By Chikezie Ogbonna
With the upcoming public hearing slated for 26th and 27th May over the 1991 constitution review by the National Assembly, an NGO, YIAGA Africa has held a one-day roundtable to sensitize residents of Enugu State how to participate at Zonal public hearing on constitutional review and electoral reform by the National Assembly.
YIAGA is a non-profit civic hub of change makers committed to the promotion of democratic governance, human rights and civic engagement.
The Enugu State Coordinator of YIAGA Africa, Mrs. Njideka Eze while addressing participants on Monday at the event tagged: “Citizen’s Roundtable on the Constitutional Review and Electoral Reform”, said that it is an effort to organize citizens and CSO partners at the state level to engage the Zonal public hearing on Constitution review.
“As an organization working to support democracy in Nigeria, key issues for us in this Constitution review process include; to Increased women representation and vulnerable group participation in government, to focus on local government administration/local government autonomy, a review on the federal structure of governance/power devolution, a focus on electoral reforms and a justifiability of social economy rights”, She said.
The 2-day zonal public hearing on the proposed alteration to the provisions of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria is slated to hold in two centers in each of the six Geo-Political zones. Owerri and Enugu are the two chosen centers for South East. While Owerri will cover for both Imo and Abia, Enugu Centre on the other hand will serve people from Enugu, Ebonyi and Anambra states respectively.
In her presentation, YIAGA facilitator, Prof. Magdalen Igbolo who is also the Head of Department, Sociology Department University of Abuja urged citizens to take advantage of the public hearing and make their contributions count in the march towards a better constitution that will reflect the yearnings of the people.
Participants were drilled on how to engage the constitution amendment process, how citizens can make inputs during a bill process, how citizens can make a difference through public hearings and ways citizens can participate in a public hearings.
Participants were also given tips on how to make presentation at the public hearing and issues as enumerated for the public hearing were further buttressed upon.
Launched as a student organization in 2007 at the University of Jos, Nigeria, YIAGA Africa has since established itself as a leading civil society organization in Africa.
Since its inception, the organization has carved a niche for itself as one of Africa’s frontline non-profit organization promoting participatory democracy, human rights and civic participation.
With its operational base in Abuja, Nigeria, YIAGA Africa focuses on in-depth research, providing critical analysis on key democratic and governance issues, crafting practical solutions, training and empowering citizens to lead change in their community. YIAGA Africa implements several innovative programs aimed at stimulating active citizenship, protecting human rights and deepening democratic governance, investing in building networks and social movements to drive social change and transformation.
YIAGA Africa has leadership structures and members in all 36 states and 774 Local Government Areas (LGA) of Nigeria. YIAGA Africa is registered in Nigeria as an independent nonprofit organization. The nonprofit is the founder of a Nigerian movement to reduce the age of running for elective offices in Nigeria known as Not Too Young To Run, the movement have created global interest on youth political participation.
With the town hall meeting, citizens are expected to be at the forefront in ensuring their voices are heard and their demands taken into cognizance as the nation gears up to a possible adjustment to the current constitution largely believed to be defective.