Skip to main content
Yiaga Africa Engages Residents of Lagos State on Pushing For Accountability at Local Levels

Yiaga Africa Engages Residents of Lagos State on Pushing For Accountability at Local Levels

The process of good governance does not just involve getting a Permanent Voters’ Card and voting when needed - it also includes demanding accountability from elected officials at all levels. 

It is this need to ignite civic activism among citizens to improve Nigeria’s democratic process one step at a time that influenced the maiden edition of Yiaga Africa’s Peoples Assembly which took place on the 24th of March, 2022, in Lagos. 

[caption id="attachment_3834" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Participants at the Peoples' Assembly[/caption]

The Peoples’ Assembly was held as part of the TurnUp Democracy project with the support of the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. It brought together citizens and members of special interest groups from Kosofe, Ikeja and Surulere Local Government Areas of Lagos State as well as some members of the local government council to engage on important issues residents of these areas face and brainstorm solutions. 

When asked about their views of democracy, all participants agreed that democracy connotes a system of government where the citizens have the power to choose.

[caption id="attachment_3836" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Participants responding to questions at the Peoples' Assembly[/caption]

Yiaga Africa’s Director of Programs Cynthia Mbamalu explained that inclusion is the bedrock of deliberative democracy, and when grassroot representatives, religious leaders and members of other special interest groups come together to agree on policies that work better in favour of the people and push these recommendations to the government for implementation, the chances of better governance will be higher. 

She enjoined participants to understand that the power of the citizens in a democracy largely depends on their willingness to engage with the people they have elected. 

[caption id="attachment_3835" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Cynthia Mbamalu, Director of Programs, Yiaga Africa[/caption]

“When citizens elect their leaders and only explain their needs and grievances among each other without directly engaging their leaders will only yield underdevelopment,” she said.

“Using your power as the electorate, as citizens goes far beyond election time. We should follow up with the promises candidates make when they are campaigning. We are building a system not just for us, but for the generations after us. This is why we cannot give up on democracy, not at this point.” 

She concluded by reminding the participants that to better push for needed change, citizens must engage their leaders from an informed standpoint and not from ignorance. 

“Successfully creating a cohort to recommend useful policies can only be done when the representatives are not doing guesswork or building castles in the air, but are armed with the needed information to suggest workable solutions to their government,” she said.

Participants from the different local government areas provided a list of challenges in their areas ranging from bad roads, bad drainage systems, and insufficient amenities to human problems like thuggery, fraud, armed robbery and murder. Three representatives were picked from each area to take these issues and the proffered solutions to the local government chairman and follow up on the cases. 

[caption id="attachment_3833" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Participant speaking on challenges in his local government area[/caption]

The representative of the Chairman, Kosofe Local Government Area, Moses Adekoya, reminded the participants that the problems of Lagos state were not accumulated in a day and as such, would not disappear in a day either. He advised members of the public to be more relentless and active as citizens, to make sure they report these issues, engage their leaders and follow up to get the change they need. 

[caption id="attachment_3837" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Representative of the Chairman, Kosofe Local Government Area[/caption]

He also thanked Yiaga Africa for the People’s Assembly as an initiative geared towards encouraging grassroot citizens to engage their leaders, lauding it as a good move in the right direction towards the 2023 elections. 

 

About

Yiaga Africa is a non-profit civic hub of change makers committed to the promotion of democratic governance, human rights and civic engagement. With its operational base in Abuja, Nigeria, Yiaga Africa focuses on in-depth research, providing critical analysis on key democratic and governance issues, crafting practical solutions, training and empowering citizens to lead change in their community. Yiaga Africa implements several innovative programs aimed at stimulating active citizenship, protecting human rights and deepening democratic governance. We invest in building networks and social movements to drive social change and transformation. Yiaga Africa has leadership structures and members in all 36 states and 774 Local Government Areas (LGA) of Nigeria.