CSOs seek citizens’ participation in purposeful governance

Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in the country, have called for citizens’ participation in ensuring purposeful governance and leadership in Nigeria ahead of 2023 election.

The groups, which unveiled Nigeria’s Citizen’Scenario, a projection into the possible developmental trajectory of the country leading to its centenary in 2060, tagged, ‘CS60,’ stressed that the quality and integrity of the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria would lay a foundation for future elections in the country.

Unveiling the CS60 at a virtual news conference monitored in Lagos, the CSOs identified four scenarios that described the picture of Nigeria’s developmental trajectory, which depends largely on the choices that citizens, followers and leaders would make to earn such future.

Leading discussion on this issue, Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Development, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Ebonyi State, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke described the scenarios as ‘memories’ of the future.
Okereke said the scenarios offer a plausible path towards a certain end results.

“As a climate change researcher and policy advocate playing an integral role in understanding how Nigeria could transition to a more sustainable economy, these scenarios lay out the stark choices which 200 million of us would face in the next two generations.
“I hope that Nigerians take note of the potential future that we can shape. The challenge is urgent and we must start immediately,” Okereke said.
Okereke, who is also a co-initiator of CS60 said the scenarios present four alternative futures for Nigeria, which are functions of the choices we make or project into the realisation of Nigeria of our dream.

According to him, the four senarios are Land of hustle (growth at all costs), Green Land (sustainable Nigeria), Land of lost hope (stuck in the rut) and Blood land (war and autocratic growth).

Speaking at the conference, Executive Director, Spaces for Change, Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, who presented the summary of the characteristics of the Land of Hustle, said Nigeria under the Land of Hustle is characterised by a knowledge economy, gradually less dependent on fossil fuels, but unequal growth and free primary and secondary education.

She said the country would also witness slow change in the energy sector, good leadership, accountable and transparent governance, equality before the law and a Nigerian identity with strong cohesion.
Governance, communications and regional development expert, Richard Dion said Nigeria under the Green Land scenario would experience inclusive growth driven by enterprise, community and industrialisation.

Dion said there would be successful transition to green energy, equal access to education, reliable energy supply and resistance when powerful groups and individuals worry of losing their privileges.

According to him, citizens engagement is strong with rapid urbanisation and high stress on services.

Country Director, Accountability Lab, Nigeria, Mr. Friday Odey, said Nigeria would remain democratic, but tainted with corrupt governance under the scenario of the Land of lost hope.

Odey said that there would be fast growing population with the citizens experiencing great disillusion.

He said the scenario creates a picture of enormous brain drain, marked by a weak economy and an undermined middle class.

Other characteristics of the scenario include high poverty, dependence on hydrocarbons, nonfunctional services with high numbers of out-of-school children.

He added that electrification would cover 60 per cent of the country’s population under this scenario.

In his presentation, Executive Director, BudgiT Foundation, Mr. Olusegun Onigbinde, described the Blood land scenario as one characterised by authoritarian rule, factionalism and separatist agitation.

Onigbinde explained that under this scenario, the judiciary would be far from being independent and is also characterised by high unequal growth in the economy.

He said under this scenario, there would be weak action on climate change, continued use of oil and rapid urbanisation.


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