By Shola Ojo
A leading non-governmental organisation working on accountability across Africa, Connected Development (CODE) on Tuesday mobilised and sensitised members of Angwan Shanu community in Kaduna North Local Government Area of Kaduna State on tracking of the constituency projects within their reach.
For about three years now, CODE with the support of the MacArthur Foundation has been working on tracking constituency projects worth billions of naira in selected communities in Kaduna State to promote transparency and accountability in public procurements, especially with regards to constituency projects.
A member of the Community Monitoring Team (CMT), CODE, Asmau Sagir, who championed the meeting at Agwan Shanu Secondary School, told Gobroadsheet on the sideline of the event that the development became necessary to ensure value for money.
According to her, “we are mobilising community people to sensitise and remind some of them about existing constituency projects within their community. This is to encourage them to take ownership of these projects that have been put in place with public resources.
“For example, they need to be a part of the projects from scratch till finish. This is why we are engaging them to understand the budget processes.
“One of the challenges we have discovered within the three years of this project is that people are not naturally interested in monitoring public projects. They are more of asking their political representatives for peanuts which their representatives in turn used as a yardstick for not executing lasting and enduring capital projects.
“On the flip side, through this project, we have seen a lot of people rising to demand accountability. For example, I for one don’t know what government projects are let alone showing interest in monitoring them. But now, I have gained enough to the extent that I now mobilise my community to do the same”, she added.
Chairman, Ward Development Committee on Health who chaired the meeting, Garba Muhammed thanked CODE for building the technical capacity of his community as far as project monitoring and maintenance are concerned.
To him, this kind of programme should be a continuous one whereby “we create awareness and educate residents of Kaduna State” on the need to own projects within their reach.
“We also need to be strategic on how we can be maintaining public facilities in our community. We can do this by having a committee saddled with the responsibility of checking these facilities from time to time to see where there is a need for maintenance and at the same time working with the staff to serve as security to ensure these facilities are not vandalised.
“I don’t have to mention what I’ve been doing but that has influenced others too because they know we are serious-mindedded people and once they see us, they know it is a serious matter’, he added.