By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
A member of House of Representatives, Barr Onofiok Luke said public officers capitalised on Nigerians’ lack of consistency in pursuing their citizenship rights to oppress them.
Luke said that Nigerians have neglected “office of the citizens”, which ought to have been most influential to shink, giving unwarranted space for public officers to oppress the people.
At the Sitout organised by Citizen’s Outreach NG in Uyo on Tuesday, on the theme “Redefining Citizenship for Good Governance”, the lawmaker who was keynote Speaker said the EndSars protest would have best been relocated from streets to the table for intellectual discourse.
He called on the citizens to constantly call the public officers to account through proper monitoring and questioning of government programmes and policies.
“We need to ask the right questions, else we may have dictators rulling us. Citizens participation is the very essence of democracy. Therefore you must ask the right and proper questions, using campaign promises.
“The more you give us space, the more we invade your privacy. Our problem in this part of the world is that we don’t have the staying power to demand accountability for so long. That was why we could not have an end point to EndSars protest. We would have left the street to where we would have intellectual discourse to drive home our demands
“Call public officers to account. As citizens, we must identify our strength and how to chanmel it and get results. We must understand that all forms of deprivation on our rights and privileges is a contest on our citizenship rights”. He said.
Luke who is former Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly also used the occasion to applaud the various ongoing empowerment/ social investment schemes of the Federal government but however expressed reservations on the management of such funds.
Earlier, the convener of the Sitout, Mr Thomas Etuk said the initiative was designed to give citizens and communities a voice on matters affecting their development.
Etuk listed objectives of the organisation to include; connecting with people, fostering strong relationships between leaders and followers, designing a new thought pattern for leadership, influencing political actions/decisions in favour of the masses and ensuring every voice is heard and action taken towards solving any threat to good life and healthy lifestyle.
To achieve its objectives, Etuk said the organisation has concluded plans to embark on outreaches in both rural and urban communities to receive first-hand information on the people’s true state of being.
Other speakers including, Arc Otu Ita Toyo, Iboro Otu, Mr Ndiana-Abasi Nana Udom, Barr Blessing Udofa all challenged the audience through shared ideas on REDEFINING CITIZENS FOR GOOD GOVERNANCE.
Highpoints on the occasion were a premier of the movie “GENESIS”, written and directed by Mr Thomas Etuk to futher draw attention to the need for citizens to crave full participation in governance processes, and, cutting of the cake to celebrate Barr Onofiok Luke at 33.