By Hamza Ibrahim Chinade.
The Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) in collaboration with the Center for Political Research and Development (CEPORED) have conducted a one day training in Damaturu, the Yobe state capital for Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), Community Based Organizations (CBOs), Faith Based Organizations (FBOs), community leaders as well as citizens on their role in the rebuilding process in the North East and how to use the newly developed platform for reporting cases of corruption, abuses or threat to peace in the region.
Giving an opening remark, the Executive Director of CITAD, Dr. YZ Ya’u noted that the civil society organizations, community leaders and the media need to collectively play an important role in rebuilding the North East region, and non participatory process or efforts often lead to unsustainable development hence the need to involve relevant stakeholders, Ya’u cautioned that people should eradicate the culture of regarding projects as “government-owned” which makes them have no concern for it even where they are expected to help monitor and ensure it’s security. It is a responsibility of everyone to ensure that programmes and projects function because government cannot see everywhere; in essence citizens are the eyes of the government. On the platform developed by CITAD, Dr. YZ Ya’u said “what we intend to do is to create a platform where citizens can report problems, issues, security threats that they see in their communities so that relevant agencies can easily look at the reports and take necessary action, sometimes it is not that the government does not want to take action but because nobody cares to report what is happening, if there are no security alerts, security problems can become magnified”. Ya’u categorically maintained that it is an objective of the gathering that the cost of reporting and the time it takes for people to report is made shorter and virtually at no cost.
The chairman of the occasion Alhaji Tijjani Musa Tumsah who is also the Vice Chairman of the Presidential Committee on North East Initiatives (PCNI) gave an overview of the Planned Interventions for the North East, he began by acknowledging that engagement with CSOs is something that he always cherish because CSOs facilitate development. On PCNI he said it is the apex coordinating body, policy and guidance institution for all interventions coming into the North East, as a result of the insurgency in the region all human development index in the region appears to lag behind. Any intervention that is not owned by the people is not an intervention at all, PCNI is mandated to collaborate, coordinate, communicate and ensure that there is a participatory process for the civil society organizations and all stakeholders in the region, Tumsah added.
Executive Director of CEPORED Dr. Abubakar Sadeeque Abba led the next session on “The Philosophy Behind the Take Action Platform at a Glance”. Take Action Initiative as Dr. Sadeeque put it is a platform of interaction between and among stakeholders in the re-building process especially in the North East and a citizen driven simple technology that addresses the relationship between the government and the governed in terms of policy ownership and implementation processes. He said Take Action Initiative (TAI) is meant to assist in the dissemination of the mission and vision of the Buhari Plan for people to claim ownership and to ensure value for money on all projects implementation.
The platform developed for reporting issues and problems was demonstrated to the participants by Adamu Umar of CITAD who carefully explained all the necessary steps for submitting reports and how they can be submitted. Representative of Director General, National Orientation Agency (NOA) gave an insight on Government-Civil Society Partnership on rebuilding the North East while representative of the Commandant, Nigeria Civil Defense and Security Corps (NSCDC) presented a paper on Tips on working in a Volatile Environment. The last session was facilitated by the Executive Director of CITAD Dr. YZ Ya’u on “The Role of CSOs, Community Leaders and the Take Action Platform in the Rebuilding Process”. After the session, participants engaged in a syndicate interaction where they discussed some anticipated difficulties in their communities or organizations and ways to overcome them. The training was attended by PCNI, NOA, NSCDC, CSOs, CBOs, FBOs, Community Leaders from the six North East states as well as the Media.