By Ayo Ajayi
As Nigerians basked in the euphoria of the 60th Independence Anniversary of the country, some concerned individuals and groups are asking if the nation is truly independent, laying emphasis on the disconnects between the government and the governed which has led to the militancy approach to solving issues of governance.
One of such concerned Nigerians is Professor Francis Adelade Fakoya of the Makeoverng.org, a non-governmental and not-for-profit organisation with the view of making Nigeria better by charging the current generation to bequeath a better Nigeria to the coming generation.
At its recently organised teleconference, Professor Fakoya, who is the Petition convener of the group revealed the intent of the organisation and the approach through which they aim to achieve her vision which is ‘a Nigeria, governed by the needs of the people through the rule of law.’
“The primary focus in achieving this is the petition which is displayed electronically, applying technology as a means to involve Nigerians in the process of governance in their states.
“So, to facilitate this process, we have developed a means to gather 2.5million signatures which will amount to 1% of the Nigerian population estimated to be around 200million today.
“The intent is to submit this petition endorsed by this number of Nigerians, home and abroad to the National Assembly, and when this is done, they will have enough conviction to amend and make this a constitutional duty of the executives. So the petition is titled: Feedback from our Nigerian Executives,” Fakoya explained.
The convener explained further that despite the 20 years of democratic rule, the mind-set of the typical Nigerian, both the followers and the rulers is still that of militancy. He decried the confrontational, violent and destructive approach to the intents of those in governance. This, according to him, often led to the loss of innocent lives and destruction of property as those in governance would unleash law enforcement agencies.
He also called on those in government not to wield power as though they are doing the people a favour. “We are the ones that elected them, so the power that they wield is the power of the people. They derived their power from our collective togetherness. So, if we give them power, we also have the right to demand from them, how they are using that power. Feedback is the right of the people to know and not doing them favour,” he added.
Professor Fakoya highlighted the benefits of feedback in governance to include the involvement of the electorates in expressing their views about how they are being governed, which, he said, would remove a lot of mistrust, fake news and rumours.
In his own submission, the Chief of Promotions and Vice-Chancellor of Trinity University, Lagos, Professor Charles Ayo described the exercise as an intellectual approach using sanity towards making the government responsive and accountable to the people.
He queried the need for Nigeria to be a member of the Open Governance Initiative since 2016 when in the real sense of things; nothing is open or participatory in governance.
“This is not a revolution but we are simply saying that they should take us into consideration whenever policies concerning our common existence and dividends of democracy are being discussed. The government should see us as partners in progress,” he said.
He stated that the organisation has secured the partnership of the National Association of Nigerian Students and the National Youth Council of Nigeria, noting that both associations have taken the initiative as a welcome development.
While commending the Petition Convener, Professor Ayo expressed delight that the e-petition platform being initiated was as a result of the town and gown collaboration to implementing one of the many researches left on the shelves. “I want to specially commend the effort of Professor Fakoya for finding one of our research publications worthy of this and this is what brought us together.”