It is no more news that young people are taking leadership responsibility to demand for government accountability especially in the areas of budget tracking, implementation and social audit to ensure that budgets are channeled to benefit citizens at the local government level. As a matter of fact, young change makers are recording successes in demanding accountable leadership at the local level, and ensuring sustainable development in their communities.
It is a known fact that a large percentage of young people in Nigeria know little about the federal and state budgets but when it comes to the Local Government level, they are either not aware of its existence or how it translates to the development of society at the local level. It becomes imperative for citizens to mobilise themselves and take the lead to demand accountability by tracking fiscal policies and asking the right questions on their implementation. Young change makers have taken the primary step of social mobilisation, which allows people to take & understand their situation, organise and take action using their own initiative and creativity.
For instance, Young change makers in Bauchi state are officially recognized by the Bauchi state universal Primary Education Board and the Local Government Education Authority as third party monitors to track the construction and renovation of classrooms in Dass LGA and send reports on its implementation before final payments are made to the contractors. The contributions of citizens in various communities cannot go unnoticed with major strides in ensuring the contractor of an abandoned health care center at Shelleng Local Government area of Adamawa state returns back to work.
Another batch of 36 young change makers from 18 Local Government Areas spread across five states of Adamawa, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Kogi, Plateau and Abuja joined in carrying out oversight functions towards open & accountable governance in the fight against corruption. Thus more Young people have taken up responsibility to intensify the fight against corruption through social audit, budget tracking and implementation.
With capacity training support from non-state actors like YIAGA AFRICA’s Bounce Corruption and support of state actors like Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), community of youth tracking budget spending is expanding. As captured by Hon. (Mrs.) Hannatu Mohammed, Pharm, Board Member of ICPC, “well-meaning young people of today have shifted to the fast lane of positive change, they have simply placed themselves on the platform of relevance in the corridors of impact”.
Similarly, citizens have been advised to identify and engage with existing structures in the community to build trust and shared commitment. Speaking during the second batch of capacity training, participants were also reminded that Social accountability is basically, organising the community for impact to the benefit of the people because individuals can only draw attention to issues, but change-making takes community efforts.
For change makers to effectively analyse the budget, they observed trends over a period of time, compared cost of implementing the project/initiative while understanding the population and allocation base on LGAs including per capita income. The team during the training was also reminded by Yiaga Africa head of Governance and Development that, to ensure good governance & development, we are building stronger community engagements & change makers such as yourselves to champion these objectives in your local community. He said, sustainable development is anchored on collaborative efforts and support to government institutions. “To ensure good governance & development, we are building stronger community engagements & change makers such as yourselves to champion these objectives in your local community”, he charged the young change makers.