November 29, 2021


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Groups train youths to demand accountability from state govts, houses of assembly

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 Connected Development in partnership with Magamba Network, have launched an initiative and trained youths to promote transparency.

By Angela Atabo

Connected Development in partnership with Magamba Network, have launched an initiative and trained youths to influence and promote transparency and accountability of state governments and houses of assembly.

Mr Hamzat Lawal, Founder and Chief Executive, Connected Development (CODE), at a news conference in Abuja said that they Nigerian and Zimbabwean NGOs collaborated to launch the Open Parly Nigeria Project .

Lawal said that this was to mobilise youth civic activist networks to monitor state houses of assembly performance .

He said that over the years, reports pointed to several factors hindering the promotion of public good and effective service delivery in the country.

This, he said included lack of accountability and transparency in all levels of governance resulting in redundant institutions and ineffective leadership.

“CODE is keen on ensuring that we are able to entrench and empower grassroots communities, keeping in mind that in our states in Nigeria most times our executive governors have their hands in the businesses of parliamentarians.

“In the spirit of separation of power, this campaign, open parly Nigeria will allow for young people to understand the dealings and workings of parliamentarians.

“We are starting this pilot phase in three states for the next 12 months to document what our parliamentarians  are doing ,how are they ensuring the state houses of assembly  is inclusive ,engaging and participatory.

“With this ,young people can amplify what is happening in the parliaments, collect feedback from constituents  and to inform and galvanise policy and decision making at the state level .’’Lawal said that this was necessary because  to ensure that parliaments become closer to the people because CODE carried out a study and discovered that  most citizens did not know  state assemblies were doing.

“A lot most of them think that the role of state parliamentarians is to pay for school fees ,sponsor marriages, burials ,hospital bills and  so on.

“When I engage state law makers these are mostly their complaints that citizens don’t ask them about bills the sponsor they don’t care.

“So for us, one achievement is to educate particularly young people so they can amplify and share these knowledge across board,as well as  stall the  interferences of governors on state houses of assembly .’’

Lawal said that Open Parly Nigeria would support true separation of power and promote the independence  of state houses of assembly.

He said that through this , budget appropriation would be followed , functional oversight would be promoted and  governors  would sit up to their responsibilities .

He said that this would be achieved through grassroots outreaches, town hall meetings, usage  traditional and religious institutions  among others .

CODE’s Community Engagement Director ,Busayo Morankinyo ,said that the initiative would close the information gap between state governments and young citizens.

Busayo said that the project was focused on building the capacity of young content creators in four pilot states of Kwara, Kaduna, Kano and Oyo with relevant skills through boot camps.

This, he said was to provide coverage of state house assembly sessions and produce content aimed at influencing accountability and transparency at subnational levels.

He said that with Open Parly Nigeria, young people would no longer be sidelined in the pursuit of good governance  adding that the intention was to achieve a robust system where, citizens could hold their parliamentarians to account.

The Creative Director, Magamba Network, Samm Monro, said that Open Parly was a groundbreaking initiative launched by the Network in Zimbwabwe in 2015.

Monro said that the project empowered young content creators to tweet live from the parliament and break complex bills in order to engage youths in national political processes.

“Open Parly is now spreading on the continent, having been launched in other countries, we are really proud to be launching it in Nigeria in partnership with CODE,’’he said   Monro said that engagement with decision makers would be a multi-prone  strategy to deal with the realities of Nigeria unground .

He said that  there would an online and offline strategies to the project, adding that apart from the traditional  media, the online strategy would include usage of open parly Nigerian website, social media handles, Facebook, Instagram, and whatsap, among others. (NAN) (