, accountability and responsiveness.
“This will enable citizens know how to utilized the available legal instruments to hold government accountable in ensuring that those in authority work for the people,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Joshua James, Executive Producer, Open Kaduna, said that OGP was a tool for better governance, where citizens can effectively participate and demand for improve services.
He, stressed need for social reformers in and outside government circle for the OGP to succeed in creating the desired result.