The Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group in collaboration with Oxfam in Nigeria organized a training workshop on Strategic Partnership for influencing through the Theory of Change (TOC) model as encapsulated in the Financing for Development’s Program (SPP-I) that is being implemented in Nigeria by Oxfam, NDEBUMOG, CISLAC, Budgit and Kebetkache. This training was to empower community stakeholders at the grassroots for fiscal influencing and responsive governance. Participants were drawn from Enugu, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and the FCT, Abuja. The workshop was geared at mobilizing community stakeholders to be proactive at playing active roles in community development processes, acquaint community stakeholders of the importance for demonstrable inclusiveness in the fiscal processes through the use of factsheets and other tools for mobilization of women for community development.
The Chief Executive Officer of Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group, Dr. George-Hill Anthony welcomed participants to the training and advised them to make use of the knowledge to be gained to influence and hold political representatives accountable to do what is right for the development of their communities. He informed participants that the event is possible through the support of Oxfam in Nigeria’s Financing for Development (F4D) initiative, under the Strategic Partnership Programme across various countries globally, including Nigeria, which envisages to create sustainable impact, whereby; more Nigerians, especially women, are empowered to participate in decision making, contribute to nation building as active citizens and benefit from better living standards through increased availability of essential services. He added that, similarly at the long-term, the outcome projected to be achieved is to create a situation of improved policies and practices of government and private sector that shall result in reduced poverty and extreme inequality through effective and efficient management of Nigeria’s tremendous resources and increased citizen participation through 5 pathways to change, namely; Improved Policies of Government, Improved Policies of Private Sector, Strengthened CSOs, Increased Citizens’ Voice, and finally, building Stronger and wider Alliances. The beneficiaries are mainly the Nigerian people, workers, CSOs, local communities, market women, small scale farmers, artisans, traders, local governments, Ministries Departments and Agencies of government (MDAs), the private sectors, among others. He concluded by urging participants to pay attention and be active participants.
Dame Nnamani Patricia, on behalf of participants from Enugu State thanked the Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group, NDEBUMOG, for the presentation of the life insurance cover for some stakeholders from Enugu State as promised during an earlier training that was facilitated by NDEBUMOG under the SPP’s Phase I for Enugu Stakeholders. She encouraged participants to take training seriously.
Hon. Yong Austen, Convener of Police Community Forum (PCF) encouraged participants to work as a team in carrying out advocacy programmes for inclusive budget, monitoring and evaluation activities and to always connect civil society organization (CSOs) as a bridge to make sure that fiscal processes are well structured for the benefits of the poor and vulnerable citizens in society. Oxfam representative, Mr. Celestine Okwudili Odo also spoke around similar objectives but conveyed greetings to stakeholders present at the event from Oxfam in Nigeria.
Below are resolutions adopted by participants during the workshop:
v Participants insist on the need for the government to collaborate with various groups, including communities, civil society organizations and the media to carry out public awareness, social media campaigns to press home the need for government to complete abandoned projects that littered across the country, especially, projects that have direct bearing to the realization of the SDGs by 2030.
v Participants called for community folks to protect social infrastructural projects, which are located at various communities and also take responsibility for ownership, instead of treating such projects and infrastructure as no man’s belongings.
v Participants urge the citizens to pay their taxes promptly to attract development but warned against diversion of public funds by some politicians for other purposes that are not beneficial to the common good of the people.
v Participants agreed to ask questions and speak out when projects sited at their communities are not properly executed.
v Participants frowned about some traditional rulers and community leaders, who compromised by collecting kick backs at the detriment of their community’s good, leaving projects for the benefits of such communities undone.
v Participants advocated for community- government (town hall) interface before budget preparations each year.
v Participants called for a review of government fiscal policy policies to checkmate unnecessary wastages and frivolous expenditures.
Participants commended Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Group and Oxfam in Nigeria for the training and urge both to spread the benefits of the training to other communities not present.
Nsefi Uduak Umoh Akwa Ibom State
Ogunka Junior Rivers State
Adeyemi Folake Titilayo Delta State
Dame Nnamani Patricia Enugu State
Pastor Edet Raymond NDEBUMOG/State Supritendent-Akwa Shadow Budget Groups