Lagos state civil society coalition (LACSOP) has said that issue of development in Lagos may continue to elude the people except they constructively engage government at all levels and hold them to account. This demand was the key issue raised at the first Lagos state citizens networks capacity strengthening for participation (CINCAPP) interactive assembly which brought in about forty groups to discuss engagement strategy.
The event organised by LACSOP with support from State Accountability and Voice Initiative a DFID intervention programme in Nigeria challenged citizens to support government development strategies through active participation in budget and other legislative processes. Speaking on the need for citizen-government relationship, state team leader of SAVI Mr.
Felix Obanubi stated that much cannot be achieved without citizens as critical stakeholders contribute to the overall development of the society.Obanubi observed that the haphazard development across the country is as a result of citizens remaining indifferent while projects are conceived by government.
“We cannot achieve much when issues affecting the people and their communities are not included in development initiatives” he pointed out.
He noted that the Lagos State Civil Society Coalition (LACSOP) a platform of major civil society networks in Lagos State has committed itself to adding value to development efforts in the State, and since its establishment in 2007 has enjoyed growing relationship with key Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Lagos State Government. Speaking on the milestones in the evolution of LACSOP, Ayo Adebusoye Coordinator of LACSOP explained that the network operates as issue-led partnership, to improve voice and accountability in governance.
Adebusoye said LACSOP has also provided support to Ministry of Local Government (MoLGA) on the Local Government Project Monitoring in all fifty seven LGAs/LCDAs, and constructively participated in legislative process through active representation in public hearings of bill process in particular the public finance management, public procurement, Freedom Of Information (FOI) and, Criminal Law and Tenancy Bills with the Lagos state House of Assembly. One of the key achievements its efforts in strengthening Civil Society participation in government is current civil society input in budget processes in the state.
He also disclosed that LACSOP has successfully partnered key Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the state government to improve responsiveness and accountability in governance in Lagos State In her remarks on the convening of CINCAPP, Mrs. Dede Kadiri a steering committee member of the network explained that the platform was about citizens in Lagos State and geared toward strengthening networks, groups and coalitions to be able to engage government on development issues. She noted that “Citizens participation in government need to be strengthened so as to fully participate in government as an institution” adding that NGOs represent only one fraction of the CSO structure and LACSOP realizes that engaging government from only one social dimension can pose a significant risk to the sustainability of current and on-going programs. Consequently, she said it has become imperative to integrate citizens’ voices more effectively in LACSOP and government programs hence the citizens’ interactive assembly.
By Stanley Acel & Remi Serrano