CSOs Should Not Be Confrontational In Driving Change—Charles Abani

By Chigozie Uzosike
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The Chief of Party, Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement, SACE, Charles Abani has said that the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) should not be confrontational in advocating for change, especially from the government.

Speaking to newsmen in Owerri during the workshop that was aimed at strengthening the advocacy-capacity of about 32-35 participants at Rockview Hotel, Abani noted that they are supporting Civil Society Organizations in the Niger Delta, including Imo State to be able to have the capacity to advocate effectively with government for reforms that promote transparency, accountability and good governance.

He noted that there are traditional beliefs of Civil Society Organizations being confrontational, not having to do their research properly or having another agenda, adding that these are challenges SACE is trying to correct by creating forum like this. He posited that change does not necessarily come from confrontation but sometimes partnership, stressing that the mindset that CSOs are corrupt should be addressed.

Abani revealed that those Civil Society Organizations who are advocating on various issues like abandoned capital projects, budgets, effectiveness of Niger Delta Institutions and Participation of Youths, Peace Building in Bayelsa State, People with Disabilities among other issues are part of the workshop, adding that SACE is building on their capacities to advocate effectively with government, giving them skills and competencies that will make them work effective.

He posited that for the CSOs to do this very well, they have to learn new ways of putting together their facts, being clear about their actions and finding entry point to actually engage government constructively on their advocacy issues by asking rightly with a view of bring about change.

Abani hinted that the whole issues of 2.0 Mindset Series was to bring together seasoned Practitioners and Activists to come and share their experiences in a very short forum, stressing that it was an avenue for people to share their strategies and tactics used in achieving results, especially sharing their expectations on what works and what doesn’t work.

He however hoped that the trainings and those who attended the 2.0 Mindset Series will learn and employ all strategies in their various issues-areas. He said that SACE is creating a menu that people can pick from, depending on the issues they are working on to be able to find ways to bringing about results on their issues.

The 2.0 Mindset Series had four panelists in the person of Emeka Ononamadu of CCIDESOR, Dame Chibuzor Oriuwa of Forward Africa, Wisdom Durueke of CLO and Hon. Ken Agbim, member representing Ahiazu Mbaise constituency at the Imo State House of Assembly. They all shared their experiences which were relished by the participants.

In his comments, the Executive Director of CCIDESOR, Emeka Ononamadu called on the CSOs/NGOs to always ensure that the facts they are presenting for advocacy to the government are accurate, factual and that cannot be faulted, adding that once the information is beyond the person receiving the information, the person will accept it for proper advocacy result.