- Yiaga Africa has yet again proven to be the forerunner of a pro-democratic political environment as it has launched a new initiative
- The civil society group said there is a need to start unlocking the potential and importance of democracy at the local level
- Nigerian states like Lagos and Sokoto were selected to kick start the initiative as a platform to educate citizens at the local level ahead of the 2023 general elections
Foremost election observation group and civil society organization, Yiaga Africa has launched the People's Assembly to promote public deliberations at local government levels, Legit.ng reports.
According to a statement made available to Legit.ng, the director of programs, Yiaga Africa, Cynthia Mbamaku said the move was an effort to reposition democracy in the sight of citizens and also bridge the gap between citizens and the government.
Mabamalu said the formation of the initiative will also help foster a truly defined equal participation of diverse groups through debates and consensus-building on issues affecting respective communities to inform governmental actions and policies in selected local governments.
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“The People's Assembly is a form of deliberative democracy tool that promotes the culture of public deliberation amongst the people. It promotes equal participation of diverse groups through debates and consensus-building on issues affecting respective communities to inform governmental actions and policies in selected local governments.
“The commencement of this initiative at the local government level is borne from the recognition of the importance of democratic governance at the level of government closest to the people. The People's Assembly leverages existing structures representing different interest groups in the LGA who deliberate on issues and present their recommendation to Local Government Officials for implementation.”
2023: Yiaga Africa hits LGAs in Lagos, Sokoto to commence new initiative
Yiaga Africa commenced its engagement on the People's Assembly in three Local Government Areas (LGAs) each in Sokoto and Lagos States. (Sokoto State: Bodinga, Sokoto South and Wamakko. Lagos State: Surulere, Kosofe, and Ikeja).
For each local government area, interest groups were randomly selected including faith-based organizations, youth groups, persons with disabilities groups, and women groups to deliberate on selected issues affecting the people in their LGA.
Mbamalu stated that the peoples’ assembly began with the training of the different interest groups to inform the quality of participation of the people in the deliberative process.
She further stated that there is a need to start concentrating democracy at the local level rather at the national level. She said these shortcomings have created a vacuum at the local level where the quality of governance is poor.
Mbamalu said in a bid to promote a culture of public deliberation, the People's Assembly in the 6 LGA’s in Sokoto and Lagos states is designed to supplement the existing system of representative democracy in LGAs with democratically elected leadership.
“This initiative operates as a direct democracy tool aimed at fostering direct public participation in decision-making.”
Ekiti 2022: Yiaga Africa trains, deploys observers across all 16 LGAs
Meanwhile, Yiaga Africa says it has trained and deployed its observation team across the 16 local government areas of the state.
The group confirmed that no fewer than 24 observers were certified to oversee the pre-electoral and electoral proceedings of the gubernatorial elections in the state.
It also confirmed that pre-election observation will include observing efforts by election stakeholders in educating and mobilizing the voters ahead of the election to improve on the abysmally low turnout recorded in the 2018 elections.
Ekiti 2022: Yiaga synergise with Police ahead of polls
He said due to the level of work they do on building early warning systems and providing information to prevent the escalation of election-related violence, it will be difficult to look away.
He said the nature of work Yiaga Africa does to support electoral stakeholders has made it impossible not to collaborate with the organization especially ahead of the upcoming Governorship election in Ekiti State.