Group commences citizens’ engagement on constituency projects
Civil Society warns against more powers, immunity for lawmakers
An online publication, OrderPaper.ng, has commenced a programme on citizens’ engagement to engender monitoring of constituency projects embarked upon by members of the national and state Assemblies in the country.
The project, which is supported by USAID’s Strengthening Advocacy and Civic Engagement (SACE) programme, would be deployed for several months. It would comprise series of advocacy and engagement activities involving a wide range of stakeholders that include members of the Senate and House of Representatives; states Houses of Assembly, as well as ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs)
It would also involve Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Community Based Organisations (CBOs), the media and members of the public.Publisher/Executive Director of OrderPaper.ng, Oke Epia, described the initiative as timely, appropriate and necessary for inclusiveness, transparency and accountability in the implementation and monitoring of constituency projects.
He said the project would trigger and sustain citizens’ interest to engage their representatives and participate in constituency projects across the country.
“The project intends to deploy a viable, versatile and verified authentication platform for cross sectorial interfaces along stakeholders chain.
“The implementation of this project will go a long way to engender correct understanding of constituency projects in senatorial districts, federal and state constituencies and ultimately trigger a nationwide appreciation of the scheme and organised call for reforms,” he said.
Meanwhile, the African Centre for Leadership Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) has cautioned against giving more powers to members of the National Assembly in the ongoing constitution review.
Its Executive Director, Motive Igbuzor, who spoke at a one day strategy meeting of civil society organisations (CSOs) on the constitution review process noted that moves by the lawmakers to grant themselves immunity and greater powers should be resisted.
He argued that moves by members of the National Assembly and its principal officers to grant themselves powers to override the President Veto on any Bill of national importance was dangerous for governance.
Igbuzor warned that if the proposals get the required two-third votes of the 36 states assemblies of the country, the National Assembly would be too strong for the executive and judiciary to check.
“The issue is of concern to us because we know that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We are concerned because in 1999 when the National Assembly started, their budget was in the region of N19 billion. Today, it is N125 billion. So, that is why we are concerned and there is need to address these concerns,” he added.