Ccidesor In Partnership With Abia, Anambra And Imo Communities Launched Community Development And Democracy Vanguard
- Due to lack of democracy dividend and threat that corruption poses to democracy in Nigeria ,CCIDESOR in partnership with rural communities in Abia,Ananmbra, Imo have established Community Democracy and Developmt empowering community groups and members on how to make democracy work in their community and as well ensure protection of human rights.This will be achieved through elected Representatives performance,monitoring and governance watch. This vanguard is a product of series of Democracy Clinic project mounted by CCIDESOR with support from NED to bridge the seeming gap betweeen the people and their elected leaders. It is also a platform that is meant to raise awareness on development challenge facing different South East communities and how elected leaders can solve those problems and improve the lives and livelihood of those the are representing. The vanguard will be interested in discouraging act of corruption which is the biggest threat to democracy.
- Reason for Public Accountability Project Due to the improvement recorded in the last election, where the voting power of the people counted, especially in few of the South east states, it is pertinent to continue to improve on such success by engaging the elected leaders and appointees so as to retain the people’s power while making people feel the real impact of modern day democracy.
- Since 1999 that democracy returned in Nigeria, Nigerians have been steadfast despite the poor performance and abuse of public resources by elected representative. The establishment of Democracy and Development Vanguard is therefore a community driven response to improve the gains of democracy particularly as it relates to community development and standard of living. One of the community driven tools that Community Democracy and Development Vanguard will rely on is the use of elected representatives’ performance score card in tracking physical and social development programme of all elected representatives in the states with emphasis on state representatives and federal legislators representing the communities.
- This strategy has become necessary due to the slide in representation by the elected leaders and politicians. With the introduction of performance score card, politicians will be pressured to go closer to their people and thus work with them to develop their communities. When leaders emerge based on correct assessment by the people, elections will no longer become nightmare for Nigerians. It will be easy also for the poor and the rich to stand equal opportunity to get elected in a fair and credible contest. We are aware that Dee Sam Mbakwe turned old Imo state around with within 5 years. Today, what Dee Sam did in 5 years cannot be equaled with the combined efforts of the entire Governors that have subsequently ruled the entire south east since 1985 or between 1999 and 2011, whereas the kind of resources available today is a thousand times higher than what was available for our then “crying” governor. We are aware how past governors in Imo, Abia and particularly Enugu completed physical project in the media without any physical trace. They bought pages of newspapers and people were clapping. When they left the scene, the people discovered that in deed, nothing similar was on the ground. Today, they are our law makers in Abuja, our ministers and envoys. They got away with these gimmicks because their performance was not closely monitored by the people.
- This method is capable of reducing rigging, buying of vote, bribery, election induce violence and the syndrome of “win election at all cost and by all means”. It will also enable those aspiring to represent their people on elected positions to understand what service means as well as the need of their people whenever they are given the mandate. It will make extinct the politics of manipulation, media hype, and confusion of facts and figure in the quest for political power. This will enable communities to easily gain objective assessment of the performance of their leaders. The Community Democracy and Development Vanguard also is aimed at empowering community members and attract other development project from local and international development agencies.
- During the previous democracy clinics anchored on the role of communities in making democracy work, election processes as well as effective representation and community development, communities were trained on how to hold the elected leaders accountable and make them do their biddings. In the opening speeches by the Executive Director of CCIDESOR, Emeka Ononamadu informed the communities that it is only determination and hard work that can break chain of poverty in a democracy and facilitate development of the communities. He frowned on the way communities have been neglected by their representatives since 14 years ago, yet they return to those communities to seek for votes during elections. If the performance score card is introduced, the level of deceit by politicians will reduce. He therefore advised them to ensure that they are always in touch with elected leaders instead of the opposite. It was also noted that quest for accountability is part of our civic responsibilities. He therefore called on communities to embrace this strategy if they want rapid development of their communities.
- In his lecture on the role of communities in the new electoral environment, Barr Chidi Igwe advised the communities to base all their pre-election, election, and post-election participation and action on existing laws, so that the chances of getting communities preferred representative to stand for election will be realized. This is because it is through political parties that power is acquired in Nigeria. He blamed their inabilities to participate in pre-election activities as being responsible for limited choices they were faced with during previous elections. He also encouraged them not to be afraid in testing all the constitutions and electoral laws provisions that will promote their interest in democracy.
- During the second session on effective representation and community democracy development, Dr Jude Ohanaele who also participated in the training of communities told them that they should not fail to hold their elected legislators responsible, especially at local and state level because they are the one empowered to conduct oversight functions and also reduce the excesses of executive arm of goverment. If there is high corruption and abuse of public resources in post 2011 regime , the elected legislators should strictly be held accountable by the people for failing in their duties .It is the duty of the legislator to ensure that the Human Right of the people are representing is fully protected under democracy.
- ConclusionFinally, Mr. Emeka Onanamadu called on the elected leadership in Nigeria particularly in the south east states to manage the public resources only in the interest of the people. The 13 years endurance by Nigerians is enough sacrifice for growth of democracy. The approach of holding our elected leaders to do the right thing should be different. Making the people suffer more by denying them democracy dividend means that the enemies of democracy are those elected to protect it. We are calling on all the elected people to draw close to their people so that they will have something written in their score card because you can no longer win election with an empty or blank score card. Of utmost priority is tracking of Human Rights of their people.
- About Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights – CIDESOR. CCIDEOSOR is using this opportunity to call on the media to support this effort by creating columns, and awareness pages, programs and events that will promote public accountability, Human Rights and Community Development, while reducing the rate of fraud, waste and abuse of public resources that has been the bane of democracy since 1999. Media flourishes well where the rights of people, particularly, freedom of speech is full guaranteed and protected. It is the responsibility of elected representatives to ensure that no rights abuse goes on among the people he is representing.
Citizens Centre for Integrated Development and Social Rights (CCIDESOR) is a registered non-profit, non-governmental, non-partisan, non-ethnic and non–religious organization established to facilitate the attainment of social freedom, good governance and sustainable grassroots development in Nigeria. It is established to promote development integration. Our core programming areas are democracy reforms, economic literacy for poverty eradication, free and quality basic education advocacy, Housing Rights, and environmental education, as well as advocacy for fundamental freedoms and Human Rights. We seek a balanced and integrated economic and social development approach by government that guarantees, especially the marginalized and vulnerable groups, their basic human needs for improved standard of living and security. It is the provision of basic needs that determines the attainment of millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Our cross cutting programme areas are gender and community health advocacy. We have a group of highly skilled and passionately committed professional from diverse background and operating from different parts of the world. We are deeply acquainted with the severity of Nigeria’s development and democracy challenges. We strongly believe in development integration through citizen centered approach that is participatory and sustainable.
CCIDESOR through its core professionals and volunteers facilitate rapid organizational development of young CBOs, Media groups, CBAs, NGOs and Occupational/artisanal groups by filling the gaps resulting from shortage of personnel and operational capacity. This enables new organizations with similar or related vision to generate required resources to deliver on their vision as well as contribute to a better society. We strongly believe in development integration as the key to sustainable development, social freedom and citizens’ empowerment.