National Association of Seadogs, NAS, in Kwara State has urged citizens to ensure good governance by monitoring governments’ performance and holding elected leaders accountable at all levels.
In a statement signed yesterday by the NAS Chairman in the state, Sir John Agboola, the group noted that, “Recent events in the country have made it especially imperative for broader citizen participation in the affairs of the nation, if they must reap the collective goodwill and aspiration they have invested at the last elections.”
According to him, “it is not enough for the citizens to freely exercise their collective right to choose their leaders as an aspect of self-determination, they must ensure that elected politicians fulfil all aspects of their campaign promises to the people.
He further explained that the statement was in preparation for the group’s 2016 Citizens Summit and Advocacy Campaign. The Kwara State branch, as part of a worldwide body would join the rest of the association on its advocacy campaign.
“The idea of our campaign is to educate Nigerians on how to make our votes count beyond elections. Our leaders must know that our votes count and not mere empty campaign promises. We want to tell Nigerians to join hands to build and develop our beloved country.”
He further explained that the association had planned a road show hinged on the Campaign theme: “Public Accountability and Citizens Participation in Governance” as directed by the headquarters.
He said, in view of the exigencies of its programme and in spite of the political situation of its immediate environment, the association was constrained to issue a statement so that Kwarans would be genuinely educated on its intent.
“We are mindful of the fact that politicians could be touchy on issues of accountability, but it is even more crucial that we reach out to the citizens that they may take up the gauntlet in the fight for good governance. There is no doubt that the citizens have been short changed over the years in terms of campaign promises and its deliveries.
“We want people to know that governments belong to the people; governmental processes belong to the people; and elections belong to the people. There is no democracy without the engagement of citizens. Engagement is thus both a right and a responsibility of citizens in establishing, developing and sustaining democracy.
“For democracy to deliver, citizens must become informed about issues that can improve their lives and they must make concerted efforts to see that government responds to their views. That is the way to hold those in government accountable. This is the import of our present effort.”