By Victoria Onehi
Citizens have been urged to engage the government and hold them accountable when they are not fulfilling their obligations.
This call was made by Director-General of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) Prof. Abubakar O.Sulaiman, while speaking on the topic ‘Reassessing Government- Citizen Engagement’ at the conference organised by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) in Abuja on Tuesday.
” For government to know what the challenges are, the duty lies on the people to engage with government on a daily basis. There must be engagement between the inner and the outside structure.
“Also, citizens must understand that the government is not just the executive. The epitome of democracy is the legislature.The legislature are the ones that should truly represent the people.”he said.
Abubukar noted that the Nigerian constitution states that governnmnt should provide for the welfare and security of its citizens hence the people must hold the government responsible for fulfilling this mission.
The Chairman of the Occasion and Minister of Information and National Orientation, Muhammed Idris Maligi who was represented by the Director-General of the News Agency of Nigeria Ali Muhammed Ali said transparency, accessibility has become important for the citizen to be able to engage with the government effectively.
The President of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) Dr Ike Neliaku, noted that the conference was an offshoot of the Citizens Engagement forums held in the six geo- political zones in the country earlier.
He said the Engagements were held to make sure that citizens relate very well with the government adding that this was not going to be a talk show but for government to follow through and engage NIPR through the works of the National Orientation Agency.
The outgoing Chairman of NIPR, FCT chapter Hajiya Maryam Sanusi, said NIPR finds it important to help promote relationship between the citizens and the government.
She said: ” if the citizens are engaged by the government and they understand the policies, they will key into it and own it. So, we find it worthy to bring to light that governance is about the welfare of the people. ” Sanusi said.
At the end of the NIPR conference, the Annual General Meeting of the NIPR FCT chapter was held, and Mr Stanley Ogadigbo was elected the new Chairman of the chapter while Edward Adebanjo was elected Vice chair.