Ondo State civil Society Congress was the first organized forum that brought together non-state-actors from across the 18 L.G.A of Ondo State, South –West and other part of the country including development partners. The goal is to bring together key actors in civil society to interface with state actors for improved relationship and partnership which will enhance the wellbeing of the general populace.
The objectives are:
Enhance collaboration among civil society actors in Ondo State for holistic development and
Empower civil society actors and state actors for increased relationship which will bring improved and sustainable development of the people Ondo state.
The Chairman Coalition of All Civil Society Organizations in Ondo State- Franklin Oloniju welcomed all the members of the high table and other CSO’s present in the forum, he said the forum is a reality of a long time planning and thanked God for the success in bringing civil society members across the state to this forum for the first time in Ondo state, he said this is the first of its kind even as the civil society is as old as the state activity wise. he said civil society has been eroded in private government partnership in Ondo state which is as a result of mistrust between the civil society and the Government. He said the civil society over the years worked assiduously to breakdown the barrier to be partners and collaborate with the Government. Furthermore he thanked the Governor of the state for sending a representative to the forum, he said the civil society was engaged to work with the ministry on sectorial plans, he said one of the achievement of CSO is the working collaborations with the ministry of Agriculture to create a budget line in Ondo State Ministry of Agriculture 2018 budget which was dedicated to Agro-Women Framers in Ondo State which an initiative that is first of its kind in Nigeria , it is a big one because we have international development partners interested in this laudable initiative, it shows that the issue of Gender is taking to a new level in the state. He explained that 2million naira was budgeted initially, but now we are hoping it will be increased to 100m. Conclusively, he said this CSO congress is to see how we can create synergy between CSO and the Government to achieve a great development in the state, he mentioned that the state need to sign into the OGP. (Open Government Partnership), It is a way of bringing people close to the Government.
Speech by Doctor Shonubi with the topic public financial management: He said that CSO plays an important role in tracking public financial management. He said CSOs in development countries contribute immensely to the growth and development of those nations through their articulate and systematic methods of bringing government to accountability in respect of their financial management. He said CSO are supposed to participate in all processes of budget planning and development. They are supposed to make input in respect of communities needs and know the approved budget so as to enable them track government financial management. He laud the initiative of DFID, World Bank and the European Union government in Nigeria. He said they have rendered relentless effort in ensuring that Nigeria government tackles corruption at all level of the government and had been supporting Nigeria CSO in the fight against corruption. He commended the effort of the Coalition of Civil Society Organization in Ondo state towards ensuring that the citizens feel the dividend of democracy and monitor the financial management of the government by tracking their various projects. He however said that more still needs to be done and the fight against corruption is now a global fight and there is need for more education, sensitization, enlightenment and advocacy for policy change towards eradication of corruption in Nigeria. He appreciated the organizers of the congress for their initiative in putting the congress together and being the first in the state. He encourage all CSO present to continue to work together as team and Network in areas of capacity building for them to effectively support the fight against corruption. He lastly encourage all CSOs to be transparent in their project implementation and make themselves accountable to the donor funding given to them to work.
Speech by Elder Alaba Isijola: He greeted the members of the high table and other CSO present, he said this is the first time he will be addressing the civil society in the state, he said CSO has gotten a budget line from the Government, he said if this opportunity is not abused , CSO will continue to have such opportunity as long as the CSO is contributing to the development of the state, he said we are partners in progress. He condemn the issue of vote buying during election and implore the civil society to continue to educate the citizens in rural communities on the need for them to shun electoral violence and vote buying as this can disrupt the true democracy of the country . He concluded that he will fast tract the meeting between CSO and Mr. Governor for the signing of OGP in the state. Conclusively he affirmed that he will be a good representative of the civil society to the Government.
Speech by INEC Representative Mrs. Alo: She extended her appreciation on behave of INEC for inviting them to this forum to sensitize and share the little information from INEC. She said the civil society has been doing wonderfully well in INEC activity (Formation, INEC Gender policy, inclusion of PWD (People with Disability). She said this are some of the program that combines Civil Society and INEC together. She said INEC is working to make sure women and PWD are not left out, she employ the civil society to continue to strengthen the synergy between civil society and INEC. She employ the civil society to continue to sensitize the citizens in all the rural and urban communities in Ondo state. She made mention of the readibility of the PVC at the various collection centers and employed the CSO to continue to sensitize the citizens to go and collect their PVC. She also cleared the air about the wide spread rumor that INEC has extended the voters registration to December. She however reiterated the fact that INEC has put all in place for the 2019 general elections in Nigeria and they are committed to organizing free and fair elections.
Speech by Doctor Aderounmu: He commended the organizers of the congress for their beautiful ideas and proper planning towards the program. He also commended the earlier speaker for their representation and contribution. He said CSO compliments government efforts in ensuring that there is growth and development in the state. He said the essence of the forum is to brainstorm on how CSOs can continue to contribute to growth and development in Ondo state thereby making its impact to be well felt in the state. He further said CSO should actively involve in the budget planning, development and processes in Ondo state. He said there are more civil society in the state with less impact. This is as result of lack of accountability and transparency of some CSOs which tend to affect the organizational image of other CSOs. He stressed the following point as a catalyst for CSO growth and development in the state:
Articulation of thematic areas for possible recommendation for funding opportunities
Need for networking among CSOs
Need for CSOs to work together and mentor each other
Need for capacity building for CSOs