Why Active Citizens Should Begin to Organize; Taraba & Gombe as Case Study! -Ishola Adebayo

April 6, 2018

The beginning of good governance which is the responsibility of all arms and all the tiers of government is openness, engagement and transparency. It does not matter what else we try to do as long as one arm of government shrouds its activities, administration and management in opaqueness and practices rife with corruption. Only very little, if anything at all, can be achieved in putting Nigeria on the path of sustainable and enduring democratic system, development and progress if Nigerian politicians continue with this trend.

It is no more news that, the member of the House of Representatives representing Bali/Gassol federal constituency from Taraba State in the lower legislative chamber, Garba Hamman was pelted with stones last week by his constituents for allegedly abandoning them for two years only to show up to present a car and motorcycles to a few people.

In a similar vein and still on this trajectory of angry attack from constituents in the last few days, Joshua Lidani, the Senator representing Gombe South was held hostage by protesting members of his constituency. The protesters demanded answers to why he had abandoned them for ages, only to 'sneak into town' on Monday, April 2nd.

Governance without engagement they say will be a mockery of democracy. The angry youths in Taraba already vowed not to reelect Garba Hamman Julde in 2019. It is in the light of this agonizing experience and demands by active citizens that they should begin to continually engage with their elected public officials constructively.

Active Citizens’ can identify and engage with their representatives by texting ‘SYE’ & the ‘Polling Unit Number (top left corner of your voters card) to 20050. Example: Send SYE 24/10/07/03 to 20050; citizens immediately get the contact details of their federal lawmakers through the mobile phone number as an SMS or even visit www.shineyoureye.org.

Citizens can also recall their legislators if dissatisfied with their conduct and performance. Visit: bit.ly/RecallProcess to understand how to recall your legislator.

Rather than result to unrest and heating up the polity, Active Citizens’ should begin to organize themselves in a more civil manner and not agonize. Engage with your elected representatives through Phone Call, SMS, Email or Town Hall Meetings, recall lawmakers when dissatisfied with their representation and performance.

By so doing, we will be breeding a community of concerned and active citizens which is essentially what Nigeria requires for social justice and equity to prevail.
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