By Constance Meju
…FollowTheMoney Movement To Beam Light On 10 Rivers LGs
Niger Delta youth have been advised to change their strategy for demanding government attention to be more productive as people appear to be no longer afraid of violence.
A resource person at a two-day capacity training for community champions, leaders, media and civil society representatives organized by Connected development, CODE as part of its Follow The Money, FTM movement pushing for government accountability. The event held at Trulli Hotel, Port Harcourt.
The resource person, Busayo Morakinyo said there is need for youth in the oil rich rejoin to re-evaluate their method as recent events have shown that those at the helm of affairs in the country are no longer moved by violence while the usual threat of destruction of pipelines affect the communities and the environment rather than the target.
Said he: “Young people in the South-South need to change their strategy, like nobody is afraid of violence. Violent acts keep affecting community people and the environment. The government does not seem to care.
“We should be able to know when to dialogue, when to dialogue and when to say enough is enough,” he pointed out.
Busayo who made the remark while training on Advocacy and Policy Influencing strategy explained that it is important for citizen’s to understand that governance is a partnership between those ho govern and the governed so to get needed social services from the government, community people especially, oil host communities must begin to ask questions about projects and follow how they are being implemented in their area to ensure judicious use of funds thereby promoting accountability and tackling corruption.
He said CODE is committed to helping communities develop capacity to hold those entrusted with power to account stressing, “people should engage those in public office by following upon government service delivery especially through monitoring of projects, following the monies appropriated to ensure they are used in accordance with stated terms in the contracts/budgets.
He identified need for enlightenment and community outreach to open up more room for citizen action pointing out, that as a signatory to the Open Governance Initiative which has as key sign post, transparency, the right of the people to know.
Earlier, the senior programme manager of CODE, Lucy James Obagi, who facilitated the training programme, explained that CODE I a community development non-governmental organization which work in several states to help communities demand better service delivery from government and Follow The Money is the Social Media Movement it uses to mobilize grass root communities across Africa to demand accountability from their elected government.
The CODE official explained that the organization will be beaming attention on 10 oil hot communities in Rivers State in the net one year and would be working with trained community champion, community stakeholder including traditional rulers, chiefs, community development committee leaders, youth and women group, community development associations, CBOs, NGOs and the media, to improve service delivery in the state through accountability under the Follow the Money Movement.
The to-day training with funding from Ford Foundation covered Data Mining, Stakeholder Mobilization Strategy, Advocacy and Policy Influencing Strategy, and Using Social Media and Radio for Effective Advocacy. Communities considered in need of strong intervention as case studies were also identified by the over 35 participants in two group activities.
Amasenibo Akie Opuene Hart from Bonny Kingdom making a point