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US-backed initiative to analyse viability of Nigerian states

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By Michael Eboh
A United States’ government-backed project, Young African Leaders Initiative, YALI, Network Abuja, said it has commenced the review of the human and natural resources of the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory to determine the viability of the states and proffer solutions.

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Addressing newsmen in Abuja, ahead of its forthcoming 2018 Accountability and Transparency Summit, Coordinator of YALI Network Face2face Abuja, Mr. Ovo Otarigho, said the review and analyses of the states are being undertaken by young Nigerians who are members of the group.

According to him, the review is focused on education, health, agriculture, transport, trade and investment5, noting that the United States is providing the platform and the funding for young Nigerians in YALI to scale up research activities on the country as well as undertake community projects.

He noted that the analysts would then converge on Abuja, between September 4 and 6, 2018, at the summit, to proffer solutions to the problems and suggest how best the human and natural resources of each state could be best utilized for every state to attain self-sufficiency, create jobs and boost economic activities, while reducing states over-dependence on federal allocation.

He said, “We know government alone cannot solve all problems; that is why we have chosen to support the government in meeting the needs of the citizens.

“This event will foster citizen participation in democracy, prevent corrupt practices and ensure good governance in recognition of the Chapter 3 of the African Union Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance (ACDEG) which encourages citizens to be actively involved in democratic processes and ensure accountability.”

He further stated that the initiative recognized that corruption thrives when government structures and institutions are not transparent and when elected officials are not accountable to the citizens in the discharge of their duties.

He argued that research had shown that corruption, diversion of public funds for personal use by individuals affects the development of the economy, adding that corruption blossoms where processes and machinery of governance are shrouded in secrecy.

According to him, simply imbibing transparency would reduce avoidable deaths in hospitals, end scourge of dilapidated roads and end the growing numbers of school drop outs among others.

To this end, Otarigho said YALI was calling for transparency in budget implementation at local, state and federal levels; transparency in contract awards and execution, in the employment processes in offices and admission into higher institutions and in the conduct of election, from primaries, voting and also in post election litigation.

“We call for transparency in our justice system, knowing that when our common dreams are met as citizens, our future is secured as a nation. AS youth of this country, we affirm that citizens that citizens do not have to be elected to public offices to find solutions to our common problems,” he affirmed.

Also speaking, Chairman of the Summit Planning Committee, Ms. Catherine Makwe, said YALI would be partnering with the University of Abuja, public and private universities, as well as secondary schools across the country to inculcate them in the ideals of the initiative.

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