A non-governmental organisation, Electoral Integrity Protection and Democratic Participation and Accountability Project, through its sub-set, “Follow The Promises”, has trained 31 youths drawn from the 31 local government areas of Akwa Ibom State as project coordinators.
The two-day training which held on Thursday and Friday at EEMJM Hotels and Suits, Dominic Utuk Avenue, Uyo, was aimed at equipping the coordinators with knowledge and skills needed to track government projects in communities within the state.
Speaking on the essence of the project, ” Follow The Promises”, the Global President At Ready To Lead Africa, Mr. Godbless Otubure, said it was conceived to increase citizens’ participation in governance so they could follow the promises made by candidates during campaigns.
He said as a child of circumstance, “Follow The Promises” was also conceived to galvanize the young people from within their own communities to ensure that realization of campaign promises would not just be seen in one or a few local government areas, but in all.
He explained that the training had become necessary to enlighten citizens, particularly those selected, that electioneering is a process that does not end at voting, but includes holding government accountable to the promises it made when seeking votes.
The Global President At Ready To Lead Africa stated that the project which would hold in six states of the federation reflecting the six Geo-political Zones of Nigeria as a pilot scheme, would in future be replicated across all the 36 states in Nigeria.
“ This project is called“Follow The Promises”which is a sub-set of Electoral Integrity Protection and Democratic Participation and Accountability. Akwa Ibom State is the fourth state we have visited, training one promise follower per local government area.
“ The goal of this project is that we don’t want government to only focus on one, two or three projects in three local government areas and say they have performed in the state. Every local government must have government presence. That is how development works. That is how “Follow The Promises”works. It’s a combination of civic technology, people and accountability”.
Mr. Otubure who explained that the project would only focus on promises made by state governors in the pilot states, said this would be made possible, as the NGO was leveraging on technology which had led it to develop a Mobile Application where Nigerian citizens all over the world would use to watch whatever government developments going on in their communities real time.
He further said the project was unique and novel in Nigeria, in view of the fact that citizens would not have to wait for their state governors to complete their tenure before performance evaluation, but such evaluations would be done daily through information and details of projects that would be posted on the Mobile App by the local government coordinators.
On the composition of the coordinators, the Global President At Ready To Lead Africa disclosed that they were selected based on the previous assignments given to them which they proved excellent, as well as the fact that they all reside in their local government areas.
He said“Follow The Promises” had developed a template where at the end of every year, states would be ranked based on how they fulfilled their campaign promises, saying the NGO would not encourage any investment in states that would perform poorly.
Speaking to journalists after the training, Udung Uko“Follow The Promises” project coordinator, Mr. Robert Offiong, said the training had empowered him with skills and opportunity to watch and follow- up Governor Umo Eno’ campaign promises to his people in Udung Uko LGA.
He therefore, promised to do his best to hold government accountable to the people by following up on all projects that would be executed within his area of assignment.
Another coordinator from Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, Divine Simeon, told news men that the training had opened her eyes to realise that following up on government projects was her constitutional right which she regretted had been ignorantly neglected.
The Ikot Abasi Local Government coordinator therefore, expressed commitment to the task given to her, while pledging never to fail her people and the NGO.