The one-day Consultative Meeting on Fostering Transparency and Accountability in Constituency Project Service Delivery was held on Thursday in Kano.
The meeting is one of several activities of a 3-year project “Promoting Community-driven Anti-corruption Initiatives in Kano state” being implemented by CHRICED with support from MacArthur Foundation.
It had participants drawn from the academia, Civil Society Organizations, anti-corruption agencies, Non-Governmental Organizations and the media.
The Programs and Communication Manager at CHRICED, Mr. Armsfree Ajanaku said the objectives of the meeting is to strengthen local accountability voices, to enhance collaboration between communities and key institutions, to increase information flow between constituents and political representatives, and to enable anti-corruption action and demands.
The project strategy is to use the agency of the community to address the monster of corruption in constituency project delivery processes, he added.
In his welcome statement, the Executive Director, CHRICED, Comrade Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, said his organization recognizes the importance of citizens having the requisite skills and capacity to raise important questions, and seek for sustainable solutions to key governance issues they face.
“We believe that with the right capacity and skill, citizens will be able to hold duty bearers responsible for service delivery accountable, especially with respect to the use of public resources.
“Also, as a knowledge-driven platform of active citizens working for the promotion of human rights, rule of law, democracy, and accountability, CHRICED remains committed to the realization of a democratic Nigeria where participation, inclusion, and transparency are guaranteed and state and non-state actors actively collaborate towards accountable and responsive use of resources for the collective well-being of citizens.
“All stakeholders in the entire governance process have a critical role to play towards the achievement of the goal of this project, which is to reduce corruption in the delivery of basic social services through the agency of the community,” he said.
The Consultative Meeting provides a reflection, which should in turn spur every stakeholder to implement action points and key resolutions to promote transparency and accountability in constituency project implementation process.
Comrade Zikirullahi said CHRICED believe all stakeholders should strategically and consistently beam the search light on constituency projects to ensure they are determined by participatory planning, timely delivery and value for money.
“All stakeholders equally have the big role of ensuring the benefits of constituency projects are not lost to corruption.
“We are equally convinced that it should be the interest of duty bearers in government, communities, the media and CSOs to ensure public resources are used for the collective good of everyone in the society, adding that constituency project is one of the many government programs, which could have helped spread development, and give citizens sense of benefits from public resources.
“If the intended service delivery envisage through the constituency project is as effective as the intentions should be, such basic things as rural roads, cottage industries, health facilities, recreational spaces and so many more would have been built in communities across the country.
“Unfortunately, projects, which should have been the outcomes of democratic decision-making and robust participation of the people at the grassroots are being subverted to serve inordinate interests instead of the public good, he said.
He noted that the reality is making the ordinary citizen lose hope. Many citizens no longer believe that government and the entire governance process is meant to work for them.
Such a mindset is not good for the stability, security, peace and orderly governance of our country, he added.
According to Comrade Zikirullahi, to restore faith in the system, stakeholders must work collectively to ensure the benefits of good governance reach the people at the grassroots.
“This is the reason CHRICED has always called on citizens not to merely complain about the situation in their communities, but to take steps using democratic and lawful means to participate in the governance process.
“Every stakeholder also needs to take advantage of anti-corruption tools available in laws, and international commitments such as the Open Government Partnership (OGP), Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, and the Fiscal Responsibility Act.
“CHRICED is open for synergies and collaboration in order to use these instruments to realize the cardinal objective of preventing corruption and improving service delivery, he said.
In his goodwill message, the representative of the Kano Emirate Council, Dan Amar Kano, Alh. Aliyu Harazumi thanked CHRICED for organizing the meeting, saying it came at the right time.
He charged stakeholders and community members where constituency projects are being implemented to take the issue of monitoring and ownership seriously.
Dan Amar Kano then called on the good people of the state to continue live in harmony and pray for sustainability of the peaceful atmosphere that is being enjoyed in Kano.
The Executive Secretary, Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti-Corruption, Prof. Sadiq Isah Radda presented a key note address tagged “Constituency Projects in Nigeria: Nature, Practice and Implications”.
The consultative meeting also had panel discussions on “Exploring the importance of citizens participation for the prevention of corruption in constituency projects” and “Exploring the role of communities, CSOs, Youths, Women, and PWDs in effective constituency project delivery.”