CITAD, CSOs, traditional rulers demand accountability from incoming administration

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21 civil society organizations (CSOs), under the umbrella of “Joinbodi”, have said that the incoming administration should be accountable to the electorate for Nigeria to join the league of developed nations. 

At the launch of a research report and conference on political accountability and elections in Nigeria, the CSOs and traditional rulers said that the issue of accountability in governance has been the bane of Nigeria’s democracy and must be tackled if the country is to develop. 

Speaking at the event Monday in Abuja, the Secretary General, Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternative (WRAPA), Hajiya Saudatu Mahdi, said that the launch of the report is critical in order for the incoming administration to be guided on fulfilling the mandates of their offices as executive officers and National Assembly members. 

“The launch of the research report was supposed to hold before the 2023 general elections, but was postponed as a result of unforseen circumstances. However, it is important that it is happening now before the swearing-in of the executives, National Assembly and states house of assembly members. 

“It’s a week to the handover date, so we want to call the attention of the incoming political actors to what is expected of them. As “Joinbodi”, we have created a cohort to hold the duty bearers accountable to the people who elected them, especially the executive and legislative arms of government. We are to speak to the incoming government and to chart the way forward for the development of the country,” she said. 

Also speaking, the Africa Director, MacArthur Foundation, Dr Kole Shettima, said that the research report launch is important in order to move the country forward. 

“At MacArthur Foundation, the pillars of our work border on holding government accountable at all times. We work more on accountability and behaviorial change. This is why we sponsor investigative journalism. As Nigerians, we always complain that Nigeria is bad, but when we get the opportunity, we do bad things ourselves. Therefore, the research report is a very serious journey that must be implemented, otherwise all of us will suffer as a country,” he said. 

In his keynote address, former Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) commissioner, Prof. Okey Ibeanu, said that media organizations, CSOs and traditional rulers are just as important as INEC in ensuring the accountability of elected officials. 

He said: “Political accountability has gained global significance because of awareness creation by several developing countries. There is a great affinity between democracy and accountability. The demand is for political officials to be responsive to the people. A major tenet of political accountability is that the leaders are answerable to the people for their actions and inactions while in office.

“However, if the demand side of political accountability is flawed, the supply side will also be flawed, including the INEC, CSOs, media and other stakeholders that are supposed to supervise elections. Therefore, stakeholders must come together to hold political leaders accountable if we’re to progress as a nation.”

Glonat Newsonline reports that the 21 CSOs that make up “Joinbodi” include WRAPA, SERAP, CITAD, CISLAC, PLAC, IRIAD, HEDA Resource Center, NOIPolls, CODE, CHRICED, Public and Private Development Centre, ARDP.

Others are Shehu Musa YarAdua Foundation, BudgIT, Social Action, Partners United, AFRICMIL, Community Life Project and MacArthur Foundation.