THE world over, non-governmental organisations, NGOs, are agencies or social movements that open up the liberal political space, engender equalisation of opportunities, improve the circumstances of disadvantaged peoples and institutions and hold governments to account.
Ordinarily, NGOs are expected not to be profit-oriented and are supposed to be independent of the control of government. These usually value-based institutions or organs pursue activities to relieve suffering, promote the interest of the poor, protect the environment, provide basic social services, or undertake community development.
But in Nigeria, the mushrooming phenomenon in the third world has prompted some scholars to contend that it has suffered some “explosion, derailment, and displacement”. This is because charlatans who merely masquerade as NGO operatives have infiltrated the rank of these social, popular democratic movements.
Drawing from his experience with his hitherto leftist friends, associates and acquaintances, Edwin Madunagwu in 2006 underscored the proliferation and bastardization of the NGO sector thus: “Almost every friend I know, every comrade of mine has an NGO. I know someone who is running three non-governmental organisations, is involved in about five others, and has about four others already registered awaiting activation when the need arises.”
Any keen observer of the events that have shaped the nation’s politics in the last few months will discern the unwieldy tendency of political actors to use these “change-agents” to foster acrimony and disunity in our dear nation. A case in point is an unknown organisation that goes by the name, Anti-Corruption Watch and its recent activities.
Existing only on newspaper advertorial pages, it has made it a business to teach independent government agencies their modus operandi only to please their paymasters.
Currently, the amorphous NGO played the devil’s advocates by inciting the public and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to beam searchlight on Niger State over some spurious allegation that first sprouted in 2009 at the height of the political shenanigans orchestrated to filibuster the job of the Chief Servant, Dr. Mua’zu Babangida Aliyu. Being a whistle blower, the Anti-Corruption Watch can only be applauded if the job that it has elected to do is anchored on truth. But the present exercise is a failed attempt by mischief to put spanner in the work that has been internationally acknowledged as exemplary.
But the climate has gone sully again because of 2015. Now, time is ripe for political do-gooders to dig into things known and unknown to convince their paymasters that the Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu’s administration does not justify the rating that has put Niger as a frontline state in terms of poverty reduction and great developmental strides. The same State that is currently rated as the least poverty-stricken state is now being tarred by those without empirical basis as corruption-riddled and enmeshed in sharp practices. Had they known that the allegations of wrong-doings have been investigated and dispensed with by the agencies accused of ineptitude, they would have covered their faces in shame.
Scooping money from their gullible promoters to incite the masses against the administration only exhibit the limitations of the paymasters and their hack men. This was the same route of perdition that ended grievously and many of them had to eat their words when the Babangida Aliyu’s administration set out to develop all the sectors of socio-economic life of the people. It is understandable that the mouth of detractors who had failed woefully to wrestle power by hook or crook should be filled with sour grapes.
Now in collaboration with people who feel the Governor has an eye on the top or would not brook the idea of leaving the top seat as an exclusive preserve of present occupants, they have gone back to their faeces to rake up maggots. The real and behind-the-scene motives for the unrelenting mischief making by well-known detractors of the current administration in Niger State should be obvious to all thinking people.
No one who visited Niger State before and after Dr. Babangida Aliyu came to power will fail to attest to the fact that he has filled the void of the same devastated state that had been abandoned in a state of helplessness.
Because of the yawning developmental gap left between what was and what is now, it has not been easy for these lily-livered rumour mongers to come to terms with the giants stride being made to make the State one of the three most developed states in the country by 2020, a major plank of the MBA’s transformation agenda code-named 3: 2020.
It is no wonder that as a way of trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the people, these shameless detractors who obviously do not have the interest of the masses of Niger State and by extension, most Northerners and indeed Nigerians in mind, have resorted to various arm-twisting tactics to sow the seed of discord in every venture that Mu’azu Aliyu supports.
It will be recalled that the Anti-Corruption Watch is aping what an article written in 2009 under the pseudonym Engineer Yahaya Mahmood spawned through a ridiculous petition, sent to the Niger State House of Assembly, leveling all manners of tendentious allegations against the Babangida Aliyu administration.
Mr. DANLADI NDAYEBO is CPS to the Niger State governor.