Sir: The hallmark of democracy is citizens’ participation with a plurality of ideas.
Similarly, accountability and openness are essential ingredients to engender public trust in leaders and governments. Alas these ingredients are scarce, particularly in a climate like ours.
The strong perception against the government about secrecy on project funding and implementation has pushed citizens further apart from those saddled with the responsibility of rendering services.
In protest, many see public service as conduit pipes through which public funds are pillaged but likewise nursed disdain against those elected to serve them. And as long as the citizen is upset with the system, he expands the opportunity unwittingly, for the space to be widened against himself and the good of the public.
Annually, humongous resources are appropriated by the government at all levels for capital projects. Heads of governments at the central and subnational level would, with bowed heads, approach the parliament to lay before them budget estimates with promises tying them to projects through which the people are meant to feel the presence of government and the proverbial democratic dividends.
Many believe that with the revenue from oil and gas, the visible infrastructures across the country today do not correspond with the humongous resources that have passed through our leaders and public officials.
The tell-tale signs are writ large in our size of out-of-school children, poverty, dilapidated education and health infrastructures, especially in our rural communities. What then went missing between the huge financial and budgetary provisions and the miserable condition of the ordinary Nigerian?
Recently, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha delivered on a promise made earlier to promote accountability in governance.
The unveiling of the Presidential Delivery Tracker and Website for the Central Delivery Coordination Unit, CDCU, must be seen as a bold beginning in holding public officers accountable for their responsibilities and the promises made by the government.
There are now clear and measurable channels, through which the citizens can monitor and track government projects across the country. Government should immediately kickstart national awareness around the tracker and its use.
Nigerians need to avail themselves of the opportunity to become the extension of government by being its eyes, which will translate into benefits for the citizenry.
Here, the civil society, media, and traditional and religious institutions have a role to play by showing interest not only in using these trackers but also in becoming the state’s eyes on matters that concern all of us.
• Remi Adebayo is an Abuja-based civil rights activist