Between February 2011 and September 2012, CCIDESOR organized series of citizen’s capacity building to prepare the community members to attract desired development through critical and strategic engagement with the governance process as well as the key players. These capacity building efforts were conducted under our unique approach called Democracy Clinic. It was through this clinic that Democracy and Development Vanguards emerged to oversee and facilitate sustainable Democracy Clinic meant to cure democracy ills.
As the DC gathered momentum, the elected representative’s performances scorecard was introduced with the aims of bridging the communication gaps which denies citizens the knowledge of the real performance of their elected representatives. It was also supposed to serve as a bridge between the elected representatives and the citizens. It was on that basis that CCIDESOR trained citizens on how to use a hybridized score card to check the performance of their elected leaders instead of crying over development stagnation. Below is the summary of all the 35 score cards collected from Ezinihitte LGA.
Methods of Score carding
Ezinihitte has three federal elected representatives: The President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Senator representing Owerri Zone and the House of Representative member representing Ahiazu Ezinihitte federal Constituency. These are the only elected representatives at the federal levels that citizens from Ezinihitte casted their votes for in a general elections conducted by the statutorily empowered Independent National Electoral Commission – INEC.
In scoring the performance of these federal elected representatives, five thematic areas were selected: they are:
· Capital projects credited to the federal elected representatives
· Laws, Policies and Programs
· Human Rights protection and intervention
· Other statutory functions
· Pre-election and post-election Promises
· Human Capital Development
· Others significant performance not covered by the above
The major methods of collecting information on the above are through:
· Transect Walk
· Personal interview of key informants and community gate keepers and associations
· Application of other Participatory Rural Appraisal tools
· Self-assessment by elected representatives
· And research
For each of the performance measurement parameters, the grading system adopted are as follows:
1= very poor,
5 very good.
The ranking of any of the above for any elected representatives is based on the quality of work and expected impact on the community. Therefore the point of scoring any elected representative is the impact in the community of the respondent.
The Federal elected representatives
After the combination of these tools to obtain data which was analyzed to arrive at the following conclusions in the context of Ezinihitte:
(a) All the federal elected representatives scored did not score above 1 (meaning very poor) in all the seven areas selected to measure their performance to the people of Ezinihitte that elected them. It is only the president who was scored 4 on infrastructure by one respondent.
(b) There was no capital project initiated by all the federal elected representatives to the knowledge of the respondents.
(c) The level of communication between the federal elected representatives and the electorates in Ezinihitte is none existent as no one interviewed agreed to have had any direct or indirect communication with the federal elected representatives. Few acknowledged that they have listened to few broadcast speech by Mr. President and read few some of the releases from his media and other aids.
(d) It was also discovered through follow up interview that it is difficult to differentiate some of the federal projects from the state projects due to poor communication, publicity and low involvement of citizens from start to finish.
(e) The citizens are not aware of the capital projects in 2012 budget which will be implemented in Ezinihitte. Their elected federal representatives have been unable to inform them well.
(f) There is no human development project embarked upon by all or any of the federal elected representatives
(g) No federal elected representative has fulfilled his or her pre-election and post-election promises to the people.
State elected representatives
The Ezinihitte citizens are supposed to have four state elected representatives. But due to the absence of functioning elected Chairmen and Councillors, the elected representatives whose performance were scored are the Governor and the House of assembly member representing Ezinihitte. The following are how citizens scored their performance:
a) Only three respondents scored the governor 4 and 3 respectively, the remaining respondents scored him one
b) The House of Assembly member for Ezinihitte scored one while three of the respondents that returned their scorecard were unable to score him.
c) There is low communication between the state elected representatives and Ezinihitte citizens
d) There is no known human capital development project embarked upon by the state elected representatives
e) While few believe the governor is trying to fulfill his pre-election promises, most respondents seemed not to believe what he is doing currently are in consonance with his pre-election promises.
f) No respondent agrees that the state elected representatives are fulfilling their post-election promises.
g) Imo citizens living in Ezinihitte do not have knowledge of the state or LGA budget for the year 2012. All the information they have on budget and projects are based on rumour mills
h) There is no known platform where regular interaction exits between the people and their elected representatives
i) There is no effective representation so far while there is fear that there will not be effective representation in the future.
While the power of citizens’ vote has been restored through the last general election, the effectiveness of elected representative is yet to be restored. The level of change expected by citizens is still a mirage. Governance is still far from the citizens while accountability remains at its lowest ebb. It is only the citizens that can get their elected representatives to perform better in other to experience sustainable development.