Community members in Enugu state reiterated their commitment towards a collective action that will improve the standard of living in their various communities, during a capacity building workshop on “Deepening Local Oversight of Government Activities, Budgets and projects” organized by Say No Campaign – Nigeria with support from MacArthur Foundation.
In this address, the Convener of Say No Campaign, Comrade Ezenwa Nwagwu stated that the workshop would not make any sense if it does not produce action; the kind of action that will make our communities and state better.
According to him, with the recent outcry from the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, who revealed that most MDAs do not only fail to account for monies appropriated yearly, but also neglect their responsibility to submit yearly financial report for audit purposes, it has become obvious that most public officials have no desire to be accountable and will not be accountable if there are no stringent measures or deliberate move by both government and the people to ensure they account,
“Communities and citizens cannot relax and allow the government to either function or not function without consequences because the government is financed by public funds accrued from various taxes imposed on citizens, rich or poor alike.
“Hence, it is the responsibility of citizens to make sure that these monies they contribute are not mismanaged but rather used to improve their quality of life through concrete projects and initiatives.
“This is why a programme like this is important to make citizens aware of their stake in local governance and community development.”
The Africa Director, MacArthur Foundation, Dr. Kole Shettima called on participants to monitor local implementation of council budgets and projects to better their living conditions. He made much emphasis on the local government areas as they were meant to provide the basic needs of the people.
In his words, “They are meant to provide yours water, provide your primary health care; that is why we are happy that this meeting is taking place.
“LGs are meant to be held accountable; they must be responsible. So, this is a very important, critical work that we are doing. I look forward to the implementation of the ideas that will come out of this presentation.”
Participants pledged to be agents of change, by mobilizing like-minded individuals in their various communities, tracking government budget implementation, and ensure completion of abandoned projects through holding the relevant authorities accountable.