Global Day of Citizen Action: Shinkafi demands accountability from leaders

By Cheryl Alegieuno May 18, 2015 16:18

Global Day of Citizen Action: Shinkafi demands accountability from leaders

Dr. Zainab Bagudu-Shinkafi, the Medical Director, Medicaid Diagnostics Radio-Diagnostics, and wife of the Kebbi State Governor-elect has decried the deplorably low level of citizens’ rights awareness and action at the grass roots level, especially as it concerns matters of basic amenities and good governance.

Dr. Zainab, during her address at the Global Day of Citizen Action event, which was commemorated over the weekend, in Abuja, emphasized the importance of educating Nigerians, from the grass roots level up, about their rights and privileges especially on core issues such as education, health insurance amongst others.

This is so that they can rightly demand accountability from those whose responsibility it is to put them in place.

At the event

She cited examples of cases where the average rural Nigerian citizen will rather collect bags of rice and fridges, than demand actual good governance from their leaders because they don’t know any better about how to demand the latter.

The event, which was organised by several rights groups and partnering Non-Governmental Organisations including Project Pink Blue, a non profit Cancer outfit and CIVICUS, a global public awareness campaign around citizen action and “civic space”.

CIVICUS aims to push the concept of “civic space” further, which promotes the freedom of organizations and ordinary citizens to speak out, organize and take action against actions that affect their humanity, without oppression, particularly from those who govern them.

Chido Onumah

Chido Onumah

Chido Onumah, a popular rights activist, journalist and author, who also spoke at the event reiterated the dangers of citizen inertia and emphasized the role that the youths, via new media can play in ensuring that matters of good governance are continuously highlighted, brought to the fore and effectively tackled.

“The elections, for instance, was a good example of how the social media influenced largely, the outcome of the elections. Where some people refer to themselves as ‘social media shapers’, were able to influence decisions in either direction.

“I think that there is a lot of good that can come out of activism using the social media platforms, especially when we understand its power and are able to use it to influence decisions that will benefit us as a nation.”

Major factors militating against civic action, as highlighted at the event included poverty, inadequate/improper legislation, ignorance of existing rights and privileges particularly at the grass roots level.

The resolutions reached included, a continued and unrelenting campaign by all stakeholders to educate and inform citizens on their rights, encourage and support them in raising rights violation issues, and most importantly, sustain the campaign demanding accountability from leaders.