From Victor Duruamaku, Owerri
A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) known as Hope Givers Initiative has attributed the slow pace of rural development in the Southeast to the inefficiency and poor performance of the Presidents-General of
communities in the zone,Accusing the general President of the communities of the indulgence in partisan politics the Organization stated that the unhealthy development had compelled it to severe relationship with a number of
According to the organization, the President Generals are expected to play leading roles in the development of their various communities but lack in this direction due to their involvement in politics.
The NGO, supported by the Christian Aid and funded by the Voice To The People (V2P), making governance work for the poor and the marginalized people argued that for the much expected rural transformation to take place, the people must hold their leaders in government responsible
and accountable for transparency.
Onyeka Okey Udegbunam, the Executive Director of the Organization stated this at the capacity Building for Town Unions, Civil Society Organizations and the Media on Budget Analysis held at the Diocesan Catholic Secretariat hall, Mater Dei Cathedral premises Umuahia.
According to the organizations, “PGs are killing community development in the Southeast from the government and Hope Givers Initiative pave the way for the people to see their governors”. Pointing out that the presidents General should rise up and do their job and they should meet their counterparts of like minds to move their communities forward because we expect engagements to move forward” stressing that whatever conflicts that arise between the Igwes and the PGs should be amicably resolved.
The organization further insist that, “lobbying is not giving bribe but you can use it to build and to maintain relationship. You do not have to go and carry placards but you can use lobbying to see your governors and they will not see it as coming from the opposition”.
“We have evidence based such as pictures and you should learn how to lobby and how to negotiate, as well as how to ask questions because the culture of silence is what is killing us”.
Udegbunam who charged the workshop participants to begin to distinguish themselves as champions of good governance and democracy advised them to always get in touch with contractors executing projects in their domains, directors of budget, relevant ministries and ask questions and also to investigate whenever they are in doubt of government’s contractors/project implementation.
She explained that the workshop was organized for a critical assessment and appraisal of governance in the Southeast which she said had degenerated with a view to proffering solutions to such issues.
“It is also meant to teach the people how to do budget pullout (Education, Health, Infrastructure) assessment of budget performance and how credible and realistic they are” lamenting that governments’ annual budgets usually fail to impact positively on the people.
For the communities to attain greater heights in growth and in development, the NGO boss insisted that they must embrace budget pullout to make the budget to work, ascertain how many of the projects were funded, those really executed and whether the fund injected in their execution were commensurate with the quality and quantity of job
While expressing optimism that the 2020 budget of the governments of the zone (Southeast) would be based on citizens demand, Udegbunam enjoined them to always monitor and ensure that the contractors executing governments’ projects in their areas do the right thing just as she urged the PGs to always speak out, ask questions and challenge those in government to do the needful for the people.
Consultant and Lecturer, Institute for Development Studies, University of Nigeria (UNN), Enugu Campus, Dr. Ugochukwu Amakom who dwelt on budget portal, budget pullout, monitoring and reporting said that citizen’s portal, apart from accelerating digital reform assists to empower the government to deliver on its mandate, just as it eases the burden on government and eliminates religious and regional
The don expressed disgust that some individuals usually take advantage of the lapses in the system and utilize same to their own advantage, disclosing that E-tax systems helps the people to ask questions while E-procurement (Bureau of Public Procurement) contains all contracts awarded, the amount involved and dates for completion (End contract).
Chris Ezem, Secretary to the Abia State government who declared the workshop open through the Permanent Secretary in his office (Bureau for Political Affairs office), Isaac Nwachukwu described the workshop as timely and enjoined the participants to take the message seriously.
For a better society