The Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL on Wednesday, November 16, 2016 held a Validation Conference, a part of it’s governance performance monitoring project tagged ‘Lagos Open Parliament 3, LOP3’ at Ladio Hotel & Suites in the Ijaiye – Ojokoro area of Lagos state.
The validation conference is one of the 3 conferences held in the activities that precede the launching of the Lagos Open Parliament 3, LOP 3 publication. The purpose of the event was to present to the general public the findings of the Coalition pertaining to government performance in Lagos State under the leadership of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode.
The conference witnessed the presentation of data, findings, and testimonies gathered in the LOP3 process for validation, refutation/invalidation and other updates.
Participants included representatives drawn from; the 20 local government areas in Lagos state, the Media, Civil society organizations, government agencies etc.
Several events are embedded in the process of the LOP; these include administering of questionnaires; compilation and analysis of data and news items (TV, radio, newspapers, online news and social media). Three interactive conferences are also held within the process of the LOP i.e. Exploratory, Validation and Public Presentation Conferences (launch). The Public Presentation marks the end of the process.
The objectives of the conference are to;
· Involve major stakeholders including; Lagos state government representatives, Lagosians from Local government areas, civil society organizations, and the Media in the LOP3 process.
· Present data, findings and testimonies gathered in the LOP3 process for validation, refutation/invalidation and other updates.
OPENING REMARKS BY THE EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN OF CACOL, MR. DEBO ADENIRAN
The Executive Chairman of CACOL welcomed and thanked all the participants for honouring the invitation to be part of the validation conference stating that their attendance was crucial to the purpose of the event.
He briefed the audience on the fundamental objectives of the Lagos Open Parliament. He informed that the validation conference was the penultimate to the publication of the Lagos Open Parliament.
In giving a brief background, the Executive Chairman explained that the first edition of the Lagos Open Parliament launched in 2011 which was tagged ‘True State of Lagos by Lagosians’ raised a number of controversy in the public as people thought it was aimed at rubbishing the ‘achievements’ of the Babatunde RajiFashola administration. This then necessitated investigations into the premises of this claimed ‘achievements’ of the former governor and subsequently led to the publication of the second edition of LOP in 2014. He debunked the accusations that the Coalition sort to undermine the former governor’s achievements and stated that after due inquiries into projects that were undertaken within the state, it was discovered that the government failed in executing most capital projects and that Lagos was governed under false pretenses.
In his conclusion, the Chairman explained that it is the findings from researches and other activities of the LOP process that leads to the final publication at the end of each period reviewed. The LOP is a means of enhancing participatory governance, expanding the democratic space to facilitate responsiveness, accountability and transparency.
HIGHLIGHTS OF PRESENTATIONS
· The questionnaire – a multi-media presentation of the questionnaire that was utilized to survey the opinions, views and complaints of Lagosians to elucidate it as one of the basis upon which the LOP3 is predicated
· Table of questionnaire findings, charts – a multi-media presentation of the findings and deductions from the LOP3 questionnaire in percentages, pie charts and bar charts
· Media findings – a multi-media presentation of news reports culled from newspapers and the social media on governance and infrastructural development in Lagos state
· Multi-media presentation of pictorials from across Lagos on state and stages of infrastructural development
VALIDATION SESSION (interaction and information sharing) – testimonies, updates, refutations, invalidations, verifications, questions, comments etc.
The Validation conference which was preceded by an Exploratory Conference held on the 30th of August 2016, focused on general governance performance and project executions under the Lagos state Governor Akinwunmi Ambode-led Lagos state government for the period of May 29, 2015 to October, 2016.
During the Validation Conference, there was an evaluation of questionnaires that focused on the conditions of infrastructures; the security challenges; and the quality of State services in terms of health and education. There was also data analysis and review of the questionnaires which was illustrated in graphical formats to show the frequencies of answers by respondents within Lagos state.
The session witnessed questions, comments and updates from participants on the presentations. It was pointed out that certain issues were not captured in the presentations. The controversy over the ‘sale’ or ‘concessioning’ of Alade Market at Ikeja and the demolition houses in Lekki were cited as examples.
Participants also gave updates the current state of projects and impact of government in their respective locations. Some projects were reported to have been completed while many are still at different stages of execution with none reported to have been abandoned.
The Executive Chairman of CACOL in his response explained that the issues that are not captured in LOP3 could be because the research process had already been concluded before the developments arose. He explained that such matters like the Alade market controversy would be featured in the next LOP. He further stated that since the publication of the Lagos Open Parliament was periodic, any issue that was left out of one would most certainly be addressed in the following edition.
The Chairman concluded the conference by informing that recommendations stemming from the CACOL’s findings made to the current administration in Lagos state would be published in the LOP3.
The essence he stated is to advise the government of Lagos on issues which are imperative to the living conditions of citizens within the state while emphasizing that CACOL’s goal via the LOP is basically targeted at; monitoring government performances and policies, promoting transparency and accountability and enhancing healthy interface between the civil society and government in the overall interest of the development of Lagos State as an entity.
The Validation Conference ended with a vote of thanks given by Comrade Adesina Ishola