Category: News

ENSURING ACTIVE CITIZENS’ PARTICIPATION IN TALATA MAFARA LG, ZAMFARA STATE

“O God of creation, direct our noble cause. Guide our leaders right; Help our youth the truth to know.”
2nd Stanza of Nigeria’s National Anthem

March 14, 2021 | 1st Maru LG Town Hall Meeting | Maru Local Government Council Chamber

Special Guests: Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Mafara, Director of Socials., Talata Mafara LG

Lukman Lawali Danbuzu, Coun

Zulkifilu Ahmad, Citizen Journalist Talata Mafara

The 1st #MyLG Talata Marafa local government town hall meeting themed, ”Ensuring Active Citizens participation in Local Governance”, was graced by esteemed members of the community including traditional rulers, representatives of the Talata Marafa local government, representatives of commercial and political organizations, civil servants, and many other stakeholders in the local Government tier.

The meeting aimed at educating participants about the importance of active citizens’ participation in governance, the role of civil and commercial organizations as well as the local government in community development.

At the end of the meeting, participants agreed to ensure that LGA budget is always a true representation of the people’s development needs and that all sections of the society must be well represented by the local government. Further resolutions included full transparency in the handling of local government funds in terms of the declaration and allocations of grants received and calls for the continuity of the #MyLG project in the smaller communities around Talata Marafa local government.

There were 97 participants – 70 men & 27 women.

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ENSURING ACTIVE CITIZENS’ PARTICIPATION IN MARU LOCAL GOVERNMENT, ZAMFARA

“O God of creation, direct our noble cause. Guide our leaders right; Help our youth the truth to know.”
2nd Stanza of Nigeria’s National Anthem

March 14, 2021 | 1st Maru LG Town Hall Meeting | Maru Local Government Council Chamber

Special Guests: Alh. Muhammad lawal Dauran, Secretary, Maru LG

Nasiru Abdullahi Maru, Department of Political Science, UDUS Sokoto

Bashir Umar Aero, Personal Assistant to Sole Administrator, Maru LG

Alh. Sani Suleiman, Director of Social, Maru LG

Salisu Ahmad Umar, Citizens Journalist, Maru LGA

The 1st #MyLG Maru LG town hall meeting was attended by Maru local government officials, councilors, youths and women organizations, social media organizations, and many others. The meeting themed, ”Ensuring Active Citizens participation in Local Government Governance”, was designed to look for possible ways forward in active citizens’ participation in local governance, particularly in policymaking, budgeting, and project tracking to meet public needs.

The interactive session touched many areas of governance such as how well citizens can engage with duty bearers and the provision of social amenities by the local government with a view of improvising social wellbeing and economic development.

Resolutions reached included the active participation of community leaders, organizations, and people with disabilities (PWD) in local governance. The local government was tasked to provide death, birth, and marriage registrars, water, street lights, good roads, central markets, better schools, and other social services, in addition to maintenance of order.

Emphasis was made on making efforts to harness local mineral resources within the community for revenue generation and providing skill acquisition training for the people.

From the discussions, resolutions were reached to make representatives of local organizations and groups participate in Anka LG budget deliberations. The local government was also enjoined to ensure the active participation of women and people with disabilities (PWDs) in the decision-making process.

There were 36 participants – 30 men & 6 women.

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ENSURING ACTIVE CITIZENS’ PARTICIPATION IN SHINKAFI LOCAL GOVERNMENT, ZAMFARA

“O God of creation, direct our noble cause. Guide our leaders right; Help our youth the truth to know.”
2nd Stanza of Nigeria’s National Anthem

March 14, 2021 | 1st Maru LG Town Hall Meeting | Maru Local Government Council Chamber

Special Guests: Secretary, Shinkafi Local Government, Abba Atiku

Director of Social, Umar Sani

Director of Personnel Management, Ilyasu Garba Zurmi

Junaidu Bala Abubakar, Lecturer, Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria

Mu’awuyya Elhamza, Lecturer, Nigerian College of Education (NCE), Sokoto

The role of the local government is to bring governance closer to the people and serve communities in intimate ways the federal and state governments cannot. Sadly, this is not accurately reflected in local governance today. Duty bearers at the local level have become so detached from citizens that they lose interest in the actions of local authorities.

Themed ”Ensuring Active Citizens participation in Local Government Governance”, the 1st #MyLG Shinkafi LG town hall meeting aimed at discussing mechanisms to improve citizen’s involvement in local governance within Shinkafi. The berth of proposed engagement ranged from community engagement, policymaking, project tracking, implementation, and evaluation. The meeting was graced by representatives of the Shinkafi local government, councilors, youths and women organizations, social media organizations, and civil and commercial organizations.

Discussions and papers delivered focused on community engagement – the role of citizens and leaders/religious leaders in governance enlightenment of the community – and community development – the roles of the local government in creating social infrastructure and amenities.

Resolutions reached included capacity building for our youth to ensure self-reliance, direct financial autonomy of the LG administration, active participation of civil society organizations and women organizations in governance, and giving a listening ear to public views and opinions.

There were 55 participants – 45 men & 10 women.

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ENHANCING CITIZEN’S PARTICIPATION IN ANKA LOCAL GOVERNMENT, ZAMFARA STATE

March 14, 2021 | 1st Anka LG Town Hall Meeting | Government Girls Day Secondary School E-Library Conference Hall

Special Guests: His Royal Highness, Dr Attahir Muhd Ahmad, Emir of Anka.

His Royal Highness, Alhaji Attahir Muhd, Royal Father of the Emir of Anka.

Hon. Rabiu Muhd damo, Secretary of the Anka Local Government Council.

Nasir Garba Anka, Professor of Bioenergy, Biomass & Biofuel, Federal  University Gusau.

Dr. Sha’ayau Shehu Mafara, Rector, Abdu Gusau Polytechnic Talata-Mafara.

A nation where the activities of governance are of interest to only a tiny part of the populace is dangerously ‘dancing’ on the edge of a cliff. While few people are needed in offices to represent the masses, it is the participation of the masses in the governance of the state that keeps the abuse of power in check.

Such participation begins at the closest level of government to the people – the local government. If citizens can hold duty bearers at this level accountable to deliver on their responsibilities, they can develop ‘the voice’ to demand better from government at the state and federal levels.

Graced by distinguished personalities from the local government area, the meeting themed, “Enhancing Citizens’ Participation in Local Government” educated citizens on the constitutional roles of local government officials and that of citizens. It provided a platform for people to ask questions on matters that affect them, strengthening the capacity of citizens to advance government accountability at the local government level.  

From the discussions, resolutions were reached to make representatives of local organizations and groups participate in Anka LG budget deliberations. The local government was also enjoined  to ensure active participation of women and people with disabilities (PWDs) in the decision making process.

Further resolutions reached included a request for the construction of a Town Hall for Anka LGA, establishment of a steering committee tasked with keeping the local government abreast on matters of public interest, and the continuity of the myLG Project in Anka. Citizens were also encouraged to engage their local government officials and demand accountability for the growth of the community.

There were 90 participants – 57 men & 33 women.

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#myLG PROJECT – THE NEED TO ENSURE ACTIVE PARTICIPATION OF CITIZENS IN LOCAL GOVERNANCE

Good governance depends on the ability to take responsibility by both the administration as well as people.

Narendra Modi (Indian Prime Minister)

The local government (LG) is the 3rd tier of government and the closest to the people as their roles include provision and maintenance of primary health care service; construction of rural roads & markets; nursery, primary and adult education, amongst others. However, due to the consistent abuse of their powers and lack of accountability over time, citizens look to the state government to provide what the LG should constitutionally provide. As a result, local governments are the most ineffective tier of government in dispersing their duties.

Every month, 10% of a state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) is paid to the LGAs. Also, revenue generated by the Nigerian government is split among its 3 tiers – Federal, State & Local governments based on a revenue-sharing formula of 52.68%; 26.72%; and 20.60% respectively. The infographics below represent what Ebonyi and Zamfara have received in the past year.

To mitigate this, EiE Nigeria with support from NED, launched the #myLGA project, with the aim of building the capacity of citizens to demand accountability, transparency, good governance, and effective service delivery at the local government level. The project kicked off in August 2020, with two pilot states; Ebonyi and Zamfara.

To drive activities in selected communities, one citizen per community (called Citizen Journalist), was selected to take charge of the project while tracking responses from community members.

The duties of the Citizen Journalists include conducting the baseline and Endline survey, to carry out other activities of the project which include Focus Group Discussions, Town Hall meetings, project tracking and community engagement, they will also serve as mediators between the Local Government officials and the community members.

We conducted a baseline survey to understand the knowledge of the citizens on local governance and these are our findings: Low level of citizen engagement in most communities. For example, from total respondents of 1,675 in Zamfara; 28% do not know the name of their LGs Chairmen; 79% have never participated in any meeting with their LG Chairmen; 74.1% are not aware of any ongoing projects, and 80.7% are not aware these LGs Chairmen receive a monthly allocation from the federal government. The report also showed that citizens are willing to engage with LG Chairmen if given the opportunity. 

Worthy of mention is the poor state of service delivery in Zamfara State. In the Baseline Survey, we conducted in the State, 58.3% of respondents opined that the Primary Health Centres (PHCs) are far below standard; 53.2% rated primary schools to be ‘far below global standard’; 51.9% rate intra LGA development to be ‘far below standard’; and 50.2% believe the state of their local market Is ‘far below the required standard’.

In Ebonyi State, from a total of 1,318 respondents, 14% do not know the name of their LG Chairmen, 73% never participated in any meeting with their LG Chairmen, 66.2% are not aware of any ongoing projects and 61.8% are not aware of the monthly allocations received by their LG Chairmen. The citizens who are also willing to engage with these officials stated that they need to improve the markets, schools, health centres and inner roads. 

In the past months, EiE has successfully organized Town Hall meetings which have had in attendance Local Government Administrators, religious leaders, traditional leaders, party executives and community leaders to discuss ways to engage the Local Government officials in delivering effective service to the community. At the Townhall meeting in Ebonyi, the citizens highlighted some major challenges affecting the effectiveness of the Local Government, this includes the lack of autonomy of the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC), lack of information on the rights and responsibilities of the citizens. In proffering workable solutions, the attendees recommended that INEC should conduct the elections to curb political interference by the state government, also budget should be made available, and citizens should participate more by asking the right questions.

There has also been training on budgeting for the LG Administrators, which BudgIT facilitated. The LG Budget Officers were trained in Ebonyi while the LG Secretaries were trained in Zamfara. The Administrators at an interview confirmed how the training has enlightened them on how to prepare a citizen-centred budget.

With the impact of the project, Citizens in Ebonyi and Zamfara have begun town hall meetings in their various communities having representatives from the Local Government present. The citizens have also started tracking some ongoing projects in their LGAs. The Local Government Administrators who were trained have also promised that the budget for the year 2021 will be made available to the citizens and they will also conduct needs assessments in the various communities of the Local Government.

EiE Nigeria hopes to expand this project across the 36 states in Nigeria. This will guarantee a nationwide impact and build the consciousness of citizens towards local governance.

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