Prof. Akpan Ekpo, Chairman of the Foundation for Economic Research and Training and Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State, has counseled Civil Society Organizations to start vigorously advocating for good governance in Nigeria.
The advise was given by Ekpo, who was the guest speaker at the first annual civil society conference in Akwa Ibom State on Friday in Uyo. The conference was organized by the Center for Human Rights & Accountability Network (CHRAN) and had as its theme, “The Civil Society and Good Governance in a Democracy.”
Prof. Ntiedo Umoren represented Ekpo, who bemoaned the rate of inflation, economic downturns, corruption, violations of human rights, abuse of the rule of law, and other socioeconomic crises plaguing Nigeria. Ekpo urged the civil society organizations (CSOs) to recognize their responsibility to speak up for the impoverished and to work with the government to ensure that at least 80–85% of its citizens have access to the necessities of life.
In order to prevent unusual suffering under democracy, he also emphasized the importance of excellent followership, emphasizing that CSOs and followers must collaborate, oversee, and maintain good governance.
According to the professor, one of the challenges to maintaining good governance is a submissive population. Therefore, the people should demand their rights from governments, which include both political and economic rights.
In his own words: “CSOs must always act as the people’s watchdog, ensuring that the government fulfills its obligations to the people. This covers the rights to housing, food, clothes, health care, and education. A society with impoverished and hungry citizens will never have decent administration. In a democracy, the people need to be given hope by a visionary and transformative leader. It is anticipated that the current Nigerian leadership, with its revitalized hope agenda, will guarantee good governance.
“People need to understand that it is their duty to seek from the government the rights that are both political and economic.
economic circumstances. A certain degree of poverty irritates people to the point where they are unable to demand effective government. They end up powerless.
The conference’s goal, according to Franklyn Isong, Director of CHRAN, Akwa Ibom State, in his welcome speech, is to bring together all members of CSOs, human rights organizations, CBOs, NGOs, and other professional bodies from the South-South for self-evaluation and to develop a plan on how to effectively carry out their core mandate as the Constitution-based watchdogs of democracy.
“The conference is apt,” he added, adding that it would also define the agenda for upcoming national governments. It is occurring at a time when the nation’s new administrations have not yet completely started to carry out their plans for the good of the populace.
Additionally, he urged Governor Umo Eno to focus all of the projects and programs into a small number that, given the funding available, can be completed quickly under his term, beginning with the low-hanging fruit initiatives.