At the inaugural assembly of Lagos State Citizens Network Capacity Strengthening for Policy Participation (CINCAPP) held at the Knightsbridge hotel in Ikeja, Lagos, Mr Felix Obanubi, Team Leader, State Accountability and Voices Initiative (SAVI) gave the goodwill message where he welcomed participants, He emphasized the importance of engaging the government in issues identified by citizens as they are critical stakeholders. He encouraged citizens to capitalize on their strength in numbers and speak with one voice as this would make government listen to them.
CINCAPP is all about strengthening citizens, networks, groups or coalitions for effective engagement with government to make real the statement that government is for the people said Dede Kadiri, a steering committee member of Lagos State Civil Society Organizations Partnership (LACSOP).
After her presentation various participants from different organizations raised questions and suggestions which they felt is pertinent to their organizations. The President of the Professional Carpenter and Furniture Makers Association of Lagos State, Mr Anthony Aluko requested that the importation of finished products and the issue of carpenters from foreign countries be looked into as it affects their livelihood. He also talked about the issue of housing as most of them are low income earners. He requested that affordable housing be advocated.
Vincent Attah, a member of Climate Change Partnership, Lagos State, remarked on the accessibility of elected officials and policy documents. It is a herculean task, he said, most times citizens go through unnecessary stress just to see their representative. Another participant from the Community Development Association, Elder Esan urged the forum to consider security as it is a constant source of worry to his group. Another young man participating said youths need to be carried along in the decision making process.
After various requests and suggestions on issues to be scrutinized, Mr Obanubi remarked that the Network is not against the government but seeks to collaborate with them recognizing their limitations. He encouraged partners to suggest projects that the government can implement to improve service which the Network can partner with them on. The Nigerian Bar Association Lagos Chapter General Secretary, Barr. Adegbite said issues being advocated should be publicized so the people can be carried along. He continued by saying the dearth of information in our society needs to be tackled.
The State Chairman, Union of Journalists, Lagos State, Mr. Deji Elemoye commended the initiative and pledge media support for LACSOP in achieving end results of CINCAPP) while other organizations asked to be given time to consult with their organizations. It was agreed that the steering committee will meet in March to continue the laudable initiative started yesterday.
At the end of various other presentations by some LACSOP partners, participants were encouraged not to relent, as this initiative will curb corruption in our society.
By: Remi Serrano & Mayowa Adeniran