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Fostering democratic governance in Bauchi grassroots

By Patience Ogbodo Correspondent, Bauchi

Democracy which has been described as government of the people, by the people and for the people is of paramount importance to all citizens especially those in rural areas in order to improve their standard of living.

It was in view of this that CITAD, a Bauchi-based non-governmental organisation collaborated with RTI/LEAD, a USAID-sponsored project in training people at the local government level on computer study as part of its effort in strengthening democratic local governance in Bauchi State.

The group in its effort to ensure that the rural populace is computer literate embarked on training of over 168 people in computer studies in four local councils of the state, namely Bauchi, NIngi, Katagum and Dass. Local Government staff, Civil society organisations, teachers from these four local councils received training on Microsoft word, excel, power point and use of Internet.

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the presentation of certificates to 85 council staff that were among those trained in computer study, the CITAD Executive director, Mallam Ya’u Zakariya Ya’u said they were motivated to embark on the training to promote democracy at the council level.

He said: “Democracy encourage people to have access to information and local Government is the closest arm of Government for citizens at the grass root, we realized that the LG have very poor documentation system and If you have poor documentation system, there is no way you can provide information, so we decided to train these people at the local government on computer study so that they will apply this computer skills to the process of documentation and therefore build a quality information system at the local Government level.

“For one to be able to promote transparent and accountability, you need information, if local government do not organize these information, they can not be accountable, and there can not  be transparency ,mso we want to make sure that local government have information readily available that they can give to citizens which can promote democracy.

“We have  also train other CSO’s and teachers on computer becuse we taught there is need promote collaboration and partnership between civil society ad Government. So we thought while we are training the Government officials, we should also train the civil society people so that they can speak the same language, they attained the same programme and they have access to the same skills, apart from that we have also utilize our time during the programme to train teachers in both primary and secondary schools in some of the LG as well as staff of the zonal education department in different LG.

Speaking at the certificate presentation ceremony, Zakariya  Ya’u  advised the graduands to effectively utilise the skills acquired during the training saying “As it has been said knowledge gain is knowledge that you have, however if you do not make effective use of that knowledge, it is not necessarily effective knowledge. It is our hope therefore that you will put into practice the skills that you have acquired, the knowledge you have acquired, and the new ideas that you have come across during these past two months of engagement. Its only when you use them effectively that it will bear fruits, and justify the investments your organizations, like LEAD and CITAD have made into putting the programme in place.

“We will like to point out that ICT is a dynamic sector, saver changing. What we have done is to introduce you to some basic ideas and basic skills. It is important that you build the interest to regularly update yourselves so that you can acquire new skills and keep up with the technology as it keeps on changing. We do not think that what we have given you is that you will remain stagnant with. We believe that you continue to periodically update, upgrade, improve, and therefore be at where always with the current ideas and knowledge in the field so that you can derive the maximum benefit in it.

“Technology offers us a lot of potentials to improve governance, to improve citizens’ participation, to improve access to information. As it has been said, one direct benefit is to improve your documentation system.

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