Become a Governance Advocate for your State in Nigeria
For several years, Nigeria was referred to as a country in transition to democracy. Its history of long rule of military dictatorships and short interludes of democratic governance has previously defined citizen’s reactions and engagement with government. The history of militarized governance has also impacted the understanding of institutional functioning under democratic rule. The 2015 elections were also a moment of paradigm shift in political participation and civic engagement by the Nigerian polity. During the elections, citizen-led accountability efforts to ensure a free and fair election was widespread on social media, as well as physical monitoring of votes collation at polling units. Never before in recent history have Nigerians shown the commitment to protect their votes, not through violence or rioting, but in collating and sharing of electoral evidence, engaging public officials on different media and formation of grassroots, on-the-ground efforts. As we approach a new election year, governance institutions will continue to face immense pressure to perform as expectations from the Nigerian citizenry are very high.
There are several factors fueling these expectations, the most important is the demographic bulge in Nigeria, where over 62.5% percent of the national population is under the age of 24. Interestingly, military dictatorship ended in 1998 when over 60% of the current Nigerian population was merely 8 years old. The polity that the current administration is engaging from May 29, 2015 has little or no memory of military rule. They have witnessed the powers of citizen propelled revolution from the Arab spring, the end of former military dictators in Africa and voted out an incumbent president. The Nigerian polity is changing and will demand accountability, effective and efficient service delivery and a government responsive to citizens demands.
This newly found political awareness is occurring in tandem with increasing rates of unemployment, a dearth of basic infrastructures in several states and wide-spread civil unrest in the Nigerian Northeast with increasing spread across the country. Added to these deprivations is a high level of poverty, whose effects and implications for national security, social coherence, and governance is quite grave. Therefore, political office holders and administrators of public service delivery agencies will need to creatively engage with development challenges that will impact on the capacity for governance. This is especially critical in a polity heated by wide-spread dissatisfaction with political institutions and frustrations from deprivations they experience daily. It is in response to the need to find new ways of thinking on already occurring and anticipated development and governance challenges that informs Enyenaweh’s new program for state governance advocates across Nigeria. Our goal is to support evidence based policy-making, improve civic engagement between policymakers and citizens and provide solutions for inclusive and equitable socio-economic development and governance in Nigeria.