Lagos State Government has called on Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, to be actively involved and contribute to policy-making process in the State, saying that their participation in governance will enable government feel the pulse of the people.
The government promised that the administration of Akinwunmi Ambode would continue to collaborate, build alliances and encourage partnership necessary for successful and easy implementation of programmes and policies in the interest of every residents of the State.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Civic Engagement, Kehinde Joseph spoke on Tuesday at a stakeholders meeting with the CSOs at the Secretariat, Alausa, in Ikeja, Lagos, Southwest Nigeria.
The stakeholders’ meeting was tagged: “Stand up for Someone’s Right Today: Be Your Neighbour’s Watcher.”
He said that the theme was in line with the aspiration of the state government to bring into focus equity, inclusiveness, responsiveness, justice and rule of law in addition to promotion of peaceful co-existence among residents of the State.
Joseph added that gone were the days when government institutions were always at loggerhead with CSOs, stressing that all Non – Governmental Organizations (NGOs), CSOs and the government must now work together in different sphere of governance to ensure effective service delivery to the citizenry, particularly the vulnerable.
“It is the desire of this administration to scale up interaction with your organizations and encourage your participation in the decision making process so as to give a voice to the people,” he stated.
He opined that the already good governance being enjoined in the State could be improved upon if the relationship between government and CSOs was strengthened with a view to enhancing good governance in the State.
“You will recall that His Excellency Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode embraced ‘inclusiveness’ as a policy, so that all could have a say in governance. This participatory approach, it is believed would spring up new initiative, generate trust, and engender vigorous political debate which in turn would enhance good governance and sustainable development in the state” the Special Adviser stated.
While saying that the government alone could not deliver on its mandate without the assistance of necessary stakeholders, Joseph said that CSOs, as voice of the voiceless, should leverage on the advantage they have in calling attention of government to societal ills and by bringing to the attention of the government whenever a breach was observed in any quarter.
“I want to enjoin you to watch your environment, the people and their activities which could be inimical to the wellbeing of the masses and bring such to the attention of the government. This administration strongly believes that with your skills and knowledge you can positively contribute to the desired social change in the state. As ally of the various segments of the populace, you will be doing the government a lot of good if you can at intervals avail the government of the public pulse, so that the government can adjust its policies and programme to meet the challenges of the people” he reiterated.
He maintained that the role of CSOs in political education could not be over- emphasized; hence the need for them to collaborate with government to enhance people’s participation in political process and create awareness on the responsibilities of the citizenry.
The Special Adviser urged CSOs to leverage on the platform of the Office of Civic Engagement to bring their contributions, ideas and suggestions on any matter concerning the state policies and programmes to the attention of relevant government authorities.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Kayode Oguntimehin urged members of the public to continue to have confidence in CSOs, describing them as group individuals that balance the society.
He said that government and CSOs should continue to be partners in progress, advising them to “be good listeners and progressive collaborators”.
The Special Assistant to the Governor on Civil Engagement, Taiwo Aiyedun promised that the state government would continue to engage CSOs in discussions and issues that would move the State forward.
The various CSOs present at the occasion emphasized the need for the state government to be more humane in its developmental strides.
They cited the instance of demolition of shanties across the State and urged the state government to always provide alternative shelter for affected victims of such demolition exercises.
It was also emphasized that the law is prohibiting street hawking and trading enforcement of restriction order on Okada riders and demolition of market across the State be periodically reviewed to meet societal realities.