The Chairperson of TMG, Dr. Abiola Akiyode Afolabi said that States should develop their own Charter of Demand and concentrate on identifying solutions to problems rather than dwelling so much on the problems. She noted that states should be specific on what they need as it concerns their states and not a blanket demand.
Speaking at a Two-DAY Dialogue Session on Citizens Charter of Demand and Setting Agenda for Elections in Nigeria held at Best Western Plus Hotel, Enugu State, she relayed her experiences around what TMG has done in other states to achieve results. She asserted that to bring the politicians to sign into the Charter of Demand, it needs patience and systematic planning. She said CSOs should not agonize but get organized to achieve results.
A lot of resource persons spoke, calling on the participants to not only listen to the sweet speeches of the speakers but to ensure that all they learnt will be put into use. The Engaged Citizens Pillars (ECP) of DFID partnership to Engage Reform and Learn (PERL) representatives, Mr. Otivo said that the essence of the meeting was to create workable Charter of Demands that will be used to engage and hold representatives accountable. TMG Zonal Coordinator, TMG Board Rep and NLC representative charged participants to develop strategies that will put the demands on the tables of the representatives.
The INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Enugu State, Emeka Ononamadu who was the Special Guest at the meeting said that there is need for CSOs and stakeholders to continue to push for good governance and accountability in the country. He said once the Charter of Demand is popularized, electorate will be made to vote for the charter of demand they (politicians) have signed into and not what the politicians promise to do for the citizens. Ononamadu posited that good ideas die if they are not able to push aside bad ideas. He said what is important is bringing the politicians to buy into the charter, noting that strategies must be developed towards that direction. ‘Accountability is being responsive and responsible to the citizens and not a Book of Accounts’, he submitted. He called on the citizens to protect INEC as it is the institution through which candidates are delivered to the people, so that according to him, destroying INEC would mean destroying the road/means of governance. He urged participants/citizens to owe INEC.
However, Citizens Center for Integrated Development and Social Rights, CCIDESOR, represented by the Mobilization/Media Director., Chigozie Uzosike was part of the planning/strategies to engage other stakeholders in the final draft of the citizens charter at state levels, Identifying activities that can support citizens’ and media groups participation and Cascading the charter issues to other stakeholders and promoting the spirit of charter in the zone