Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has proposed a social auditing process — the first in Nigeria that allows civic groups and communities to monitor government projects in the state to ensure that quality jobs are done.
AbdulRazaq said the social auditing he was proposing would see civic groups and communities monitoring projects and issuing independent reports that would form the basis of his government making further payments to affected contractors after the initial mobilization fee had been paid.
In a zoom meeting held Thursday night with the coordinator of the Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENETSUD) Dr. Abdullateef Alagbonsi, AbdulRazaq said he made the proposal to reassure Kwarans that he had nothing to hide which aligned with a clamour that projects funded with public resources must meet the standard specified in the contract terms.
But he called for confidence-building between government and civic groups, saying engagements by civic groups should be devoid of name-calling, preconceived notions, or a mindset that sees every government official as dishonest.
He said such mindsets often widened the gap between the two sides which he observed must always work together for development to occur.
The Governor said: “We, in this administration, have absolutely nothing to hide. I often tell people that I already have whatever some persons may be looking for in the public office. I have those things before getting into government; so I am not going into government to make money. What I am getting at is that the government and civil society need to build confidence.
You shouldn’t see us as thieves. If you see us as thieves we will lock up and say fine you already have a premeditated mindset or position and (you have) decided that we have stolen money and no matter what we do or say you are coming to paint us with that brush.
That is why I would lock up to say No. But if you have an open mind to say let’s build confidence, let’s try A, B, C and then go ahead and engage and work together and find solutions to some things, then we can move forward”.
Commencing the innovative policy, AbdulRasaq asked the civic groups to immediately nominate between three and four of the ongoing school or road projects which they would monitor and issue independent reports upon which further payments to contractors would be based.
He said the government would set up a committee to interface with the civic group on how to proceed with the social auditing, pledging to offer them the necessary support to ensure that quality jobs were delivered and avoid people blaming him (the Governor) for poor jobs.