By Chikezie Ogbonna
Say No Campaign, a civil right group kicked off a citizen engagement campaign in Enugu on Wednesday 10th February 2020 with a charge on citizens to own up and be informed with the process of budgetary oversight and tracking in their communities and states.
Say No Campaign is an Abuja based Civil Rights Group which best describes itself as a platform of Nigerians committed to fighting corruption, impunity, poverty, violence and other governance challenges in the country.
According to the convener of Say No Campaign, Ezenwa Nwagwu in his keynote address, noted that the essence of the 2—day capacity building workshop for community members is to deepen local oversight and budget tracking in grassroots.
Ezenwa said time had gone when the citizens merely sat down and did wishful thinking with regards to government projects.
In his words, “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.”
He further urged the participating civil society groups to “form a anti-corruption network, identify the problems in your area and seek ways to get them solved.”
Also in a remark, the Country Director, MacArthur Foundation, Mr. Kole Shettima said much emphasis was 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 your 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 at the capacity building were drawn from the civil society groups across the three senatorial zones of the State.
They were further empowered to carry on the anti corruption crusade into their senatorial districts through demanding for answers on the level of implementation of projects featured in the yearly projects and as well initiate channels to make demands over immediate pressing issue of the community.