Across communities in Bonny Local Government Area and nationwide there has been a high decrease in the rates of adult citizen’s participation in activities such as voting and elections and demand for good governance. Rates of civic engagement are declining across all communities, but the downward trend appears to be particularly steep in local communities. Adult citizens are less likely than previous generations to vote, become a member of a political party or a trade union and/or to engage in democratic processes
Concerns about these trends paved way for the emergence of the UNDEF project on “Strengthening Good Governance and Democratic Processes at The Local Level in Nigeria”
This project which is funded by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) in partnership with Women United for Economic Empowerment (WUEE) and implemented by African Community Strategy and Empowerment Foundation (ACSEF) is strategically aimed at strengthening good governance and democratic processes at the local level in Nigeria and to increase citizen participation. The project also aimed at increasing the capacities of 20 civil CSOs/CBOs and Local Government Chairmen in order to help them fulfil their roles and responsibilities more effectively in a democratic system.
This community-based initiative has not only increased citizen’s opportunities for learning about civic engagement through a well-structured module and lesson outlines, but it has also increased opportunities for citizens and community stakeholders at the local levels to learn about citizenship participation, citizen education and democratic processes through experiential and informal learning activities and interactive sessions.
Furthermore, it is also hoped that these experiential learning activities and community-based project will have a lasting impact on citizen’s attitudes and behaviours and that they will encourage community stakeholders to participate in civic activities and democratic processes.
The five (5) Project communities and beneficiaries of this project in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State includes:
- Akiama Community
- Aganya Community
- Ayambo Community
- Orosikiri Community
- Park Community
At the conclusion of this project in four (4) out of the five (5) project communities in Bonny Local Government Area we have seen the awakening of the interest of the people and community stakeholders in promoting good governance and democratic processes which includes voting in all elections.
5 women have already declared publicly their interest in contesting for Councillorship in their various wards and 10 others are vying for
3 youth bodies in 3 communities in Bonny Local Government are actively following up and monitoring closely the activities of their elected representatives including revenues, allocations and expenditures.
A number of Citizens are eagerly awaiting the commencement of the INEC voter registration exercise so as to obtain their permanent voters cards (PVCs).