THE Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission has said that citizens inclusiveness in decision making was key to effective governance.
Vice President of the Commission, Damtien Tchintchibidja said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the launch of the project, “Mobile Application on Citizens Participation for Accountable and Inclusive Democracy (C-PAID) in West Africa”.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Mobile Application was co- created by West Africa Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
NAN also reports that the primary objective of C-PAID was to promote inclusive participation and development while bolstering good governance and democracy throughout West Africa.
An online toolkit and mobile application has been designed to foster a culture of active citizenship and enhance access to good governance and development in West Africa.
In her keynote address, Tchintchibidja while reflecting on the state of governance in West Africa, said that the clamour for accountable and inclusive governance has become a widespread discourse.
She said that the mobile application aligned and supported ECOWAS Vision 2050 as a veritable digital tool to facilitate opportunity for continuous discourse on accountable and inclusive governance.
“The five pillars of Vision 2050 are interconnected and provide a chain of interdependence that requires the collective will of Member States and their citizens to be successful.
“It seeks to promote an inclusive society with special attention paid to the most vulnerable segments of the population, especially women and the youth.”
The vice president further said that “Recent developments in West Africa have raised concerns about sustainable peace and stability.
“The clamour for accountable and inclusive governance has become a widespread discourse and has been linked to the prevailing nature of state-citizen relationship in the region.
“As a commission, these challenges influence our reflection for best strategies to achieve our collective goal of an “ECOWAS of the People, thus providing Peace and Prosperity for All” by 2050.”
According to her, West Africa has been confronted with increasing statistics of poverty, insecurity and underdevelopment.
“While it is acknowledged that other extraneous political, economic and social factors contribute to these governance challenges, this has led to a growing trust deficit between governments and citizens.”
Also speaking, Executive Director WANEP, Mr Chukwuemeka Eze said that the C-PAID project was aimed at strengthening mechanisms for the assessment of good governance in West Africa.
He said that the notion of democracy as the government of the people, by the people and for the people had gradually declined in the last few years in many countries across the continent.
“In West Africa the democratic processes are fraught with constraints and challenges relating to the conduct of elections and adherence to constitutional provisions.
“These challenges have limited the wider participation of the citizens in governance including holding leaders accountable and monitoring indicators of good governance.”
He, however, called for a comprehensive reform of the practice, principles and philosophies that underpin democracy and good governance.
On his part, Mr Lealem Dinku, acting Resident Representative of UNDP-Nigeria said that internal politics, regional power-plays and bad governance had nurtured acute insecurity in the region.
He said that engaging citizens in governance systems engendered transparency and improves accountability and public resource management. (NAN)