Founder of KIND, Mrs. Afusat Abiola-Costello
By Sunday Okobi
In its determination to bridge the gap between government and the governed in Ogun State, the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (KIND), a non-governmental organisation in collaboration with the state government last weekend in Abeokuta launched a Community Engagement and Public Participation Project (PPP) to fully involve the grassroots in governance.
The essence of the pilot project meant to run for 18 months in eight local government areas in the state, is basically to create better communities within the state, to give them the dividends of democracy and also create a platform for dialogue to reduce violence in the society.
The Founder of KIND, Mrs. Afusat Abiola-Costello, who doubles as the Special Adviser to the state Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, on Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), revealed that the project would assist in reaching out to the public in their various communities to know what they feel as well as rate their leaders in terms of performance.
She noted that through public participation, the people would have access to talk to those in power with a view of making them accountable to the citizens.
Executive Director of KIND, Emy Oyekunle, who explained the modus operandi of the project, lamented that reports on programme implementation at the local community level indicated that accountability and citizens’ access are below expectation.
She revealed that the combination of a top-bottom approach of working with policy makers, with a bottom-up approach of working with communities, provided the opportunity for citizens and communities to demand for better leadership, accountability and transparency.
Oyekunle opined that if the electorate have greater access to information about allocation of public resources and the increased
channels for public participation, “deciding priorities will improve
She disclosed that the project was targeting 84 members of targeted local government areas, 120 representatives of community based organisations including civil society organisations and women’s group. “The selected council officials would be trained on what they need to do and the community representatives would be trained on their rights from state government. After that there would be a report that would be made available to state government. It is just to engage and train them on good service delivery to build platform of trust between the state government and the governed, to ensure good governance in a nutshell,” she stated.
The Executive Director noted that the pilot project was limited to a
few local councils due to limited resources, both financial and human resources, adding that the council areas mentioned are core rural areas that need to feel the impact of the state government.