Citizen voice is a central component of social accountability, at its core, it involves generating and articulating citizens’ voice to elicit enforcement of sanctions when public service provision fails, and to promote answerability of public authorities. Therefore, effective social accountability is made up of three building blocks; citizens’ voice, enforceability and answerability which together form a cycle.
Speaking on DoroCorruption platform in wazobia FM Abuja, two members of Say No Campaign anticorruption network in Abaji, Musa haruna Matasa and Aso Joy Baba highlighted how they began to discover the abandoned projects that was supposed to benefit them in their communities, after Say No Campaign’s intervention on the need to question service failure to improve social accountability and subsequent set up of a community anticorruption network.
According to Musa, the network organized other community members, enlightened and got their commitment for a collective community based advocacy, in other to improve the quality of their lives. Subsequently, Abaji community members led by the community anticorruption network went on a peaceful “No electricity No Bill” protest to Abuja Electricity Distribution Company, to question the epileptic power supply on their community despite the excessive bills being charged by the company. Again, the network with some council chiefs inspected the abandoned rimba Ibagi road project, summoned the contractor and had conversations to ensure work continues on the site.
Responding to what triggered the change among community members to actively begin to demand social accountability from their leaders, Joy baba said that Say No Campaign opened their eyes to what they can achieve collectively if they begin to take action, in her words, “monkey no go dey work make baboon dey chop, our eyes open, we come realise say we dey darkness after Say No Campaign come our community. The lecture wey we receive make us know say our community dey die small small, we come begin identify areas wey dey leak for our communities, na wetin make us sit up to realise say we dey really suffer. So we decide to sacrifice our time make we begin enjoy wetin we don miss, presently work dey go on for rimba ibagi road wey dem abandon before”. Musa added that they became advocates for good governance after they got empowered with the right information on how to undertake a community based advocacy, to denounce and resist abuse of power, opening up opportunities for grassroots actions against corruption.
The Convener of Say No Campaign, Ezenwa Nwagwu applauded Abaji community members on the remarkable progress made so far and exhorted listeners to imitate the steps taken by the Abaji residents to better their community, because with the collective effort of every community in Nigeria, the desired positive change will be achieved. He also said that community members should take advantage of the empowerment provided by the government on every project site, which is a billboard stating every detail of the project including contracting firm, to track every project in their community.