NATIONAL DIALOGUE: CIVIL SOCIETY SETS AGENDA
Ahead of the forthcoming National Dialogue, over one hundred Civil Society Organisations in Nigeria converged in Abuja on Wednesday 5 February 2014, and declared support for the initiative, even as they drew an agenda for consideration.
The participants drawn from all parts of the country under the aegis of Civil Society Partnership for Development in Nigeria (CSPDN) brainstormed and passed far-reaching resolutions.
According to a 12-point Communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, signed by the CSPDN National Chairman, Dr. Uzodinma Adirieje; Chairman, Communiqué Drafting Committee, Mr. John Akuse; and six other CSOs representatives (one from each of the six geopolitical zones), the third Sector representatives articulated several points which they consider very critical for the continued existence and progress of the country.
Among the issues considered for deliberation are: widespread corruption in the country, injustice and violation of laws; fundamental rights, gender equity and protection of children and vulnerable groups; citizens' participation in governance; peace and social security, as well as health and human capital development.
Others are: youth mobilization, involvement in governance and political violence; transparency and equity in resource allocation; removal of immunity clause protecting some public officers in criminal matters; effective implementation of federal character to be inclusive of residents of every state and merit-based appointments across the country; review of the country's governance structure, among others.
While appreciating the Federal Government for the inclusion of the Civil Society in the Confab, participants unanimously agreed that the 24 slots availed Civil Society Organisations in the country are grossly inadequate, considering the critical role they play as the third sector of the economy.
Continuing, they called on the National Assembly to ensure that the decisions of the Conference are given legal effect through integration into the ongoing constitutional amendment.
Highlights of the consultative meeting were the setting up of nine Technical Working Groups (TWGs) covering the identified critical areas and the nomination of twenty-four Civil Society representatives for the National Dialogue through a transparent democratic process.
Commenting on the proceedings of the meeting and selection process of Civil Society representatives, Chairman of the Communiqué drafting committee, Mr. Austin Osakwe described it as transparent and urged other sectors of the economy to learn from the third sector.
Some of the Civil Society Organisations present at the meeting are: Afrihealth Optonet Association; Media Initiative Against Injustice, Violence and Corruption- MIIVOC, Women Rights to Education Programme, Last Born Humanity and Development Foundation, African Child Social Empowerment Centre, Citizens Center for Integrated Development & Social Rights-CCIDESOR, Advocacy Initiative for Rural Mobilization and Upliftment and International Centre for Women & Child development.
Others include: Rural Women & Youth Development and Borno State Network for Peace, Center For Integrated Development And Social Rights, Ashbet Initiative, Body And Soul NGO, Habitat Care And Protection Initiative, Poverty In Africa Alternative (POVINAA), Initiative For Community Development, Lion's Pride Children Initiative, Initiative For Grassroot Advancement (Ingra), Universal Agricultural Empowerment And Development Initiative, Youth Track Millennium Development Initiative, Social Welfare Network Initiative, Social Welfare Network Initiative, Lastborn Humanity and Development Foundation, Education as a Vaccine, Civil Resource Development and Documentation Center, Live Healthy Organization, Growing Businesses Foundation, Women's Right To Education Programme, Advocacy Initiative for Rural Mobilization And Upliftment, Advocacy Initiative For Rural Mobilization, Foundation For Family Valves and Health Orientation and Empowerment, Shinning Status Women and Youth Initiative,
Street Of Diamond Children/Women Health Care, David Mark Bonaventure Initiative, Poverty and Associated Maladies Alleviation Initiative (PAMAI), among others.