CSOs train, challenge 30 community youths on open governance engagement


The South Saharan Social Development Organisation (SSDO) and ActionAid Nigeria have commenced training for 30 community youths in Enugu State on open governance engagement to endear good governance at the grassroots.

Project Lead for SSDO on Strategic Partnership Agreement (SPA II), Nkem Awachie, disclosed this on Friday during the Training for Young People on Social Audit and Freedom of Information Act (FOI), Capacity Building on Policy Influencing, Tax and Public Finance among others.

Awachie said that the majority of the youths were drawn from rural communities in the state for them to be equipped with the basic knowledge and drive to hold the government accountable at the grassroots.

She said that the training would also motivate them to ask questions, follow budgetary and legislative procedures within their council areas as well as track government expenditures and actions.

According to her, the training is about impacting and sharing knowledge on basic things youths can do to sustain good governance and ensuring that leaders at the council or community levels work for the good and betterment of rural communities.

She said: “The training will cover issues of local government budget proposal, planning. preparation and evaluation/tracking; civic engagement on political education, political parties and electoral process as well as tax issues.

“They will be tutored on Gender Responsive Public Service (GRPS), how to build skills, knowledge and confidence on youth-led advocacy and how to influence governmental policies and programmes positively to effect desired change.”

One of the resource persons, Mr Collins Nebo, said that bad governance had persisted at the grassroots due to the locals lacking knowledge of the things ongoing at the local government.

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According to him, some political officer holders or leaders use intimidation and harassment to silence anybody that questions any action taken by them.

“The people especially the youths do not have data or information on ongoing or proposed government projects and dealings as well as not knowing where to go and sources such information.

“However, with this type of training and youths actively getting involved in their local politics and governance issues the narrative will definitely change,” Nebo, who is the Executive Director of New Century Initiative, said.

An Enugu-based civil society activist, Comrade Wilfred Okeke, said that good governance is a right of the people and citizens especially the youths must insist on holding public officers accountable.

“Our people should be wise and stop seeing politicians as doing them a favour when they work with people’s mandate and resources (money) to perform project(s) for the people in their localities,” Okeke, who was also a resource person, said.

He challenged youths in rural communities to be awakened to their civic responsibility of asking vital developmental questions and mobilising themselves to follow it up.

One of the participants, Mr Uchenna Ayogu, said that after the training, he would share the knowledge of the training and mobilise youths within his community to find how to follow ongoing social amenities projects in his community.

Ayogu, who is from Igbo-Eze North Local Government Area, said that he and other youths must get involved in the local politics in order for “the resources of our people to work for us”.

The three-day training is being sponsored by Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA).

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