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Communique Issued At The End Of A One Day Town Hall Meting On Strengthening Good Governance And Accountability In Zamfara State

Communique Issued At The End Of A One Day Town Hall Meting On Strengthening Good Governance And Accountability In Zamfara State Organised By Organisation For Community Civic Engagement In Collaboration With Zamfara Civil Society Groups With Support From The National Endowment For Democracy (Ned) Washigton D.C On Teusday 10th October, 2017 At Karma Hotel Gusau Zamfara State

Introduction

The organisation for community civic engagement Nigeria (OCCEN) a non-governmental organisation whose main focus is on building an informed society of active citizens in partnership with some civil society organisations in Zamfara state having considered the need for a mutual discourse aimed at coming up with specific solutions to strengthen governance and accountability processes in the state.

About one hundred participants drawn from various segments of the society particularly governmental ministries and departments, civil society, academic community, media as well as traditional and religious institutions participated in the town hall meeting which featured intensive stakeholder engagement in an interactive environment.

Prominently in attendance were Alhaji Yakubu Muhammad Tsafe; Permanent secretary of the state executive council, Alhaji Usman Maru who represented Alhaji Abdullahi Abdulkarim Tsafe; Chief of Staff Government house Gusau, Dr Rabiu Shehu from Zamfara state council of ulama, Hajiya BM Audu from the civil society as well as representatives from the state ministries for information, rural and community development and several leading civil society organisations in the state.

Four agenda setting presentations were made as follows;

  1. Gazali Shehu Ahmad; Chairman Zamfara Circle who made a presentation on “The leadership model in Zamfara with focus on civil service structure”
  2. Musa Umar Aboki; Budget working group- “Citizens and the budgetary process”
  3. Al-Amin Muhammad Tsafe; Federal University Gusau- “The leadership model in Zamfara with focus on education”
  4. Dr Mannir Bature; Nigerian Medical Association, Zamfara state- The health situation in Zamfara state

The meeting was adequately moderated by a prominent elder of the state and veteran public servant; Alhaji Muhammad Jekada Maru.

After several hours of constructive brainstorming, participants noted key challenges affecting governance and accountability in Zamfara state as a result of which the following key recommendations and commitments were made;

  1. The state government should open up and allow free flow of information and give regular account of governance particularly by releasing comprehensive accounts of the weekly state executive council meetings so that transparency which is a key element of good governance can be attained
  2. The house of assembly should consolidate on its’ initial openness in the budget passing process by pushing for the domestication of the procurement law in the state and ensure that the state annual budget is always specific, measureable, achievable, realistic and time bound before passage.
  3. There is need for capacity building and training for civil servants who are very key to achieving good governance and accountability
  4. Only capable hands should be assigned to man sensitive positions particularly in the health delivery sector so that desired successes can be attained
  5. A strategic plan should be fashioned out that will enable the state meet up and fill in the wide personnel gaps in the health sector within a specified time frame through training and upgrading. Specifically, the adoption of the human resource policy for health was identified as a vital step that should be taken as soon as possible by the state government
  6. The government should be bold enough to embark on a wholistic civil service reforms instead of the current harp hazard and fortnightly verification exercises to ensure integrity in the payroll and purge the civil service of ghost and redundant workers
  7. Citizens were enjoined to show more interest in the budgetary process of the state as a way of consolidating their stake on governance
  8. A general attitudinal change by all indigenes is required as a key factor for attaining good governance to this end, civil society organisations were urged to be more proactive in carrying out advocacies
  9. Having noted that several well researched reports such as the several civil service verification committee reports, Zamfara state development plan (2013), 1400 civil servants verification report amongst others that have cost the state government and partners huge somes of money are still lying unattended to, participants resolved to call on the Zamfara state government to bring out these reports and set machinery in motion for a rational implementation of their recommendations
  10. Rapid implementation of the saving one million lives programme
  11. The choice of political conviniences over rational judgement when making key decisions for the long term development of the state was discouraged
  12. Government and civil society organisations committed to work closely and intensify community mobilization and enlightenment campaigns. Civil society organisations were urged to register their presence with the ministry for rural and community development in the state to ensure close collaboration
  13. Education as a vital tool for enlightenment and participation should be given utmost priority by both government and parents by ensuring prompt return of pupils to schools, engagement of educated and trained youth to boost the morale of students and prompt payment of SSCE fees to examination bodies or a determination and declaration of what the state government can do in terms of sponsoring exam fees of its’ teeming students’ population and payment of bursary allowances to tertiary institution students of Zamfara state origin
  14. Participants made a case for people living with various forms of disabilities in the state to be given more opportunities for inclusion in the society as well as the creation of a dedicated agency for the physically challenged
  15. Government was also called upon to resolve once and for all the lingering impasse between the state government and the state chapter of the Nigerian labour congress and sister union; the TUC
  16. The moderator made a firm commitment to ensure that the outcome of the town hall meeting is packaged and forwarded to the executive governor Alhaji Abdul-Aziz Abubakar Yari (Shattiman Mafara) in liason with government representatives that participated in the meeting

Communique Drafting Committee

  1. Luqman B. Majidadi – Chairman
  2. Muhammad Lawal Gusau- Member
  3. Abdulrazak Bello Kaura – Member
  4. Basira Musa – Member
  5. Balarabe Idris Gusau – Member
  6. Umar Muhammad Danbuba - Secretary

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