“Use New Media to Enhance Transparency in Governance”, Yiaga Africa tasks lawmakers

Members of the House of Representatives have been encouraged to increase the use of new media in its bid to drive transparency and accountability in legislative governance and to increase engagement between citizens and the legislature.

This call was made during the inaugural retreat for the House Committee on Media and Public Affairs which was organised by Yiaga Africa with the support of the European Union through its Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) project. 

The retreat was informed by the need to build the capacity of the committee on how they can shape public opinion of the House of Representatives, and use the media as a tool for effective public engagement. This is critical to ensuring that citizens engage better with legislators and make input into the law-making activities of their representatives.

Members of the committee interacting during the retreat.

In his opening remarks, the Coordinator, Yiaga Africa Centre for Legislative Engagement, Dr. Sam Oguche said new media is a potent tool for shaping public opinion, fostering political engagements and driving positive change in Nigeria.

He called on the legislators to leverage the new media, including digital and social media platforms, to influence public perception.

“This committee has been able to open new frontiers to public affairs and information dissemination. This legislature can be doing its best, but when the information is not put out there, the people will not know how far they have come,” he said.

Dr. Sam Oguche, Coordinator, Yiaga Africa Centre for Legislative Engagement

He added that the retreat is aimed at giving the participants the platform to brainstorm on issues that will drive the activities of the committee to meet public expectations on promoting good governance.

Also speaking at the retreat, the Chairman, House Committee, Media and Public Affairs, Hon Akintunde Rotimi (Ekiti North I Federal Constituency – Ekiti State) said the Committee is having critical engagements with many stakeholders to get feedback on their perceptions about the Assembly.

“This tenth assembly is out to address perception issues around the national assembly and ensure that we have greater open lines with Nigerians,” he said.

Hon Akin Rotimi, Chairperson of the Media and Public Affairs Committee

He also said that the tenth assembly is out to address perception issues around the national assembly and ensure that we have greater open lines with Nigerians.

Another member of the committee, Rep. Fred Agbedi (Sagbama/Ekeremor Federal Constituency – Bayelsa State) said that the committee gained a lot at the retreat.

“Members of the committee are better informed and enriched; we are leaving here with some working tools that will further improve the performance of the committee in the 10th Assembly,” he said.

Hon Fred Agbedi making his contribution at the retreat.

He added that with the recommendations received through the sessions, the legislature could achieve its purpose for the 10th Assembly.

Mr Agbedi concluded by saying that there would be regular updates and presentations of the activities of the House to Nigerians, through traditional and social media. 

The two-day retreat had resource persons from the media and development sector that facilitated interactive sessions on how the legislators can use effective communication to engage the public and harvest information on trending political issues, particularly as they relate to the National Assembly.

A resource person facilitating a session at the retreat.
Hon Kafilat Ogbara making an addition during the retreat.

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