A non-governmental body, Ready to Lead Africa, has built the capacity of youths in Ebonyi State on active participation in governance.
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The NGO selected youth volunteers from across the three senatorial districts of the state for the training.
They were trained on the use of technology to deepen democracy and monitor actual fulfilments of promises made to the people during electioneering by Nigeria’s state governors.
The two-day training commenced on Monday in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital.
The project tagged, ‘Follow the Promises’ was aimed at ensuring that every local government area in a state feels the impact of government through fair spread of developmental projects. It is beginning with six pioneer states in Nigeria comprising Ebonyi, Plateau, Gombe, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti and Sokoto.
The project is being executed with funding from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, OSIWA, also referred to as Open Society Foundation.
Speaking to newsmen during the event, the global president, “Ready to Lead Africa”, also known as “Promise Followers”, Godbless Otubure, explained that the organisation has developed a mobile, web application that would help the volunteers track promises and send data to the Organization’s central dashboard in Abuja, Nigeria.
The data he noted would be harnessed to engage the leaders towards peace, good governance and equal opportunities.
Otubure explained: “Ready to Lead Africa” is an ecosystem of emerging young leaders with chapters across the 36 states and the federal capital territory, Abuja and other African countries.
“We also have branches in Canada and the United States of America and a member of the Summit for Democracy Group formed by the US president.
“We work with different countries in promoting peace, accountability and youth participation in governance.
“On this project, we are working with Open Society Foundation, also known as OSIWA.
“Part of what we are trying to achieve is to ensure that we are able to tell Governors where they are erring in terms of spread and execution of projects in their States.
“The goal is to ensure that every local government feels the presence of government.
“Some of the deliverables is to develop a tech platform; a mobile web application which will enable young people follow the promises of government and sending these data straight to our dashboard and our command centre in the FCT.”
“Good-bye to the days when Governors will work only in their local government areas.
Participants including Ifeanyi Mgbebu and Queen Okoche representing Ikwo and Afikpo North local government areas respectively, lauded the group for bringing up the initiative.
They described the training as both enlightening and quite exciting, pledging to employ the skills diligently in holding government accountable.
Mgbebu, who also represented the state team Lead, Azubuike Michael at the event, expressed joy that Ebonyi was chosen as the pilot state in the entire South-east. He described the development as a mark of honour for the state, pledging to make the organization proud.
Speaking on expected challenges, Okoche noted: “first of all, I would say that my people might see it a bit challenging because nobody wants to dare dealing with the government.
“But I also believe in democracy in which people will have to say what they want and hold the government accountable too.
“We will let them understand that we are not reporting the government, but supporting them to ensure that we make a good change in our country.”
The trained youths are expected to raise more volunteers in their various local government areas.