Youth Initiative for Advocacy, Growth & Advancement (YIAGA) in collaboration with the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) has launched its first project for 2016 titled ‘Young Legislators Accountability Project #YLAPNG’ to deepen democratic accountability and bridge the gap between the constituents and the legislature in the 8th National Assembly. The emphasis of this new project is on the Young legislators in the 8th Assembly.
Speaking at #YLAPNG media launch today in Abuja, with the theme “Building a new social contract, forging effective relationship between legislators and constituents” Samson Itodo, Head Research, Policy & advocacy for YIAGA, said “we at YIAGA envisage the YLAPP as a platform for mainstreaming the interest of the over 60 percent population of Nigeria comprising Youth into the governance processes. He added that with the cooperation and support of the Young Legislators which has been inspiring so far, (as you can see from the turn out today) we hope the communication gap between elected representatives and their constituents such that both parties can understand and appreciate their realities and needs.
Ultimately, the aim of this project is to among other things bridge the gap between the elected representatives and its constituents; facilitate constituency interactions between the legislators and constituents on regular basis to exchange ideas and fulfill representational roles; provide technical assistance where necessary for the young legislators as well as to increase the number of young legislators in the National Assembly and state assemblies he alluded.
According to Jude Udo ilo, OSIWA Representative, Nigeria is in dire need of legislators who consult with their constituents regularly, legislators who are open, accessible and accountable, legislators who sponsor qualitative bills and motions, and legislators who put the people first above their personal interest.
Several other topical issues ranging from the misssing budget at the National Assembly to the Youth empowerment scheme of N5000 monthly stipend for the unemployed Nigerian youth pledged by current administration during the last General election campaign were discussed during interactive session at the media launch and questions raised by the media partners and participants present were directed at the legislators within the panelists so as to shed more lights on the controversial topics.
Honourable Rapheal Nnanna Igbokwe, while addressing the questions from the media said the speculations about missing budget is not true. “No budget is missing. The 8th Assembly have received both the soft and hard copies of the 2016 budget and necessary deliberations is currently going on regarding the budget” he explained. He further posited that their role as legislature is to assess and turn the policies into Naira and Kobo for effective implementation of capital projects and other government programmes.