NGO mobilises youth as transparency, accountability champions in 100,000 wards

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By Philip Yatai

Kaduna – Mr Hamzat Lawal, the Founder, Connected , an NGO, the organisation is mobilising youths as `Follow the Money Champions’ in over 100,000 wards in the country.
“The goal is to effectively track government public expenditure across the country to ensure transparency and accountability,” Lawal told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Kaduna.
He said the NGO, with presence in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, would build the largest social mobilisation platform on transparency and accountability in the country.
“Currently, we are building capacity of our young representatives in all the 774 Local Government Areas, and we will soon establish Follow the Money Champions in the over 100,000 wards in the country.
“Most communities do have access to clean water, no quality service, no access to basic education and no access roads, while some have no communication network.
“Therefore, having our champions in all the wards will enable bring more voices to the front burner and push government to deliver quality services to the people and save five children from preventable deaths.
“We will also have real update on government action or inactions, put the information in the public domain and engage government to channel resources for public good,” he said.
He also said Connected , its Follow the Money platform has commenced campus tour to equally mobilise youths in academic institutions across the country to document voices and hold government to account.
He explained the idea to organise, educate and equip young people in academic institutions across Nigeria with the tool to document voices, amplify them using social media platforms and engage the government to act.
“This is because, we cannot achieve Sustainable Goals (SDGs) if young people do talk to themselves and unified their voices to engage and decision makers.
“Therefore, to achieve the SDGs, young people must take ownership of the goals, popularise the goals engage in and decision to the goals in decision making.
“We began the tour with of Jos, move to Ahmadu Bello , Zaria, and from there we will move to Bayero Kano; proving a platform for young people to share ideas and information.
“More importantly, the youth will graduate and move to communities for the . They will come across communities with no clean water, no access to basic education and services.
“We are training them on how to their Smart phones to talk to the community, document their findings and amplify them on social media platform while engaging public servants,” he said.
Lawal pointed out that most public holders, including ministries, departments and agencies were on twitter, face book and other social media platforms.
“We believe that if we are able to provide government with verifiable information, they will it to inform and decision making, budgetary allocation and releases.
“The young people can then track the money and hold government to account; it will be win-win for everyone,” he added.