Key labour and civil society groups across the country on Monday converged on Abuja to launch a Campaign for Transformative Governance as a response to bad governance in the country.
The initiative is a joint labour and civil society advocacy and campaign programme to influence radical change in government policies, processes, and institutions at all levels towards achieving transformative governance that delivers on public services, and provision of basic needs of citizens.
The groups included the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), and the Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON) among others. Civil society organisations that are also part of the initiative include Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), and the Environmental Rights Action, among others.
Giving the background on why the initiative is necessary, the groups said that the Nigerian government at all levels has failed to meet the socio-economic and welfare needs of Nigerians because of the lack of political will power and commitment.
They said that the economic, social and security outlook in the country gets worse by the day with the state becoming more repressive and intolerant of the views that challenge or criticize the actions or inactions of the government.
They also frowned at the ranking of Nigeria, despite its enormous and vast resources, among the poorest countries in the world.
General Secretary of the Federation of Informal Workers of Nigeria (FIWON), Comrade Gbenga Komolafe said that Nigerian citizens are in search of a transformation that will make the nations’ institutions work for everybody. He said that Nigeria is confronted with several challenges the biggest of which is insecurity, which he blamed on the Nigerian government.
He insisted that the government is culpable for all the crimes going on in the country because governors and lawmakers have been accused and linked to arming thugs to terrorize people to win elections and then find it hard to retrieve the arms after elections. What Nigeria and Nigerians are experiencing now are a direct result of all these.
The solutions however are an active citizenship that is aware of its citizenship and readiness to confront these evils headlong.
Affiliate of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) – the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, was represented by its General Secretary, Comrade Martins Egbanubi said that citizens of Nigeria have suffered so long and must now join forces together through a pan Nigerian movement irrespective of ethnic and religion. He explained that Labour and CSO have worked together before to chase the military from power and must now do the same again to liberate Nigeria.
According to him, the concept of transformative governance is what will address the disconnect, social exclusion of the youth and inequalities that have made Nigeria what it is today.
Comrade Jaye Gaskya of Praxis Center, co-Convener of the Campaign, said: the transformative governance campaign has been established to reverse the negative trend and downward spiral, adding also, that there is need for a robust and expansive civic space where the right to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of association is guaranteed.
The three thematic areas of the campaign are: Ensuring accessible and effective public service delivery; Enabling political education of citizens for transformative governance; and Promoting and enhancing human security as a panacea to the endemic insecurity in the country and ravaging poverty and devastating conditions of the people.