Nigerians have been called to take the political office holders to task with verifiable evidences.
The call was made by Mrs. Dede Kadiri, a trainer and human rights activist at a capacity building training for social groups and networks recently in Lagos under the Strengthening Citizens Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C).
Organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) with the support of UKAid and ActionAid Nigeria, the workshop provided a good training environment for journalists and civil society groups.
Facilitating sessions at the event, Kadiri, a consultant for DataFactory; a social group that makes sense of data and useful for planning, action and development via comprehensive data analysis, infograph, strategic report writing, said Nigeria has come a long way and people in government must be accountable to the people.
The workshop which centred so much on Social Audit as a tool of engagement was an eye opener for the participants drawn from various civil society groups and the media.
“Nigeria is evolving and voice is needed to express what Nigerians really need. Social Audit is one of the many tools. It only takes us in that direction social audit not only teaches people to speak up, it also teaches people to speak up with evidence and now we are in an era where evidence is so important,” Kadiri said.
Talking further about budget, she enjoined journalists to take advantage of the opportunity to ask questions to getting to the roots of salient issues.
“People now talk about budget and procurement and this is a good opportunity for journalists to catch up with the train and make a difference. Journalists are the voices of Nigerians to be able to project the real needs much more clearly and engage in storytelling.”
On the activity of civil society groups in fighting alongside the masses, Kadiri, who noted the hard work of the civil society right from the dark days of military dictatorship said, “The civil society has been working hard since the military era just like the journalists to see a healthy combination to see the civil society and the media in the same direction.“
She also enjoined the duo of civil society and the media to team up properly to effect the needed change in the society by taking government to task through verifiable data.
“Civil society groups have an opportunity to fine tune so that together with journalists we can make a better impact towards development. And especially on the part of the communities, the people are at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to developmental projects,” she said.
Feeling the pulse of the downtrodden who are always at the receiving end of corruption, Kadiri said the collaboration of the media and civil society would benefit the communities.
“Especially on behalf of the various communities who are at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to the issues of developmental projects, if the communities work together with the civil societies and the journalists you would see what would happen.
“If we recognise that we come from a militarized era, Nigerians have not really been accustomed with speaking up, even our upbringing stops you from speaking to people you feel are better than you assume a position that affects everyone, it affects the private and public sectors it affects the communities that is why it is good to help people learn what they can speak up for to boost their confidence you have to be confidence to speak up at every point,” she said.